EU must foot the bill for anti-Russian sanctions, says former deputy PM

Anti-Moscow sanctions are justified, but ordinary people must be protected, says Lega Nord chief

The European Union should compensate its citizens for the “energy pandemic” resulting from anti-Russian sanctions over the Ukrainian conflict, former Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Sunday.

Speaking to RTL radio, Salvini, a member of the Senate who leads the right-wing Lega Nord party, drew a parallel with financial stimulus packages during Covid lockdowns.

Let Europe, as has happened during the pandemic, put up a shield, to protect families and businesses, and cover the extra bills families have to payhe said, adding that Brussels will have to adopt such measures to avoid mass unemployment.

Salvini also signaled his support for anti-Russian sanctions, despite their apparent ineffectiveness. He noted that his party had endorsed all kinds of support for Ukraine and condemned Russia’s military offensive. However, he pointed out that Moscow is reaping the benefits of high oil and gas prices, while Europe is reeling from the energy crisis.

This would be the only case where the sanctioned person makes money and the sanctioner suffershe noted, adding that Brussels recognizes that economic warfare is a double-edged sword.

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According to the Italian politician, the EU cannot simply lift the sanctions, as that would mean giving in to Russia.

Last week, however, Salvini urged the EU to review its anti-Russian sanctions policy, saying it could hurt member states more than Moscow. “If they work great, but if they hit sanctioning countries more than Russia… they will fuel war rather than promote peace,” he claimed.

Italy is due to hold general elections on September 25 after Mario Draghi’s government fell in July. According to a study published last month by the Cattaneo Institute think tank, Italy’s right-wing bloc, which includes Salvini’s Lega Nord, is on course to win a large majority in both houses of parliament.


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