On 21 December 2017, the Council prolonged economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2018.
With its strategy paper entitled ‘Trade for all’ in 2015, the Commission launched an EU trade policy that focussed on values such as human rights, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. The idea was that free trade should be fair for both consumers in Europe and for citizens elsewhere. This approach was pursued in bilateral trade negotiations and in legislative proposals on, for example, conflict minerals, dual-use goods or the investment court system. But by the end of 2016 the tenor of the debate on international trade had changed, shifting the focus to national interests and fairness for consumers and producers at home. The UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU and the election of President Trump in the US, together with the expiry of the clause recognising China’s non-market economy status, contributed to this shift.
A summary of the Committee’s exchange of views with Urve Palo, Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, representing the President-in-Office of the Council is available.
On 28 June 2017, the Council prolonged economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 January 2018.