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EU unveils new sanctions but denies fast-track Ukraine membership

The European Union will suspend Moscow’s privileged trade and economic treatment, crack down on its use of crypto-assets and ban exports to Russia of EU luxury goods and imports of steel products, the head of the EU said on Friday. the European Commission.

The new measures constitute a fourth round of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, coordinated with the United States and other G7 allies.

Ursula von der Leyen said the fourth package would “further isolate Russia and drain the resources it uses to finance this barbaric war”.

The announcement came after European Union leaders met in Versailles, near Paris, where they rejected Ukraine’s call for early membership of the bloc.

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You are part of the ‘European family’ and there is a ‘European way’, EU leaders told Ukraine in a statement issued after intense negotiations over Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the EU. But there was no mention of the more ambitious “European integration”.

The division within the bloc has emerged since Ukraine officially signed an application for EU membership on February 28. Some countries seem to favor a faster track for Ukraine, but others oppose it.

Joining the EU is a process that usually takes years and requires meeting strict economic stability criteria to root out corruption and uphold liberal human rights.

The statement talked about strengthening ties with Ukraine and deepening the partnership, but that was it.

In Versailles was also announced a change in the deadline by which Europe hopes to get rid of dependence on Russian fossil fuels. 2027 is now the goal, advanced from 2030.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said leaders also agreed defense spending needed to increase. “We must do more together to keep Europe safe, including by all spending more on defense than in the past,” he said.

The European Commission also aims to double EU military aid to Ukraine and has proposed to allocate an additional $550 million for this purpose.

In the longer term, greater economic autonomy has been highlighted as an EU objective. Semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and vegetable proteins are three of the areas in which the EU seeks to reduce Europe’s dependence on other countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a breakdown in global supply chains could deprive the EU of access to essential goods.