On Thursday 29 January at a snap meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council following the shelling of Mariupol, the EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the existing sanctions against Russia until September 2015. Also, the EU executive was tasked to present new names to be added to the sanctions list by 9 February. Preparation of a new round of economic sanctions was also started, its adoption will be considered by the European Council at its March meeting.
The meeting was closely followed due to the new Greek´s government. Mr Tsipras´s foreign minister Nikos Kotzias protested against the statement on behalf of the EU condemning the Mariupol shelling and blaming Russia. But Mr Kotzias stated that Greece does not seek to be a bad boy of the EU foreign policy. He supported the new anti-Russia measures. However, some foreign ministers remain cautious – almost each new step in the foreign policy needs to be adopted by consensus, which gives Athens veto power every time a new item is on the agenda. The anti-Russia sanctions are a very controversial subject and more countries do not like them much, although all 28 of them supported several rounds of sanctions so far. But the new Greek government raised new concerns.
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