Germany is blocking the approval of a new EU sanctions package against Russia

Brussels (Reuters) – EU countries failed to agree on a 14th package of sanctions against Russia as Germany remained a blocking force despite removing a clause that Berlin found problematic, EU diplomats said on Wednesday.

Officials from the 27 EU countries have been debating the package for more than a month. The new measures include a ban on the transshipment of Russian LNG and a plan to hold EU operators accountable for sanctions violations by subsidiaries and partners in third countries.

Germany’s hesitation was partly due to an internal disagreement between the Foreign Ministry and the chancellor’s office, diplomats and a source familiar with the matter said.

The removed clause was an extension of the so-called “No Russia clause” to subsidiaries in third countries. The clause under Article 12G was removed in a compromise text circulated to member states shortly before ambassadors met late on Wednesday afternoon, they said.

The clause would have forced these subsidiaries to “contractually prohibit re-exports to Russia and re-exports for use in Russia,” a draft of an earlier version of the package showed.

The EU has continuously increased sanctions against Moscow over its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but its efforts are being undermined by circumvention through third countries. Including this clause would have further tightened the bloc’s measures.

The ambassadors will continue the debate on Thursday, they said.

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