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Germany does not hinder new sanctions from the EU and Russia, says Scholz

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Germany does not hinder new sanctions from the EU and Russia, says Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed his reservations about the current proposal on new EU sanctions against Russia, but does not see the German government as an obstacle to an agreement.

“No, we are not blocking them (sanctions),” he told ZDF television on the sidelines of the G7 summit in southern Italy on Saturday.

“As with all other sanctions packages, we are working intensively with everyone else and want to ensure that this is done as pragmatically as possible.”

The EU punitive measures under negotiation are mainly intended to prevent Russia from circumventing existing sanctions – for example to obtain Western technology that the defense industry can use to manufacture weapons for the war in Ukraine.

Scholz acknowledged that Berlin was concerned that such sanctions could potentially punish Germany’s export-oriented companies.

He said his goal was to ensure that Germany can continue to export goods to other countries, while ensuring that those goods do not end up in Russia.

“This must be done in a way that is feasible and works,” Scholz said on ZDF television.

In a separate interview, Scholz told Welt TV that companies should be able to successfully manage anything the EU agrees to. “It is a practical question and not a fundamental matter of principle,” he said.

Diplomats in Brussels have cited German concerns and demands for changes as the main reason why negotiations on new EU sanctions against Russia are still not completed.

An EU official told dpa that it had recently felt that Germany was the new Hungary, which has postponed sanctions on Russia in the past.

“That’s a great line, but it’s complete nonsense,” Scholz told Welt.

The German government’s demands include that companies should not be obliged to ensure that trading partners themselves comply with EU sanctions rules.

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