#Official Commentary of Alla Barkhatnova on Italian influence on EU sanctions policy towards Russia

Regional Council Parliamentarians of Liguria in northern Italy sent the resolution to the Italian Government, which calls to condemn the EU’s policy on the Crimea issue and demand the abolishment of the anti-Russian sanctions.

By the way, it is not the first region, which sent such a resolution to the Government of Italy. Earlier, on March 16, 2014, in the region of Veneto (Venice) the referendum on secession from Italy was held, but it wasn`t recognized by Rome. Then, on May 18, 2016, in Veneto, as well as in Liguria, the joining of Crimea to Russia was recognized and they appealed to Rome with the recommendation to abolish sanctions against Russia. Lombardy, another region of Italy, is going to hold the same voting. It is noteworthy, that separatist sentiments prevail in the richer northern regions of Italy for a long time. They are for the secession from Italy, in order not to “feed” the less developed southern regions of the country.

Traditionally, the north of Italy is more industrialized, while taxation system is common for the whole country. Income from these regions is sent directly to Rome, but subsidies are distributed equally. Hence, pensions and social benefits are practically the same – both in the north and south. So “rich” north feeds “poor” south that serves ground for flourishing of separative moods.

Speaking of the Italy`s northern regions initiative concerning recognition of Crimea, these manipulations are conditioned above all by economic interests. The north of Italy urges Rome to lift the anti-Russian sanctions not for the first time that is, by and large, quite understandable.

Mainly such regions as Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto suffered from ban on trade with the RF.

Earlier, deputy of  Lombardy Regional Council, Paolo Grimoldi, claimed Italy had already lost € 3,7 billion while the European Union had lost more than € 44 billion.

Frankly speaking, the EU`s sanctions against the RF cause more damage to the EU countries` economies themselves than to Russia`s.

As the Chairman of the Bank Grouping Management Board “Intesa Sanpaolo”, Gian Maria Gros-Pietro stated: “If Moscow can change export partners, Italy has no alternative to Russian supplies of raw materials”.

One doesn`t have to be a professional expert and analyst to understand that Italy as well as other EU countries suffer considerable economic losses because of the anti-Russian sanctions.

 To tell the truth, recognition of Crimea as a Russian territory by such regions as Lombardy, Veneto and Liguria will not affect the future of the AR Crimea and especially of Russia.

However, we would like to believe that in the wake of Italy`s resolutions, Brexit and other not quite favourable changes, the policy towards Russia in the European Union will change but meanwhile prolonging of the anti-Russian sanctions looks like nothing but a delayed action “suicide”.

Alla Barkhatnova, People`s Council Deputy

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