EU leaders levy more sanctions on Crimea, work to reboot economy

World Today

The European Union met in Brussels to toughen sanctions that targeted Crimea, which was absorbed by Russia this year. EU leaders also agreed on a long-term strategy to deal with Russia. CCTV America’s Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

EU leaders levy more sanctions on Crimea, work to reboot economy

The European Union met in Brussels to toughen sanctions that targeted Crimea, which was absorbed by Russia this year. EU leaders also agreed on a long-term strategy to deal with Russia. CCTV America's Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

EU leaders agreed on their first new sanctions since September in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

The new measures banned investment in Crimea as well as finance, technical advice, and exports of equipment, including oil and gas exploration. Even EU cruise ships will be barred from docking except in emergencies.

Further funding for Ukraine was also discussed along with a long-term strategy to deal with the Kremlin.

“We will not find a long-term perspective solution for Ukraine without an adequate and consistent, both tough and responsible, strategy towards Russia.” European Council President Donald Tusk said.

Re-booting the EU’s stalled economic recovery was also a priority. Leaders agreed on the establishment of a strategic investment fund proposed by the European Commission President Jean Claude Junker, that in theory could be worth the equivalent of nearly $390 billion and create 1.3 million jobs. The EU itself is only putting in $26 billion.

The Commission President hoped the rest would come from member states and private investment, which has been widely criticized as wishful thinking.

“The package looks very much as creative accounting for this moment,” President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

But leaders said they would back the stimulus plan, because it was better than no plan at all.

“But we also need trade deals to open up markets for our exporters and businesses, and we need to make the most of Europe’s growth potential by completing the single market and digital, services, and energy,” Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron said.

The meeting was a rare EU summit of general agreements on most issues and was so successful that the two-day meeting was cut to one.