New Greek Government Hesitatingly Maintains EU Line on Russia Sanctions

By Stephen Levy

After several comments hinting at discontent with the EU’s sanctions against Russia, Greece fell in line and joined a unanimous vote on January 29th to maintain and extend the sanctions, as The New York Times describes. The discontent came from the Syriza party, which nearly captured an outright majority in the Greek Parliamentary elections on January 25th. Syriza’s leaders, including the current Prime Minister, had previously sympathized with Russia on Ukraine, and the new Energy Minister announced outright opposition to sanctions. The discontent could demonstrate Syriza’s hostility towards the EU, its unwillingness to be bullied in future austerity negotiations, or simply its inexperience with diplomacy and foreign relations, as it begins its first stint in power.