German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande on Tuesday called for extending E.U. financial sanctions against Russia because of its ongoing aggression in Ukraine.
The leaders of Europe’s two largest economies spoke at a press conference in Berlin ahead of Thursday’s European Council summit in Brussels.
Since implementing the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreement in the Ukraine, the smoldering border conflict is making little progress, the two said. “It will be necessary to extend the sanctions against Russia once again,” Ms. Merkel told journalists at the Chancellery.
“As long as there is no effort, no progress, there are always the same obstacles, I am in favor of extending the sanctions, just like the chancellor,” said Mr. Hollande, standing next to Ms. Merkel.
The French president said the European Union “must continue to enforce the Minsk agreement.” He emphatically called for sanctions, which are supposed to expire at the end of this year, to be extended until the ceasefire deal is observed, “even though this formula shouldn’t become permanent.”