France and Germany have taken a cautious approach to EU sanctions against Russia. The French president, François Hollande, has suggested lifting the EU sanctions on Russia ahead of a multinational summit on the situation in Ukraine, which is due to take place on 15 January. The current sanctions regime is due to expire in March and requires renewal. France is particularly concerned about the adverse effects of continued sanctions on EU-Russian relations, in the light of issues such as energy security.
The German Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel has also spoken against imposing further sanctions against Russia. Gabriel has opined that renewed restrictive measures would bring with them the risk of Russia’s political and economic destabilisation, which would be counterproductive to the country’s willingness to engage in international cooperation and potentially very dangerous for Europe.