German Chancellor Urges EU to Press Russian Oligarchs
BERLIN -- Europe should take aim at rich businesspeople who support Russia's government as the EU increases pressure on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, Germany's vice chancellor said Sunday.
European Union foreign ministers last week ordered the preparation of stepped-up sanctions, frustrated over Russia's refusal to heed EU demands to help bring about an end to the fighting in Ukraine, and outraged by the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine.
"We should now target those on whose shoulders the Russian government stands: the oligarchs, the billionaires," Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany's economy minister, told ARD television. "They want their fancy houses in Western European capitals. They have their money in accounts there."
[Read: Downing of Plane in Ukraine Highlights U.S.-European Weakness]
He argued that their accounts should be frozen if they are "hidden in a Cypriot bank, a Maltese one or elsewhere," in order to show them that "they have no place in Europe" if they back a government that allows violence to flourish. Gabriel didn't name any specific people.The EU has yet to finalize further sanctions. Measures in the defense sector would likely only target future deals, with France in particular defending a contract to sell two helicopter carriers. Gabriel criticized that. "I find it a slightly difficult compromise to say this is only possible for the future," he said.
[Read: Gold Price Can’t Get Lift From Ukraine and Russia Crisis] Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the weekly Der Spiegel that the burdens to European countries of tougher economic sanctions should be shared fairly. He said there should be measures "that can quickly be sharpened again, but also quickly reversed if Russia moves."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV