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Two Italian regions to vote on resolutions for lifting EU’s anti-Russian sanctions

July 05, 8:36 UTC+3 ROME
The opposition Lega Nord (Northern League) party has submitted the documents that contain an appeal to the national government to stay away from the sanctions the EU introduced against Russia
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© Dmitriy Burlakov/ITAR-TASS

ROME, July 5. /TASS/. Regional Councils of two Italian regions, Lombardy and Tuscany on Tuesday hold voting on the resolutions that call for the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions.

The opposition Lega Nord (Northern League) party has submitted the documents that contain an appeal to the national government to stay away from the sanctions the EU introduced against Russia in the wake of events in Ukraine.

In addition to it, the texts of the resolutions state the right of the residents of Crimea for self-determination.

The Regional Council of Veneto where Lega Nord has a substantial majority endorsed the first resolution of the kind in May.

There is a very big certainty the legislature in Lombardy, one of the drive engines of Italian economy will endorse the resolution, too.

In Liguria where an appropriate resolution was endorsed on June 29 it rallied the voted of deputies of the Democratic Party, which is ruling at the national level.

Deputy Paolo Grimoldi, the head of the party caucus in Lombardy told TASS it was difficult to say yet who members of the Democratic Party would vote in the Regional Council. "The fact the Democrats voted on our side in Liguria sends a very strong signal to the government," he said.

"It means the treatment of sanctions at the regional level is somewhat different from Rome," Grimoldi said. "Quite naturally, a decision gains more weight if the legislature deputies voted unanimously for it."

Somewhat earlier, Lega Nord put up a similar resolution for voting in the national parliament but the deputies there did not support its initiative.

While there is nothing extraordinary in this outcome of voting in Vento and Lombardy where powers is in the hands of Lega Nord, Tuscany where the majority has traditionally been controlled by left-off-center forces that support the government and the voting against the sanction there will certainly send a signal to the ruling party.

Along with it, officials at the Lega Nord secretariat told TASS a provision on recognizing the status of the Crimea had been removed from the resolution in Tuscany in order to secure support of the majority. Also, the authors had made some critical remarks on the government milder.

Lega Nord representatives say they will abide by this strategy in other regions where they do not have majority in regional councils.

The aftermaths of the anti-Russian are felt quite distinctly at the regional level since various Italian regions have established fruitful relations with Russia in recent years. Small and medium-sized businesses are suffering more than others, and not only in the agricultural sector.

Experts say Italian economy has lost up to 3.6 billion euro since the introduction of sanctions by the EU and the retaliatory measures by Russia.

Farmers held a mass manifestation against the sanctions in Verona on June 30. It was organized by the national association of agricultural producers Coldiretti. Its President, Roberto Moncalvo told TASS Italy could not afford a commercial war with Russia.

The EU introduced sanctions against Russia in 2014 in the wake of events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. It has enlarged and prolonged them on a number of occasions since then.

As part of the sanction drive, it suspended talks with Russia on visa-free traveling and on a new basic agreement on cooperation.

Also, it imposed a ban on trips to Europe for a number of Russian officials and froze their bank accounts, along with introducing restrictive measures in trade, finance and the military sphere. All in all, the sanctions lists affected 151 persons and 37 legal entities,

The sectoral sanctions have embraced more than twenty Russian financial, oil producing and defense organizations.

Russia retaliated with sanctions of its on August 7, 2014. Apart from the EU and the U.S., these sanctions also hit Australia, Canada, and Norway.

The countersanctions came in the form of a ban on imports of fruit, vegetables, and dairy products from these countries.

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