"Business with Russia is almost over," said German Finance Minister Christian Lindner before a meeting with the other EU finance and economics ministers in Paris on the impact of the sanctions package decided the day before.
"All options are on the table, but we already have a full blockade of Russian banks." According to insiders, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will determine the meeting of the Eurogroup and subsequent deliberations of the finance ministers and central bank governors of the EU.
Bruno Le Maire, France's Minister of Economy and Finance:
"We are ready to face the situation. We want to hit the Russian economy. We decided yesterday on massive and effective sanctions against the Russian economy. And it will be the Russian economy that will pay the price for Vladimir Putin's decisions. It will be the Russian people, the Russian oligarchs, who will pay for Vladimir Putin's foolish decisions. There is no mistaking it – they suffer from Putin's decisions, not the European economy, not the world economy – but the Russian one."
Valdis Dombrovskis, EU Commissioner for Trade – he comes from the former Soviet Republic of Latvia – does not rule out burdens for the European economy – for example due to higher energy costs:
"If we impose a package of mass sanctions against Russia, this will also have certain consequences for the EU economy. We are already seeing some nervousness in the financial markets, but in this situation we have to act – as the European Union, as a western, democratic world that we Yes, there will be some economic cost involved."
Strategies are expected from the group to address its dependence on Russia for energy and gas supplies, which are likely to be subject to further sanctions. Currently, Russia supplies about 40% of the EU's natural gas needs.
Economists expect the ECB Governing Council to make a decision to exit the European Central Bank's ultra-loose stance at its next monetary policy meeting on March 10. In small steps, as the escalation of the conflict over Ukraine is putting additional strain on the economy, which is still being held back by the pandemic.