UK Lords: EU 'sleepwalking' through Ukraine crisis
An investigation carried out by the House of Lords committee says EU states ‘should have seen it coming;’ calls for extension of sanctions

An investigation by a U.K. House of Lords committee has found that European governments were too slow to react to the crisis in Ukraine, a statement on the parliament’s website said Friday.

The committee report blamed the "lack of political oversight" before and during the crisis. "There was an element of sleep-walking into the Ukraine crisis, and EU institutions and member states did not see it coming," the report said.

It also called on the EU to "renew and tighten sanctions against Russia if there is no progress on the Minsk Protocol, and the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to deteriorate," the report said.

"Under those circumstances, the EU should target President [Vladimir] Putin’s inner circle and broaden sanctions to the financial sector. However, in the long term, sanctions are detrimental to the EU's interests and the progressive removal of sanctions should be part of the EU’s negotiating position."

The report also blamed the "lack of expertise" on the part of the U.K. Foreign Office.

"There was a lack of analytical capacity," the report said, suggesting that the U.K. government should make an effort to improve the office’s analytical abilities.

And the report also warned that Ukraine’s reconstruction "needs considerably more funds than have already been committed. However, the disbursement of funds must come with conditions for reform, such as tackling corruption," the report said.

The report follows on U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon's issuing a warning over Moscow’s threat to NATO Baltic states.

There is a "real and present danger" of Russia trying to destabilize the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the U.K. defense secretary said at a press conference on a visit to Sierra Leone Thursday.

Michael Fallon said that he was worried about "pressure" from the Russian president on the ex-Soviet states, which are NATO members.

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Last Modified: 2015-02-20 11:19:18
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