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Brussels extends Russia sanctions | New Europe

The European Union extended on 12 December the economic sanctions against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, for six more months.

The measures were first implemented in 2014 after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, and were set to expire in January. According to the United Nations, about 13,000 people have died since the beginning of the conflict.

The announcement follows the Paris meeting between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. During the meeting, they agreed a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange, but failed to agree on other key issues.

The talks were mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, after the meeting, recommended an extension of the restrictive measures against Moscow, till the end of July 2020.

The EU’s economic sanctions against Russia include: limited access to EU capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies; export and import ban on trade in arms; export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia; as well as reducing Russian access to technologies that can be used for oil production.

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EIB to support digitalisation of Spanish businesses

The European Investment Bank and the Spanish national entity, Instituto de Crédito Oficial, announced on 21 November that they will jointly finance the innovation investments of Spain’s department store chain, El Corte Inglés, to accelerate its digital transformation, thus strengthening its competitiveness on the market.

Under the ten-year agreement, the EIB will provide €110 million for the operation under the Juncker Plan, while ICO will provide €100 million.

As supporting innovation and business digitalisation is one of the EIB’s priorities in Spain, the investments will focus on the implementation of new technologies to expand multichannel sales and improve the logistics chain management.

El Corte Inglés has more than 90.000 employees. Developing new software and improving the cybersecurity of its online business will also mean creating new jobs in its IT department.

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