RIGA - Latvia's stance in relation to sanctions against Russia is very serious and determined, said Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies (CFCS) at The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), in an interview with LETA.
"Of the countries we have visited, you are the most determined ones. Not only in words, but also deeds. There were no questions you people could not answer," he said.
He noted that Latvia would like to see even stricter sanctions in the EU, while the EU still is united in this respect, even for a longer period than it was expected. And it is also very important that the tenth package of sanctions has been adopted unanimously.
Keatinge said that now the most important issue is full implementation of sanctions, which in other countries is not as good as in Latvia. The EU sanctions are binding for all member states, while some countries are engaging in the process actively, while others do not show any initiative.
Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are very active, coming up with proposals, but this is not so in such countries as Portugal, for example.
The British expert said that the EU should punish Russia with even stricter sanctions, because there is public support to it, but, at the same time, experts should continue explaining the necessity of sanctions and what has been achieved through them.
At the same time, there is a difference in the attitude of ordinary citizens and business representatives. He said that some of the Latvian banks told him that it is too difficult to understand what is allowed and what is not, therefore it is much easier to stop all transactions with Russia.
"The banker does not want to recruit ten new employees to control transactions with Russia, therefore it is cheaper not to work with Russia at all. Such decisions are not based on radicalization, but rather on practical assumptions," he said.