"According to my calculations, thanks to sanctions, we can worsen the unemployment ratesin France in a month. I think everything that is happening now is a prologue to an economic war, which will be led in the interests of the United States. And the stupidity of Europe is seen in the fact that it adheres to these sanctions," Mariani, who is also the co-president of the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association, said on the sidelines of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
According to the politician, who previously served as France's transport minister, Russian company UralVagonZavod helped build a factory in a "very poor area in the north of France."
"These were joint [Franco-Russian investments] and we retained more than 300 jobs. Yesterday, I talked with the head of this company, who is also a trade union delegate, and he told me that the company is almost bankrupt. My question was: do the Russians not keep their word? And he told me: Russians keep their word and do everything they promised. The problem is the effect of sanctions."
French bank BNP Paribas does not wish to provide a new loan to the company because its partner UralVagonZavod is Russian and also produces weapon parts at its factory in Nizhny Tagil, Mariani said.
Evaluating the possibility of lifting sanctions against Russia, the French parliamentarian stated that it would take a lot of time and would only happen if it was in the interest ofUS businesses.
"Six months ago, I was in Uzbekistan. This country was under sanctions after the events in Andijan [in 2005]. Everyone thought that this would last for six, maybe nine months. In reality, everything was dragged out over several years. When did it stop? Only after American companies agreed to take over a large share of the market. Immediately after this, everyone said: we are removing the sanctions," Mariani stated.
He noted that sanctions against Russia "will be very lengthy and will be a disaster for both sides."
The United States, the European Union and some other Western countries have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, claims Moscow has repeatedly denied. The sanctions target Russia's banking, defense and energy sectors, as well as certain individuals.