EU Commission presents draft for oil embargo

The EU Commission has presented the member states with a draft of a new package of sanctions against Russia, which primarily provides for an oil embargo. According to diplomats, the Commission forwarded the paper to the EU members on Wednesday night. It provides for a gradual ban on imports within six to eight months. There should be exceptions for Hungary and Slovakia, which are heavily dependent on Russian oil. They should be allowed to continue imports until the end of 2023.

The oil embargo is the main component of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia. On Wednesday, representatives of the member states are to deal with the new penalties for the first time. A unanimous decision by the 27 EU countries is required for adoption.

Hungary and Slovakia obtain Russian oil via the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which also supplies the Czech Republic. According to government figures, Hungary imports around 65 percent of its oil from Russia – more than twice the EU average of 26 percent.

Hungary had threatened to veto an oil embargo if it restricted its own security of supply. Slovakia’s Economy Minister Richard Sulik had stressed that his country’s farewell to Russian oil would take “several years”.

The German Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced in Brussels on Monday that Germany would support the oil embargo. At the same time, he got the economy and consumers in the mood for further price increases.

According to EU diplomats, the Commission’s proposal could spark a new dispute: the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are also pushing for exceptions, citing their economies that are heavily dependent on Russian oil as the reason for this.

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