EU to stop short of full Russian oil embargo – media
Brussels proposes an initial ban only applying to seaborne crude, according to Bloomberg
The European Commission has suggested starting an embargo on Russian oil by giving up on seaborne deliveries, while delaying a ban on pipeline supplies, Bloomberg reported on Saturday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
The revised proposal was sent to the governments of member states on Saturday and could be discussed by the EU ambassadors as soon as Sunday, according to the news agency.
The EU's executive arm says shipments of oil through the Druzhba pipeline, which connects Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, should for now be spared from the embargo that the bloc is looking to impose on Moscow over its military offensive against Ukraine.
The proposal is allegedly aimed at satisfying the objections of Hungary, which has been stalling the sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia. Budapest receives most of its oil from Russia, and has compared a full ban to “an atomic bomb.” Other landlocked nations including the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also voiced reservations over an embargo.
The new proposal would give more time to Hungary to find a replacement for Russian pipeline oil.
As for supplies by sea, all EU states are to give up on Russian crude delivered by tankers in six months and refined petroleum products in eight months, the sources said.
The European Commission has also proposed restricting re-exports of Russian pipeline oil to other member states or third countries as part of the draft.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen told MSNBC earlier this week that the bloc could not place an immediate ban on Russian oil as President Vladimir Putin “might be able to take the oil that he does not sell to the EU to the world market, where the prices will increase, and sell it for more – and that would fill his war chests.”
However, Von der Leyen insisted that overcoming dependence on Russian oil and gas remains one of the EU's major goals in the long run.
“Over time what we do is get rid of the overall dependency of the Russian fossil fuels, all three of them, and never to go back again… If there's anything Putin has achieved it is that he lost his best client and Europe will never come back, and he pushed us – and that's good – into the direction of renewable energy,” she said.