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Russia sanctions: EU still hesitant about energy embargo

Russia sanctions: EU still hesitant about energy embargo

Status: 04/25/2022 10:28 AM

The European Commission is preparing for more sanctions against Russia. However, one of the economically important measures will again be absent from the new package: stopping the import of Russian oil and gas.

At the moment, the EU Commission does not see enough support from member states for a complete ban on imports of Russian oil and gas. That is why there will be no energy embargo in the sixth package of sanctions that the EU Commission is currently working on. This also applies to alternative sanctions such as the imposition of tariffs on Russian oil and gas supplies, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, said in an interview with “Die Welt” and other European media.

“At the moment we do not have a unified position in the European Union on this issue. Some member states have said very clearly that they will not support an embargo or punitive duties on Russian oil or gas,” Borrell said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, for example, said that an oil and gas embargo from Russia would mean crossing a red line for the Eastern European country. Above all, Hungary, Austria and Germany are slowing down the energy ban issue that has been discussed in the EU for weeks. This means that oil and gas will not be included in the sanctions list for the time being, because the EU can only decide to stop imports with the votes of all 27 member states.

EU countries are trying to find alternatives

However, Borrell stressed that all EU member states are working to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies: “The entire EU is in a crisis situation. Every time I call the foreign minister of a member state and ask where he or she is in the world, he tells me that they They buy gas. They are in the Middle East, in the Congo, in Algeria, somewhere in the world, they buy gas there.”

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Borrell said the European Union had already significantly reduced its dependence on Russian energy supplies in a few weeks. “We need sufficient alternative sources of supply if we want to do without Russian gas. At some point it will come to that, and then Russia will feel very painfully that the income from the oil and gas business will be lost.” Because, according to Borrell, a ban or punitive tariff would be “important to put pressure on Putin and bring him to the negotiating table.”

According to Borrell, the energy ban should now be discussed again at the upcoming summit of EU heads of state and government. Before this meeting, which will not take place until May 30-31, the EU foreign policy representative does not expect any decisions on the import ban.

Europe is in trouble

Ifo warned last week not to wait too long with the energy ban: Europe is in trouble here. “On the one hand, more time will give the EU an opportunity to better prepare itself by regulating alternative energy sources, reducing demand, as well as improving the logistics of energy flows within the EU and in individual countries,” IFO researcher Karen Bettel said last Friday. .

On the other hand, the oil embargo should not be postponed forever either: “because more time will allow Russia to find other buyers while EU revenues continue to flow.” In addition, incentives in EU countries to prepare for a freeze on Russian energy supplies will be reduced.