EU amends Russia’s oil ban to give Hungary more time

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Oban

Photo provider: AFP

The European Union is proposing an amendment to Russia’s oil sanctions ban, and Hungary and Slovakia will have another year to comply until the end of 2024, according to people familiar with the matter.

People said the Czech Republic would also be granted an exemption until June 2024. All other member states will phase out imports by the end of this year, as originally proposed, crude oil imports will stop in 6 months, and refined petroleum products will stop in 8 months.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban opposed the EU’s original proposal to ban Russia’s oil on Friday, saying it was equivalent to a “nuclear bomb” dropped on its economy. He said he wants a five-year exemption from the oil ban after the EU initially proposed giving the country an additional year.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a German audience on Friday that finding a unified oil sanctions would not be easy and could take “a few days”, but when an agreement was reached. He added that he was confident. EU diplomats met on Friday to discuss the revised proposal, said one who said negotiations could extend to the weekend.

Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic rely heavily on Russian oil, but make up a relatively small portion of the EU’s total imports from Moscow. Under the proposed plan, the three countries would not be allowed to sell imported goods to other countries. Czech exemptions may be shortened if the work of the transalpine pipeline is functioning in time.

The revised proposal is currently being scrutinized by the European Government. Slovakia’s Deputy Economic Minister Karol Garek said on Friday that his country “continues to insist on a three-year exemption.” “Negotiations will continue,” he added.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Friday: I don’t want to anticipate the final version, but I believe in a good solution. ”

Hungary is the biggest obstacle to trading, and Orban warns that the push risk of oil bans risks breaking the EU’s unity with Ukraine. “If the Commission insists on adopting the proposal, it will have to take full responsibility for the historic failure of the European Integration court,” he wrote to von der Leyen on Thursday. wrote.

People said the proposed Russian oil ban would occur in other countries and would not affect purchases passing through Russia unless sanctions were circumvented.

The EU plan also prohibits European companies and individuals from providing services such as vessels and insurance needed to transport oil to third countries. With the amendment, people said the measure would begin within one month, within three months of the adoption of the new sanctions. Greece and Cyprus questioned the original proposal, arguing that the measure would benefit non-EU companies and harm European companies.

The EU has also separated three Russian banks, including Russia’s largest lender, Zubel Bank, from the international payment system SWIFT, restricting Russian entities and individuals from buying real estate in the EU, and providing consulting services to Russian companies. Prohibit the provision of chemicals.

The EU also said that according to EU documents, former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, who is “closely related” to Vladimir Putin, and Bishop Kirill, who has led the Russian Orthodox Church and has been cheering for the President of Russia. We are preparing for sanctions. And the war in Ukraine.

Sanctions are also being considered against dozens of military personnel, including those responsible for the war crimes reported in Bucha, and companies that provide equipment, equipment and services to the Russian army.

© 2022 Bloomberg LP EU amends Russia’s oil ban to give Hungary more time

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