Brussels proposes to stop Russian oil imports by the end of the year, but can Germany stick to the deadline?
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, has today unveiled a proposal to impose an EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports, one of Moscow’s main sources of revenue.
The embargo will be structured and gradual, giving member states up to six months to phase out purchases of Russian crude and until the end of the year to stop buying all sorts of refined oil products.
Stop Russian oil imports
The ban will apply to all Russian oil traded both via ports and pipelines.
“Let us be clear: it will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it,”
Said von der Leyen while speaking before the European Parliament on Wednesday morning.
EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports
“We maximise pressure on Russia, while at the same time minimising collateral damage to us and our partners around the globe. Because to help Ukraine, our own economy has to remain strong.”
Part of the sixth package of EU sanctions, the oil embargo represents the most impactful penalty the bloc has imposed on Russia and has the potential to deprive the Kremlin of some of its income.
However, Russia has created demand from other sources in Asia and could transfer the supply there, before the end of the year.
Can Germany stick to the deadline?
Germany is one of the countries linked to the Druzhba pipeline, a massive conduit operated by oil giant Transneft, that also connects Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria.
During consultations, Hungary and Slovakia raised concerns about the ban’s negative consequences for their national economies, according to diplomatic sources consulted by Euronews.
The two countries, which are highly dependent on Russian pipeline oil, have pushed to be granted an extra year to complete the phase-out.
Italy, Greece and Austria stressed the need to have sufficient time to adapt their energy supply chains.
While Greece, Cyprus, Belgium and the Netherlands pointed out possible economic losses for their local shipping industries, WTX EU News understands.
On the other side of the table, Poland insisted on slapping a full embargo on both oil and gas imports, a dual scenario that would in all likelihood trigger a deep recession across the continent.
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