The heads of government and state of the European Union (EU) today reached an agreement for an embargo on Russian oil, announced the president of the European Council, explaining that two-thirds of European imports to Russia are at stake. The embargo will reduce the EU’s imports of Russian oil by around 90% by the end of the year, the president of the European Commission said today.
“Agreement to ban the export of Russian oil to the EU. This immediately covers more than two-thirds of Russia’s oil imports, cutting off a huge source of funding for its war machine.”
In the publication, the official highlighted “unity” in the European Council, which is meeting today and Tuesday in Brussels at an extraordinary summit, also stressing the “maximum pressure on Russia to end the war”.
After difficult discussions in the EU to move forward with a gradual and progressive embargo on Russian oil, as proposed by the European Commission almost a month ago, the matter was on the agenda of European leaders, and changes are now expected from the initial proposal, such as the measure to cover two-thirds of European oil imports from Russia, ie all maritime oil from Russia.
In a message published on her official Twitter account, Ursula von der Leyen welcomes tonight’s agreement at the European Council on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, which the President of the Commission had presented almost a month ago, and underlines that the same will practically represent the end of oil imports from Russia within approximately six months, even with the changes and temporary exceptions introduced, namely the embargo in a first phase to apply only to oil imports by sea.
“This will effectively cut about 90% of Russian oil imports into the EU by the end of the year,” wrote Von der Leyen.
In the face of criticism from countries more dependent on Russian oil, such as Hungary, temporary exceptions are also planned to guarantee the security of supply for certain Member States.
It is confirmed that the agreement approved is the one that reinforces the exceptions for Hungary, providing that the embargo – which will in any case only take effect within six months – covers only oil transported by sea, which represents two-thirds of the European imports, allowing landlocked countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to continue to receive Russian oil via pipeline.
European leaders have been meeting since this afternoon, in Brussels, for an extraordinary summit that had energy, defense, and food security among the agenda items.
However, an impasse has remained until now in the adoption of the sixth package of sanctions, which would contemplate an embargo – albeit progressive, gradual, and with exceptions – on imports of Russian oil, rejected by Hungary, given its great dependence.
In recent days, the French presidency of the Council and the European Commission have made efforts to reach a compromise, which would in particular raise the objections of Budapest.
At the beginning of this European Council, this afternoon, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the leaders by videoconference and urged them to overcome the “internal quarrels” and adopt the sixth package of sanctions against Russia.
“Internal quarrels must stop […] Europe must show its strength because force is the only argument that Russia understands”, declared Zelensky in his speech before EU heads of state and government, quoted by the AFP agency. .
Underlining the importance of the 27 not being divided at this time and of showing unity, the Ukrainian President insisted that “only with great unity” will it be possible to find “effective answers” to everything that Russia has done both to Ukraine and to the bloc. European Union, not least because Moscow’s “greatest desire” is to see the Member States divided.
Zelensky then left the appeal for the European bloc to finally adopt the sixth sanctions package – proposed by the European Commission almost a month ago -, “including oil, so that Russia pays the price for what it is doing against Ukraine”. , against Europe”, and for the European Union to finally free itself from “Russian energy weapons, at least oil”.
The war in Ukraine has exposed the EU’s excessive energy dependence on Russia, which is responsible for around 45% of European gas imports. Russia also supplies 25% of the oil and 45% of the coal imported by the EU.
Source: With Agencies