Conflicts & War

EU commission chief says expectations to endorse Russian oil ban are ‘low’

Brussels, May 30 (EFE).- European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday she has “low expectations” for an imminent breakthrough on a Russian oil embargo during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

At the beginning of May, the commission proposed to halt all imports of Russian oil within six months. But Hungary, heavily dependent on Russian oil, has repeatedly said it would not go along with the move, creating the ongoing standoff among member states.

“My expectations are low that it will be solved in the next 48 hours, but I’m confident that thereafter there will be a possibility,” von der Leyen said arriving at the two-day meeting.

Von der Leyen pointed out that the EC and the French presidency have been working intensively in the past few days to decide on a new set of sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine but “we are not there yet.”

Although the 27 EU member states agreed to vote in favor of banning Russia’s seaborne crude exports as a first phase, they remain divided on imports via pipelines.

The EC has proposed to exempt oil imported through the Druzhba, the world’s longest oil pipeline that transports crude oil to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday that he was seeking new guarantees his country could get oil from other sources.

“The proposal we have received is not good. We are ready to accept the sixth package if there are solutions for Hungary’s energy supply security,” Orban said.

“First we need solutions and then sanctions,” Orban, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the EU, added.

He added that the proposal to leave out pipeline oil from the sixth package of sanctions was a “good approach,” but stressed the need to guarantee it.EFE


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