‘Fermentations’ ahead of 6th package of sanctions against Russia: Commission exempts Hungary, Slovakia from oil embargo

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The European Commission may exclude Hungary and Slovakia from a Russian oil market embargo that the Commission is preparing, as the Commission is wary of how dependent these two countries are on Russian crude oiltwo EU officials said today.

The commission is expected to complete its work tomorrow, Tuesday, on a sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which will include a ban on the purchase of Russian oil, whose exports are a major source of revenue for Moscow.

THE Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil, has repeatedly stated that it will not co-sign sanctions on the energy sector. Slovakia is also one of the EU countries most dependent on Russian fossil fuels.

To keep the 27-nation bloc united, the commission may offer Slovakia and Hungary an “exemption or a long transition period,” one official said.

The oil embargo is likely to be implemented gradually anyway, most likely to take full effect only early next year, officials have said.

THE Europe is the destination for almost half of Russia’s crude and oil exports – providing Moscow with a huge source of revenue that countries such as Latvia and Poland say should be cut to stop Moscow financing its military invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research, EU member states have paid Russia nearly 20 billion euros since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a Russian military invasion of Ukraine in what Moscow calls “Special military operation”.

In total, The EU’s dependent on Russia for 26% of its oil importsbut this dependence varies between Member States.

Slovakia and Hungary, both on the southern route of the Druzba pipeline carrying Russian oil to Europe, are highly dependent, receiving 96% and 58% of crude oil and petroleum products imports from Russia last year, respectively. International Energy Agency.

THE Germanythe largest buyer of Russian oil in the EU, said in recent days that it could manage an oil embargo, having initially resisted for fear of financial costs.

At 555,000 barrels a day, Germany imported 35% of its crude oil from Russia in 2021, but has reduced it to 12% in recent weeks, the German economy ministry said in an energy security briefing on Sunday.

German Foreign Minister Analena Berbock assured yesterday that Berlin is in favor of imposing an embargo by the European Union on oil exported by Russia.

Germany, Burbok told the German public television network ARD, is now “ready” to cope without buying crude from Russia for several years.

The EU sanctions package is set to be presented to EU ambassadors on Wednesday.

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