The EU leadership is trying to introduce sanctions measures against Russia without causing severe economic damage to EU countries whose economy depends on Russian exports.
The European Commission has put forward draft amendments to the previously proposed new package of oil sanctions against Moscow in order to give EU countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to adapt their national economies to a significant shift away from Russian energy carriers.
The EU leadership intended to impose an embargo on oil imports from Russia as soon as possible, but this was opposed by countries whose energy now depends too much on gas and oil supplies from the Russian Federation.
Thus, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the introduction of a ban on oil imports from Russia would be equivalent to an “atomic bomb” dropped on the Hungarian economy.
A new, modified version of the sanctions package that will provide these three countries with assistance in modernizing their oil infrastructure was discussed in the European Union on Friday, but no full agreement was reached, Reuters reports.
Also, the project provides for an interim period of three months, instead of one, during which energy suppliers within the European Union will still be allowed to transport Russian oil. This measure is designed to facilitate the reorientation of business for companies and vessels from Greece, Malta and Cyprus, which have the largest tanker fleet in the EU.
“It is necessary to take into account the concerns of Greece, Malta and Cyprus regarding these sanctions,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said after meeting with Greek leaders. – Our position is clear: we are against the Russian invasion [of Ukraine], and, of course, we are for sanctions. But these sanctions should be targeted, and should not meet the interests of some EU countries to the detriment of the interests of others.”
Reuters also reports that the negotiations of the dimplomats of the EU states are likely to last all next weekend.