European Union: gradual embargo on Russian oil

– The European Union is putting the finishing touches on its decision to phase out purchases of Russian oil and its derivatives as part of the sanctions imposed on Moscow against the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine and will announce a timetable for new measures this week , as revealed by European sources.

“There is a political will to stop buying oil from Russia and next week we will have measures and a decision on a phasing out,” said a European official involved in the talks.

The European Commission is expected to present a proposal for a ban “with a transitional period until the end of the year”, according to a European diplomat.

But the European official stressed that the decision “is not easy to implement” due to two difficulties.

Two landlocked European countries, Hungary and Slovakia, are dependent on Russian pipelines and are not connected to any European pipelines. Therefore, it is necessary to find infrastructure or alternatives.

On the other hand, care must be taken that European decisions do not lead to an increase in the price of oil, which would be counterproductive.

The announcement of the European effort aims to diversify the sources of supply and set a timetable to stop the purchase of oil and its derivatives from Russia, with a duration of between six and eight months, to avoid a boom in the markets.

Over the weekend, the European Commission held talks with the most affected member states, the United States and the International Energy Agency to finalize the proposal to be presented to the bloc member states.

During a visit in Chile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday that “the new package of sanctions that is being prepared is indispensable”.

“We must use our economic and financial leverage to pay Russia its share price,” he said, adding that the bombing of Odessa airport means that Moscow “intends to deprive Ukraine of its seaport” .

The imposition of sanctions on Russian oil requires the unanimity of the member states. The European official said: “Hungary has been on time with regards to sanctions so far, and it should be avoided to give it an excuse to prevent (sanctions) related to oil.”

The sixth package of European measures prepared by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen aims to impose sanctions on the entire Russian oil system. In the short term, a measure will aim to raise the cost of shipping for Russian oil.

Several European diplomatic sources have indicated that Sberbank, the largest in Russia and the largest market share at 37 percent would be excluded from the SWIFT system for international money transfers.

The European Union is trying to cut funding due to the Kremlin war in Ukraine. Russia exports two thirds of its oil to the European Union.

In 2021, the European Union imported 30% of its purchases of crude oil and 15% of its purchases of petroleum derivatives from Russia.