Oil, the EU embargo ready: from 31 December, but it will be gradual

BRUSSELS – An embargo on Russian oil imports by 31 December but gradually. the meeting ground that would allow to give a green light to sixth package of EU sanctions against Russiafor the invasion of Ukraine, which is expected to be presented formally to ambassadors to the EU next Wednesday. In jargon they are called confessionals. These are the informal restricted meetings organized by the EU Commission with groups of Member States to discuss specific issues, in this case on the sixth package of sanctions. The previous round of measures had been announced by the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen even before there had been a confrontation with the capitals and this had created more than a few discontent.

On Friday the Commission organized the first confessionals which continued on Saturday, in which he made an informal point with 6-7 countries at a time, to anticipate Wednesday’s proposal. The package divided into 4-5 sectors. The oil embargo has obtained the opening of Germany in recent days. Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said Friday that Germany would not oppose an oil embargo, but believes it would be reasonable for there to be an alternative, explaining that energy sovereignty needs to be regained step by step and that not you have to be blackmailable on energy.

Graduality aims precisely to allow the states most dependent on Russian oil to find alternatives. Germany has always said it would achieve independence by the end of the year. Oil accounts for about 35% of the German energy mix and 35.2% of the Russian one. For Holland it is about 47% of the total and of this about 70% comes from Russia. For Italy it represents about a third of the energy mix but we import only 17.4% from Moscow. The dependence of Hungary, on the other hand, is total. And in fact Budapest represents an unknown factor: the sanctions must be approved unanimously. Slovakia is also in trouble. But in its proposal, the EU Commission will try to help specific situations. The ultimate goal is a diversification of supply that is also valid in the long term and not only dictated by the war. Among the hypotheses that had been discussed in recent days for reduce Moscow’s oil revenues there was a pre-determined ceiling on the price that the EU would be willing to pay Russian producers and duties on petroleum products.

The new package also proposes that three new Russian banks, including Sberbank, and one Belarusian (the second largest in the country) are cut from the Swift international payment system. In addition, further restrictions on financial services are foreseen and the l‘export control to some chemicals for to limit Moscow’s ability to manufacture chemical bombs. According to the site Politico.eu Germany supported the request to sanction imports of uranium from Russia and other elements of the Russian civilian nuclear industry. Moscow is the second largest supplier of uranium to the EU after Niger. A stop could make it difficult for Eastern European countries that use Russian-made reactors. He comes lengthened the black listwith the addition of additional Russian officers, businessmen and family members associated with the already sanctioned oligarchs. Three new media for fake news will also be targetedafter Sputnik And Russia Today. Some countries, including Holland, have also asked for measures to be strengthened to combat maritime trade.

In the energy sector, the other delicate dossier concerns the measures to be identified to contain the race in energy prices to be presented by the Commission by the end of May. Italy along with other countries has asked for a ceiling on the price of gas. On Friday the report of the EU Agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (Acer), consulted by the Commission in view of the RePowerEu plan, effectively rejected the price cap. The Nordic countries are confident that this will block a possible proposal but several observers, including Italy, believe that the report does not take into account the speculation taking place on the gas market.

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Oil, the EU embargo ready: from 31 December, but it will be gradual

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