The European Commission president unveiled the EU’s sixth anti-Russia sanctions package on Wednesday, making it clear that member states must halt imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products for a period of 6 months in November, and exempt Hungary and Slovakia by the end of 2023. However, according to recent indications, this is too short a time for the two countries and the Czech Republic to raise important concerns about energy supplies (and other member states). So Reuters learned on Friday from three sources in the European Union that
- Hungary and Slovakia (both have 1-1 refinery in Mol) will be exempted from the embargo until the end of 2024, but by the end of 2024. The two countries’ combined Russian oil imports represent 6% of all Russian oil imports into the EU, so the target will not be compromised The main focus of the European Union.
- The Czech Republic will be exempted from the Russian embargo by the end of June 2024, but if the construction of the southern oil pipeline is completed first, it will have to activate the Russian embargo soon.
- In order to address the concerns of oil tankers in Greece, Malta and Cyprus, the element of the sanctions package that EU member states flag vessels/tankers will no longer be able to carry Russian oil will not come into effect until one month.
- The Bulgarians do not get any exemption from EU sanctions because they could not reliably prove their arguments.
It is not yet clear whether these concessions will allow an agreement to be reached today at the meeting of ambassadors of member states, which requires the approval of all member states, It might extend into late night or weekend, Politico wanted. EU High Representative Josep Borrell indicated on Friday that in the absence of a deal by the end of the week (there will be a Victory Day celebration in Moscow on Monday), an extraordinary summit of foreign ministers will be held next week to discuss the situation.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban indicated in a radio interview this morning that he would like to discuss the matter at the EU summit on May 30-31, that is, at the level of Heads of State and Government, while awaiting the Commission’s new proposal (on issues broader than the oil embargo). In doing so, he felt that the deal would not meet in the short term.
Croats also “log in”
Croatia has requested an exemption from the prospective EU oil embargo on the Rijeka refinery to continue exporting petroleum products needed for diesel production from Russia, Croatian daily newspaper wrote on the Viserny List in Brussels, citing unofficial sources.
To process the paper, the Croatian oil company INA said, Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) is essential for diesel production, and the INA refinery has been optimized for use in the production process. VGO’s supply sources are limited. Therefore, INA remains committed to its purchase, as it has been so far, they wrote.
According to the Vecernji List, a final decision has yet to be made. Since many countries have requested an exemption, the proposal may be adopted differently, they said, adding that it is not yet known whether Zagreb’s request will find fertile ground.
Cover image source: Getty Images
“Student. Unapologetic travel expert. Evil tv fan. Friendly pop culture scholar.”