EU changes Russian oil sanctions plan to help reluctant states


The European Commission has proposed changes to its proposed Russian oil embargo in a bid to win over reluctant states, three European sources told Reuters on Friday.

The amended proposal, which EU envoys were discussing at a meeting on Friday morning, plans to give Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to adjust to the embargo and help them modernize their own oil infrastructure, the sources said.

It also includes a three-month transition before banning EU shipping services from shipping Russian oil, instead of the initial month, one of the sources added. They all spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the changes, Hungary and Slovakia could buy Russian oil from pipelines until the end of 2024, and the Czech Republic could continue until June 2024, if it does not obtain oil via a pipeline. from southern Europe earlier, the sources said.

According to the initial proposal, most EU countries should stop buying Russian crude oil six months after the measures are adopted and stop imports of refined petroleum products from Russia by the end of the year. year. Hungary and Slovakia initially had until the end of 2023 to adapt.

Bulgaria had also asked for exemptions, but received no concessions on deadlines, “because they don’t really have a reason”, an official said. The other three countries that have been given more leeway “have an objective problem”, the official added.

One of the sources said the extended deadlines were calculated on likely construction times for pipeline upgrades. The official said Hungary and Slovakia only account for 6% of EU oil imports from Russia, and the exemptions would not change the impact of the ban on the Russian economy.

Diplomats said the talks were complex and it was unclear whether the new proposal would win the backing of all 27 EU states, which is needed for the oil ban to take effect.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said earlier on Friday that Hungary would need five years and huge investments in its refineries and pipelines to transform its current system, which gets around 65% of its oil from Russia.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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