EU accepts Russian oil sanctions and grants exemptions to Hungary

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The ban on maritime imports of Russian oil will be imposed with a transition period of six months for crude oil and eight months for refined products, a European Commission spokesperson said.



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This delay would come into effect once the sanctions are officially adopted, with EU states aiming to do so soon

European Union leaders handed Hungary concessions to agree an oil embargo against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, sealing a deal in the early hours of Tuesday that aims to cut 90% of crude imports from Russia into the bloc by the end of the year. The agreement excludes pipeline shipments, on which Hungary depends for Russian oil, from the embargo. It aims to cut Moscow’s revenue to fund the war it launched more than three months ago in Ukraine, with some of the toughest EU sanctions to date.

“The important news is that the EU is still united in its goal; the goal is to stop Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine,” Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said.

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The ban on maritime imports of Russian oil will be imposed with a transition period of six months for crude oil and eight months for refined products, a European Commission spokesperson said.

This timetable would come into effect once the sanctions are officially adopted, with EU states aiming to do so this week.

Two thirds of the Russian oil imported by the EU transits by tanker and a third by the Druzhba pipeline.

In total, the embargo aims to cover 90% of all Russian imports by the end of 2022. This would include maritime deliveries as well as Poland and Germany stopping their own pipeline imports of Russian oil. , which they agreed to do.

The remaining 10% would be temporarily exempt from the embargo so that Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic would have access via the Druzhba gas pipeline from Russia.

Oil prices extended their bull run after the EU deal, stoking concerns over inflation, which hit a record high of 8.1% year-on-year in eurozone countries this month. ci, Eurostat said on Tuesday.

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The oil embargo deal follows a previous ban on Russian coal and allows the bloc to impose a sixth round of sanctions that includes removing Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, from the international SWIFT system.

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ENERGY PRICES

With energy prices soaring, leaders will ask the EU Executive Commission to explore ways to curb them, for example through temporary price caps, and to work on potential market reforms European electricity company – a decision supported by countries like Spain and Greece, but opposed by countries like Germany.

They are also expected to endorse a Commission plan to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels within a few years through faster deployment of renewables, energy-saving improvements and more investment in energy infrastructure.

And they will call for better EU-wide contingency planning for further gas supply shocks. Moscow cut off gas supplies to the Netherlands on Wednesday for refusing to comply with a demand to pay gas in rubles, after already cutting off Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.

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NEXT TARGET OF RUSSIAN GAS?

The oil embargo deal follows a previous ban on Russian coal and allows the bloc to impose a sixth round of sanctions that includes removing Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, from the international SWIFT system.

But while several countries already want work to start on a seventh round of sanctions, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “Gas cannot be part of the next sanctions”.

Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas, which is why it has so far been excluded from EU sanctions. The EU passed a law this month requiring countries to fill their gas reserves to at least 80% before next winter, in a bid to create protection against supply disruptions.

EU gas storage is currently 46% full.

“Russian oil is much easier to offset…gas is completely different, so a gas embargo won’t be an issue in the next sanctions package,” Nehammer said.

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