Austria rejects sanctions against Russian oil, gas – POLITICO

LUXEMBOURG – Austria’s finance minister on Monday ruled out any EU sanctions against oil and gas from Russia.

“We are very dependent on Russian gas and I think any sanctions that hit us more than the Russians would not be good for us,” says Magnus Brunner told reporters ahead of a Eurogroup meeting with Eurozone counterparts in the Grand Duchy. “That’s why we’re against sanctions on oil and gas.”

Brunner’s comments come just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron called for new sanctions on coal and oil in a speech on France Inter radio station. Belgium’s Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem said his country had no objection to such targeted measures.

The EU has already beaten Moscow with four rounds of sanctions and talks are under way to introduce a fifth package amid reports of Russian soldiers executing civilians in Ukrainian cities they have occupied.

Brunner called the reports “extremely horrific” but said “you have to keep your cool” when it comes to sanctions. But Vienna is happy to continue targeting Russian individuals, he said.

“If the sanctions hit you harder than the others, I don’t think that’s the right way,” said Brunner.

Nothing is off the table for the European Commission, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters when asked if oil would be included in the next sanctions package.

Ministers on Monday will discuss the economic fallout that the war in Ukraine could bring and how current and future sanctions would affect growth. The Commission is expected to release its next round of economic forecasts at the end of May.

“According to our current assessment, the effects of the war in Ukraine will lead to a significant slowdown in economic growth within the EU,” Dombrovskis said. “But not a recession.” Austria rejects sanctions against Russian oil, gas - POLITICO

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