EU Commission proposes to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year – POLITICO

The European Commission will propose phasing out Russian oil imports as part of a new package of sanctions for Moscow in a bid to curb Vladimir Putin’s main war-financing stream.

Revenue from energy exports has been crucial in funding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and EU countries have been weighing how to attack Putin’s oil, gas and nuclear sectors after already agreeing to sanctions on coal.

But Brussels is unwilling to propose an immediate, total ban on Russian oil imports into the bloc when details are announced, which are expected as early as this week.

The European Commission will instead propose to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year, EU diplomats said. The phased move away from Russian oil aims to ensure Germany stays on board as the bloc’s economic powerhouse and minimize disruption to international oil markets.

Diplomats said the commission will propose some form of exemptions or transitional measures for Hungary and Slovakia, as those two countries rely on Russian oil and are struggling to find alternative supplies. In recent weeks, Hungary has emerged as one of the main obstacles to further sanctions against Russia’s energy sector.

Hungary had stressed that its concerns were economic, not political, several diplomats said, paving the way for a political compromise to address those concerns.

Berlin had previously signaled to other EU capitals that it was willing to consider cutting Russian oil – even if it is not yet ready to give up gas imports – but only under certain conditions. Last week, the German ambassador told his counterparts that Berlin not only agreed to oil sanctions, but would actively support an oil phase-out.

The Commission is expected to propose the next package of sanctions on Tuesday, which is expected to include the oil phase-out. The measures are then to be discussed by the EU ambassadors on Wednesday, diplomats said. The package is also likely to include penalties for more people and hit more Russian banks like Sberbank.

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blank EU Commission proposes to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year - POLITICO

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