The European Union has proposed a revision of its oil sanctions ban on Russia that would give Hungary and Slovakia an extra year until the end of 2024 to comply, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Czech Republic will also be granted a special permit until June 2024, according to the population.
All other member states would phase out their imports by the end of this year as initially proposed, with imports of crude oil ending in six months and refined petroleum products in eight months.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier on Friday said he opposed the EU’s initial proposal to ban Russian oil, saying it was tantamount to dropping a “nuclear bomb” on his country’s economy.
He said he wanted a five-year exemption from an oil ban after the EU originally proposed giving the country an extra year.
Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are heavily dependent on Russian oil, but account for a relatively small part of total EU imports from Moscow.
The three countries would not be allowed to sell the supplies they import to others under the proposed plans.
The Czech derogation can be shortened if the works on the transalpine pipeline are put into operation in time.
“If the Commission insists on accepting its proposal, it will have to bear full responsibility for a historic failure in the court of European integration,” Orban wrote in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this week.
Ms Von der Leyen told an audience in Germany on Friday that finding agreement on oil sanctions was not easy and could take “a few days”, but added she was confident a deal would be reached.
The proposed ban on Russian oil would not affect purchases originating from other countries and transiting through Russia as long as they do not result in sanctions being circumvented, the people said.
Under the EU’s plan, European companies and individuals would also be banned from offering vessels and services such as insurance needed to ship oil to third countries.
With the revision, that measure would now take effect within three months of the new sanctions being passed, instead of a month, people said.
Greece and Cyprus had raised questions about the original proposals, arguing that the measure would benefit non-EU companies and harm European companies.
EU ambassadors are meeting on Friday to discuss the revised proposals and negotiations are expected to be difficult and drag on for the day, the people said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/eu-revises-russia-oil-sanctions-plan-to-give-hungary-more-time-41620408.html EU revises Russia’s oil sanctions plan to give Hungary more time