Slovakia cannot accept the current EU sanctions plan – POLITICO

Slovakia’s Energy Minister Karol Galek has warned that his country cannot agree to the European Commission’s latest proposal to ban Russian oil imports, and is calling for more time to find alternative fuel supplies.

Speaking to POLITICO, he said Slovakia is not opposed to the sanctions and wants to agree to measures to put pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime. But the Commission’s proposal to give Slovakia and Hungary an extra year to adjust to the oil ban is not enough, he said.

Under the Commission’s proposals, the EU will sanction Russian oil, ban crude oil imports within six months and refinery products by the end of the year. A special arrangement has been worked out for landlocked Slovakia and Hungary, giving them a deadline until the end of 2023 because they are so dependent on Russian oil.

“Unfortunately that’s not enough,” said Galek. “We expect at least three years.”

A key refinery requires heavy Russian oil and alternative supplies will not be viable on the proposed timeline, he explained.

By the end of 2025, it should be possible to switch away from Russian oil: “That is when we will be able to make the pipeline stronger. And to change the technology.” But even that deadline would be tight, he said.

Galek stressed that the current proposal would affect not only the energy supply of Slovakia, but also of Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. “This will destroy our European economy,” he said.

EU countries are currently discussing the Commission’s plan for a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. Hungary has already expressed reservations. The plan requires unanimous approval to proceed. Slovakia cannot accept the current EU sanctions plan – POLITICO

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