EU ‘Almost There’ On Reaching Russian Oil Ban As It Negotiates Giving Hungary More Time
EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell has confirmed on Friday that the European Commission is considering agreeing to Hungary and other countries’ request for more time and money to find alternatives to Russian oil amid the mulled embargo, according to FT. He also claimed EU negotiators are ‘almost there’ on an agreement for a new anti-Russia sanctions package.
This after the unbending words from Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán saying “We cannot accept a proposal that ignores this” in a state media interview. He said Hungary would be “happy to negotiate” a compromise that would take into serious account its demands.
Inter-EU talks have reportedly become “stuck” after Hungary’s objections, which has also lately included the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria expressing a desire for exemptions. It’s now being reported that EU ambassadors will take at least through the weekend to achieve a deal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is vowing to find a path forward within “days” – as she told an audience Friday…
…that finding unity on oil sanctions isn’t easy and may take “some days,” but added she is confident that a deal will be reached. EU diplomats are meeting Friday to discuss the revised proposals and negotiations could stretch into the weekend, one person said.
According to the latest from Bloomberg, “The European Union has proposed a revision to its Russia oil sanctions ban that would give Hungary and Slovakia an extra year, until the end of 2024, to comply, according to people familiar with the matter.”
However, Orbán on Friday said that Hungary “would need four to five years to revamp its energy system and become independent from Russian oil,” as summarized of his latest interview comments. Writes Euronews, “He noted that, while other EU states can bring additional crude barrels through their ports, Hungary, a landlocked country, lacks that alternative path.”
“The Czech Republic would also be granted an exemption until June 2024, the people said. All other member states would phase out their imports by the end of this year as originally proposed, with imports of crude halting in six months and refined petroleum products in eight months,” Bloomberg reports.
However, this is also unlikely not to satisfy Czech prime minister Petr Fiala, who explained earlier of his country’s desire for an exemption: “We are ready to support this decision under the condition that the Czech Republic will be able to delay its implementation until the capacity of oil pipelines leading into the Czech Republic is increased.” The timeline for this being widely floated by the objecting countries is three to five years.
Fri, 05/06/2022 – 12:20