EU could offer Hungary and Slovakia exemptions from Russian oil embargo

Two EU officials stated Monday that the European Commission might spare Hungary and Slovakia from an embargo against Russian oil purchases. This was in preparation because of their dependence on Russian crude.

On Tuesday, the Commission will finish work on the sixth and final package of EU sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. This would include a ban to buy Russian oil, which is a major source of revenue source for Moscow.

Hungary is heavily dependent upon Russian oil and has repeatedly stated that it will not agree to energy sanctions. The EU’s most dependent country on Russian fossil fuels is also Slovakia.

One official said that the Commission could offer Hungary and Slovakia “an exemption or long transition period” to keep the bloc of 27 nations united.

Officials said that the oil embargo will be phased in and most likely will not take effect until next year.

Nearly half of Russia’s crude oil and petroleum product exports go to Europe. This provides Moscow with an enormous source of income that, according to countries like Latvia and Poland, must be reduced in order to stop the funding of its military operations in Ukraine.

According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, Russia has paid nearly 20 billion euros to EU countries since February 24, when it invaded Ukraine in “special military operations”.

The EU depends on Russia for 26%, but the dependence varies from country to country.

Slovakia and Hungary are both located on the Druzhba Pipeline’s southern route, bringing Russian oil to Europe. They are particularly dependent and received respectively 96% and 58% last year from Russia. According to the International Energy Agency,

Germany is the EU’s top oil buyer. However, Germany has recently stated that it can manage an oil embargo. Initially, Germany resisted the idea out of fear of economic loss.

Germany imports 35% of its crude oil from Russia at 555,000 barrels per day. However, this has been reduced to 12% in recent weeks by the German economy ministry in an update on energy security.

It stated that an oil embargo in Germany with a sufficient transition period would be possible, subject to rising prices.

Ambassadors from EU countries will be presented with the EU sanctions package on Wednesday.

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