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EU chief ‘optimistic’ of a quick to Russia’s oil embargo

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Despite Hungary’s objections, European Council President Charles Michel voiced optimism on Wednesday that the EU will achieve an agreement on a Russian oil embargo ahead of next week’s European summit.

Michel stated that European leaders are working tirelessly to find a solution, and that he has had several conversations on the matter.

During a joint news conference in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Michel said, “I’m still confident that we can be able to resolve the topic before the European Council” meeting in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday.

Hungary has yet to be persuaded to support an EU oil embargo on Russia, and bringing it up at next week’s European summit would be foolish, Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned Michel in a letter obtained by AFP earlier this week.

“Looking at the gravity of the issues still open, it is very unlikely that a comprehensive solution could be found before the special meeting of the European Council on 3031 May,” Orban said in a letter dated Monday.

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“I am convinced that discussing the sanctions package at the level of leaders in the absence of a consensus would be counterproductive,” it said.

Michel said Wednesday he was “realistic, I know that there are difficulties” but that he would “propose some possible solutions.”

According to diplomatic sources, EU leaders may discuss the matter at the Brussels summit in order to get a political accord that will allow Hungary and the European Commission to resume technical negotiations.

Orban, who is frequently an outlier in EU decision-making, has shattered the bloc’s unity on the Ukraine conflict by opposing an oil embargo.

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