EU members seek opt-outs from Russian oil embargo

EU members seek opt-outs from Russian oil embargo

EU members seek opt-outs from Russian oil embargo

EU members seek opt-outs from Russian oil embargo

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Officials in Europe were working on a new set of penalties to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday, but some members are jockeying to avoid an oil embargo.

The European Commission is set to give along with the draught plan to member states later Tuesday, according to several EU officials and European diplomats in Brussels.

Following that, ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states will gather on Wednesday to review the plan, which will require unanimous agreement before entering into force.

According to EU sources, the commission’s proposal would phase in a ban on Russian oil imports over six to eight months, with Hungary and Slovakia being given an extra few months.

However, Slovakia, which, like Hungary, is virtually entirely reliant on Russian petroleum delivered through the Druzbha pipeline, has stated that it will take several years.

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To deal with imports from elsewhere, Slovakia’s refinery would need to be completely refurbished or replaced, which would be an expensive and time-consuming procedure.

Other officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity during the legally and diplomatically tense negotiations, suggested Bulgaria and the Czech Republic could seek sanctions exemptions as well.

One European diplomat cautioned that allowing exemptions to one or two highly reliant countries may set off a chain reaction of exemption requests, putting the embargo at risk.

The European Commission will not make the proposal public until Wednesday, when its president, Ursula von der Leyen, speaks to the European Parliament.

However, the plan was scheduled to be delivered to member state missions later Tuesday.

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