EU may excuse Hungary, Slovakia from oil banReading Time: < 1 minute
The European Commission (EC) may allow Hungary and Slovakia to opt out of the Russian oil embargo currently being drawn up, Reuters reports.
The EU will on Tuesday finalise its sixth package of sanctions against Russia, and is aware of how dependent the two countries are on Russian crude oil, the newswire learnt from two EU officials on Monday. The package will be presented to ambassadors of EU governments on Wednesday.
In the interests of unity, the EC might offer Slovakia and Hungary “an exemption or a long transition period”, according to one of the officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
Slovakia and Hungary respectively received 96% and 58% of their crude oil and oil products from Russia last year, according to International Energy Agency data, Reuters notes. Hungary has repeatedly said it would not sign up to energy sanctions against Russia.
Europe represents nearly half of Russia’s crude and petroleum product export market, and just over a quarter of the EU’s imports.
Germany, the top buyer of Russian oil in the EU, has in recent days said it could manage “an oil embargo with a sufficient transitional period”, the newswire adds.
The oil embargo is likely to be introduced gradually, only taking full effect from the start of 2023, officials told Reuters.