May 20, 2022
Oil barrels

European Union governments are moving closer to agreeing the inclusion of a ban on buying Russian oil in the next round of sanctions aimed at Moscow, but are yet to thrash out finalized terms of the agreement.

Consensus on the issue amongst the 27 EU countries has been hard to reach, due to the dependency of several member states on Russian oil for their energy supplies.

Further talks have been scheduled for Monday to work out how to ensure all member states can cope with a ban.

A sixth round of sanctions against Russia was announced on May 4th, and ambassadors from the 27 nations have been meeting daily to agree the specific measures. Whilst discussions continue, “significant progress” was said to have been made.

“The Council is united on the need to adopt a 6th sanctions package,” the French presidency of the EU and the Commission said in a joint statement. “Very significant progress has been made on most of the measures.”

One of the major obstacles to securing agreement for a ban is the issue of how to supply oil to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which are all dependent on Russian-owned pipelines and face logistical issues securing alternative supplies.

“We still have work to finalize, in a spirit of solidarity, the guarantees which are necessary for the oil supply conditions of the Member States which currently find themselves in a very specific situation with regard to supply by pipeline from Russia,” the statement continued.

The Commission has proposed to allow the three countries additional time to cease purchases of Russian oil due to their circumstances. Under the proposal, the countries would be given until 2024 to implement the ban, rather than the end-of-year timeline proposed for other member states.