Dispute over oil embargo threatens to overshadow Ukraine summit

Brussels.

The ongoing dispute over plans for a European oil embargo against Russia threatens to overshadow the EU summit in Brussels, which begins today.

According to information from the German Press Agency, the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban prevented agreement on a new compromise proposal by agreeing to financial commitments from the EU made dependent. In addition, countries such as the Netherlands also showed reservations.

In order to solve the blockade in Hungary, which has been going on for weeks, the EU Commission had previously proposed only allowing the import of oil transported by ship to be phased out for the time being. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy sources, could therefore continue to supply itself with oil from Russia via the huge Druzhba pipeline.

Germany and Poland are striving for independence

Refineries in Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as in Poland and East Germany are also connected to the line. However, Germany and Poland have already made it clear that they want to become independent of Russian oil supplies by the end of this year, regardless of an embargo. The oil embargo shouldn’t be fully in force before then anyway.

According to information from EU circles, the financial commitments now being demanded from Hungary are primarily about funds that the country needs for the medium-term remodeling of its oil infrastructure. The government in Budapest estimates the costs for the necessary conversion of refineries to non-Russian oil at up to 550 million euros. In addition, according to the information, 20 million euros must be invested in order to supply the country in the future via a pipeline starting on the Adriatic coast.

Content problems with According to diplomats, however, the compromise proposal was accepted by the Netherlands. They fear that there could be an unlevel playing field in the EU if some states continue to purchase relatively cheap pipeline oil from Russia. This is also relevant because the port of Rotterdam has so far been an important transhipment point for Russian oil and business could initially collapse there due to the embargo.

EU politician Weber: ” I’m honestly tired of it”

The original proposal of the EU Commission provided for the import of Russian crude oil in six months and of oil products in eight months because of the Ukraine war to end completely. Only Hungary and Slovakia were to be given 20 months.

CSU European politician Manfred Weber spoke against the background of the discussions against far-reaching compromises in favor of Hungary. “To be honest, I’m tired of the fact that the entire EU always has to act according to the most hesitant when it comes to sanctions decisions,” said the chairman of the Christian Democratic EPP group of the German Press Agency. If Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocks the necessary unity against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, intergovernmental solutions without Hungary would have to be sought.

“If there is no other way, then this path must not be ruled out” , said Weber with regard to the option of deciding on the oil embargo without including Hungary. Orban must be shown that it cannot take the rest of the EU hostage.

Zelenskyj connected via video conference

According to EU diplomats at the EU consultations on Sunday, Germany was in principle ready to agree to the Commission’s compromise proposal. At the same time, the federal government made it clear that the exemptions are actually not in their interest. According to the information, it was also reported with displeasure that the Commission withdrew the proposal to ban Russians from buying real estate in the EU as part of the sixth sanctions package.

On the official agenda of the two-day The special EU summit in Brussels includes possible measures against the currently very high energy prices, further support for Ukraine and EU cooperation in the area of ​​security and defense. According to the plans, there will be a briefing by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the current situation in Ukraine. This should be connected via video conference. (dpa)

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