EU needs few months to prepare for full Russian oil embargo
Germany is speeding up its plans to phase out Russian energy imports, while the EU prepares sanctions targeting Russian oil.
Germany is calling for a phased-in ban on Russian oil imports into the EU, while the European Union is working to find a deal between its member states before deciding on the bloc's policy on Russian energy, according to the Financial Times.
One of German chancellor Olaf Scholz's closest advisors, Jorg Kukies, said Berlin approved of an oil embargo on Russia but will need a "few months" to prepare before phasing out shipments of Russian crude.
Berlin had earlier said it will need until the end of the year before it would be able to do so, and it was reluctant to sanction oil when the war in Ukraine first began. However, it gradually shifted its position as the war went on.
“We’re asking for a considered wind-down period,” Kukies told the Financial Times. “We want to stop buying Russian oil, but we need a bit of time to make sure we can get other sources of oil into our country.” Most German refineries have already switched to other suppliers.
Moscow has recently cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria.
Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Wednesday that it had completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria's largest natural gas distribution company Bulgargaz and Polish oil and gas company PGNiG, as the companies failed to pay for gas in rubles.
As of the end of the business day on April 26, Gazprom Export had not received payments for gas supplies in April from Bulgargaz and PGNiG in rubles.
Some other EU countries, such as Italy, have been pushing for other measures against Russia, such as a price cap or tariff on Russian oil.
Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has warned his government would “not yield to any pressure to extend sanctions against Russia to gas or oil, as that would kill the Hungarian economy.”
The head of the Hungarian Prime Minister's office, Gergely Gulyas said on Sunday that apart from Hungary, nine other European countries have opened accounts in Russian banks in accordance with Russia's scheme to accept gas payments in rubles.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday that several European gas suppliers to Russia have agreed to new payment terms in rubles, but are keeping it quiet and disseminating misleading information about Hungary's attitude on the subject.