US President Biden says he won’t send rockets to Ukraine that could reach Russia
European Union officials are stepping up efforts to agree on a Russian oil embargo on Monday, after a difficult weekend of talks that ended in deadlock and delayed a sixth round of European sanctions against Moscow.
The 27 EU ambassadors failed to reach an agreement on Sunday evening, an official told reporters in Brussels, but talks continued on Monday ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU leaders later in the day.
The bloc has repeatedly struggled to rally countries including Hungary when negotiating Russian sanctions, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has for weeks resisted the possibility of banning the import of Russian oil. .
“I think what I saw in the room was that there is a will from all member states to work on oil and to ban oil from European markets,” an official said on Sunday. of the EU to journalists.
“The question is how to do it and how to respond to national specificities since some member states depend on it more than others.”
“If you’re targeting oil, you have some countries that are 100% dependent on Russian oil, and phasing out is quite a challenge. So that’s what you need to refine,” the official said.
“Difficult” negotiations: In a separate briefing, a senior diplomat from an EU country told reporters that the technicalities of an oil embargo were “extremely difficult” to resolve. And countries like Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were still seeking assurances on security of supply issues.
The top European diplomat also explained that, given the complexity of the oil sector in Europe, the EU must “be very careful in drawing up legislation and conclusions” in order to preserve the level playing field in the internal market of the EU. EU.
The diplomat expected the oil issue and the sixth round of sanctions to be discussed by leaders at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council (EUCO) on Monday, but did not believe heads of state and government would be able to solve technical problems.
“I think we are now in the home stretch to try to achieve that,” they added.
Where is Hungary: While Orban eventually accepted previous rounds of EU sanctions against Russia, he has repeatedly said he would not support a ban on Russian oil and gas.
“While we condemn Russia’s armed offensive and we also condemn the war, we will not allow Hungarian families to pay the price of war; and therefore the sanctions should not be extended to the fields of oil and gas,” Orban said. in a statement following bilateral talks in London with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March.
This position was a central part of Orban’s campaign for re-election, which he won in a ballot in April. Hungary is heavily dependent on Russian energy and Orban refused to condemn Putin’s invasion as clearly as most of his colleagues on the continent.
But there is growing frustration in Europe with his stance.
“Intense talks are underway” on a Russian oil embargo, German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck told CNN on Friday. But “the question is whether Viktor Orban, Hungary, [is] eager to remain in the solidarity of Europe and the transatlantic partnership, and at the moment this does not appear to be the case.”