In its sixth package of sanctions against Russia, the European Commission takes a step that many Europeans were expecting: its president, Ursula von der Leyen, proposes to put an end to Russian oil imports.

n the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday May 4, when the President of the European Commission pronounced the words “embargo on Russian oil”, a round of applause was immediately heard. It must be said that from the beginning of April, MEPs had called for an embargo on Russian oil, in a resolution passed almost unanimously. The European elected representatives were therefore heard by Ursula von der Leyen, who does not however hide her concern: ” It will not be easy” , she admitted, insisting on the idea that there is no another option available to Europeans.

In front of parliamentarians, she specified: “ It will be a total embargo on all Russian oil, delivered by sea or via pipelines, crude or refined ”. Concretely, imports of crude oil from Russia will have to stop within six months, while for refined products, the European Union (EU) is giving itself until the end of the year. Hungary and Slovakia, landlocked and very dependent on imports from Russia, should benefit from an exemption, in order to be able to buy Russian crude oil until the end of 2023.

In the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday May 4, when the President of the European Commission pronounced the words “embargo on Russian oil”, a round of applause was immediately heard. It must be said that from the beginning of April, MEPs had called for an embargo on Russian oil, in a resolution passed almost unanimously. The European elected representatives were therefore heard by Ursula von der Leyen, who does not however hide her concern: ” It will not be easy” , she admitted, insisting on the idea that there is no another option available to Europeans.

In front of parliamentarians, she specified: “ It will be a total embargo on all Russian oil, delivered by sea or via pipelines, crude or refined ”. Concretely, imports of crude oil from Russia will have to stop within six months, while for refined products, the European Union (EU) is giving itself until the end of the year. Hungary and Slovakia, landlocked and very dependent on imports from Russia, should benefit from an exemption, in order to be able to buy Russian crude oil until the end of 2023.

Ursula von der Leyen revealed the equation that motivated her decision: on the one hand, “to maximize the pressure on Russia “, and on the other hand, ” to minimize the collateral damage “, and this ” because to help the ‘Ukraine, we have to be sure that our economy remains strong .

Isolate Russia

This sixth package of sanctions – the heaviest ever put on the table by the EU – also includes a banking component. The Commission is in fact proposing to exclude three Russian banks, including the giant Sberbank (which represents nearly 40% of the market in Russia), from the Swift international financial system. The European executive is not at its first attempt: in its previous sets of sanctions, the EU had already reserved the same fate for seven Russian banks (VTB Bank, Bank Rossiya, Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank as well as VEB).

On the European Parliament side, many MEPs are in favor of excluding all Russian banks from the Swift system. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on the same line. And Ursula von der Leyen to launch: “ We strike banks of essential systemic importance for the Russian financial system and the capacity of destruction of Putin. This will reinforce the total isolation of the Russian financial sector. These new sanctions also include a list of 58 additional Russian personalities. Among them, a number of soldiers who took part in the Boutcha massacre.

The ball is in Coreper’s court

According to Manfred Weber, the president of the group of the European People’s Party (the EPP, majority in the hemicycle), “ energy payments to Russia finance Putin’s system ”. According to the German, “ the new sanctions proposed by Ursula von der Leyen (…) were an absolutely necessary step. Since Putin declared war, we have been living in a new reality .” On the other side of the hemicycle, Iratxe Garcia Perez, at the head of the Socialist group, does not have a different approach from his right-wing counterpart. ” The next step in Putin’s war must be to cut off gas and oil, as the chairman of the Commission announced“, she maintained. For Bernard Guetta, French MEP member of the Renew Europe (RE) group, ” Putin hoped to smash the front of the 27 by cutting off the gas tap to Bulgaria and Poland, but the EU held firm and reinforced its quest for substitute products .

The sanctions package must now be studied and endorsed by “Coreper 2” – for “Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union”. Within this body which therefore brings together the 27 Member States and which, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, has spared no effort to guarantee a coherent and coordinated EU response to the Russian invasion, a source not hide: “ Between us, we joke that Coreper, the Committee of Permanent Representatives, has become a Standing Committee of Representatives! And the EU is certainly not yet at the end of its troubles.

Tagged in:

About the Author

Investing Press

we are passionate about science, new technologies, and web development and how to make money on the internet, we share with you tips, tutorials, guides, concerning the creation of blogs and everything related to Web 3.0 and of course the world of Cryptocurrency

View All Articles