EU ambassadors meet again on Sunday to try to close the sanctions agreement on Russian oil

File image of a refinery -Patrick Pleul/dpa

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The Twenty-seven will meet again this Sunday at the level of ambassadors to take stock of the technical negotiations of the last hours with which they try to unblock the agreement that allows sanctioning Russian oil imports.

This new round provides for other measures such as expanding the list of people and entities sanctioned for their responsibility in war crimes or also disconnecting Sberbank and two other entities from the Swift banking system, but, according to European sources, only the pillar of the I veto oil and the objective continues to be to try to adopt the package en bloc when the pending issues are resolved.

The difficulties of the agreement are framed more in technical and economic questions than political ones, for example due to the need to ensure the supply of fuel to the partners most dependent on Russian oil, the sources indicate.

The European Commission proposed to the capitals on Tuesday to impose an embargo on all imports of Russian oil to the European Union by any means, with a transition period of six months in the case of crude oil and eight for refined products.

The objective is to have room to look for alternatives that facilitate the disconnection of Russian oil and contain the impact on the markets. However, the community services included an exception for Hungary and Slovakia to be exempt from its entry into force until a year later, due to their strong dependency.

In the days of negotiations at the level of ambassadors, experts and capitals, the Member States gave a generally good reception to the proposed package, but the exception offered to two partner countries brought out differences between the delegations; some, like the Czech Republic or Bulgaria, also claiming differentiated treatment for them and others attentive to measuring the changes so that they do not end up diluting the sanctions.

Thus, for example, Hungary and Slovakia, to whom Brussels already offers to delay the application of the sanctions for a year, see this calendar as insufficient and demand that their exemption be extended until the end of 2024.

On the other hand, countries such as the Czech Republic and Bulgaria also demand differentiated treatment with conditions similar to those that would already be applied to Hungary and Slovakia, as various European sources have explained, but only the Czechs have managed to be part of the exception for the time being. .

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