Borrell says no EU agreement on Russian energy embargo

REUTERS/Janis Laizans/File Photo
File Photo: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends a news conference, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2022.

BERLIN – There is insufficient support from European Union member states for a complete embargo or punitive tariff on Russian oil and gas imports, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell was quoted as saying by German newspaper Die Welt on Monday.

“At the moment, we in the EU do not have a unified position on this question,” Borrell told the newspaper.

Oil exports are the Kremlin’s main source of foreign currency and many within the EU have called for an end to oil payments because they effectively finance the war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

Some EU countries are pushing for a sixth sanctions package on Russia and Brussels is preparing a full impact assessment of an oil ban as part of possible further measures.

Russia is Europe’s biggest oil supplier, providing just over a quarter of EU oil imports in 2020, according to data from the bloc’s statistics office Eurostat.

Borrell said the topic will be discussed at the next EU summit due at the end of next month and that he did not expect any decision on the matter before then.

“A final proposal for an embargo on oil and gas is not yet on the table,” he said.

The EU Commission will probably make proposals for a sixth package of sanctions to the member states this week, Die Welt said, without citing sources.

All EU states are working to cut their dependency on Russian oil and gas, Borrell said, adding that he believed the bloc will be able to reduce its dependency eventually.

“At some point it will happen and then Russia will feel painfully that the revenues from the oil and gas business are being lost,” he added.