BERLIN, May 1. /TASS/. The German government supports the plans of the European Union (EU) to impose an embargo on oil imports from Russia. During the latest preliminary talks on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, Berlin spoke in favor of a ban, the DPA news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources in the EU.
Thus, such decision by the European Union has become much more likely. The reason for the sharp change in Germany's position could be the recent success in finding alternative oil suppliers. Last week, Vice Chancellor of Germany, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said that the country's dependence on Russian oil imports has decreased from 35% before Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine to 12%.
Opponents of new sanctions
According to the DPA, at the moment only such countries as Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia, as well as Spain, Italy, and Greece halt the embargo on oil supplies from Russia. According to diplomatic sources, Slovakia and Hungary have so far been opposed to an immediate cut in supplies, mainly because of their heavy dependence on Russian oil imports. As for the states of Southern Europe, consumers are greatly concerned about the expected growth in energy prices after the decision. The next few days will likely show how the discussions will progress.
The European Commission intends to present a draft of a new package of sanctions against Russia as soon as possible in order to increase pressure on Moscow against the backdrop of current events in Ukraine, the agency noted. However, a serious problem regarding a ban on Russian oil supply lies in determining a transitional period. Initially, according to the agency, the European Commission planned to present a new sanctions package at the beginning of the week, but now it may take longer.
Introducing maximum prices for Russian oil could also be a possible alternative to an oil imports ban, DPA wrote. However, in order for such plan to function it is necessary that Russian oil is not purchased at prices above the limit even by countries outside the EU.
The new sanctions package against Russia in addition to phasing out Russian oil supplies may include further sanctions against the banking sector, in particular Sberbank, as well as restrictions against a larger number of individuals and legal entities.