The EU is working on a new round of sanctions against Russia that is expected to include a phased ban on Russian oil, but there may be some exemptions. Slovakia and Hungary are both against sanctions that would cut them off from Russian oil.
Slovak Economy Minister Richard Sulik said the country’s oil refiner Slovnaft would need years to switch from Russian crude to another supply. “So, we will insist on the exemption, for sure,” he said.
Hungary has been less enthusiastic than other EU countries to go along with sanctions against Russia. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest wouldn’t agree to sanctions that “will make the transport of natural gas or oil from Russia to Hungary impossible.”
“The point is simple, that Hungary’s energy supply cannot be endangered because no one can expect us to allow the price of the war to be paid by Hungarians,” Szijjarto said.
The EU’s European Commission could put forward a new proposal for Russian sanctions as early as Wednesday. Two EU officials told Reuters that the bloc might spare Slovakia and Hungary from the Russian oil embargo.
Germany is another country that is incredibly reliant on Russian oil, but Berlin has dropped its objection to the ban. The EU is expected to announce a ban that will phase out Russian oil by the end of 2022. But no matter how the EU does it, the move will raise gas prices and have a significant impact on Europe’s economy.