The contortions are over.

The leaders of the 27 EU countries reached an agreement on Monday that would see them cut their imports of Russian oil by some 90% by the end of the year in order to dry up funding for Moscow's war in Ukraine. .

The Heads of State and Government, meeting at a summit in Brussels, agreed on a gradual embargo concerning oil transported by boat, ie 2/3 of European purchases of Russian oil.

A temporary exemption has been provided for oil transported by pipeline, in order to lift Budapest's veto.

"This will cut off a huge source of funding from Russia's war machine," European Council President Charles Michel tweeted.

Berlin and Warsaw having pledged to stop their imports via the Druzhba pipeline, in total 90% of Russian oil exports to the EU will be stopped by the end of the year, affirms the president of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The extension of the embargo to pipeline deliveries will then be discussed “as soon as possible”.

“Russia is choosing to continue its war in Ukraine.

As Europeans, united and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, we are taking new sanctions this evening,” tweeted Emmanuel Macron, whose country holds the presidency of the Council of the EU.

Warranty for Hungary

Unanimity is required for the adoption of sanctions.

The political green light from the leaders must still give rise to an agreement ratified at the level of the ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven to settle the details before the measures come into force.

Budapest had conditioned its green light on guarantees on its supply.

Arriving at the summit, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had demanded assurances in the event of a cut in the Druzhba pipeline which supplies his country via Ukraine.

Hungary, a landlocked country without access to the sea, depends for 65% of its consumption on oil transported by Druzhba.

It had opposed the initial proposal for an embargo, unless it benefited from a period of at least four years and around 800 million euros in European funding to adapt its refineries.

She also demanded to be able to be supplied with Russian oil by sea if the arrival by pipeline were to be stopped.

"This is the guarantee we need," said Viktor Orban.

Aid of 9 billion euros

Negotiations will then take place to also stop imports via Druzhba (1/3 of European supplies), whose northern branch serves Germany, Austria and Poland, and the southern branch serves Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

For Moscow, however, it is easier to find other buyers for its exports by tankers than by pipeline.

Some Member States fear, however, that the exemption of supply by pipeline will distort the conditions of competition for oil purchases.

Under negotiation for a month, the new sanctions package also provides for an expansion of the EU blacklist to around 60 personalities, including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

It includes the exclusion of three Russian banks from the Swift international financial system, including Sberbank, the country's main institution.

The leaders also approved the granting of 9 billion euros to the Ukrainian government to cover its immediate cash needs to run its economy.


War in Ukraine: A European embargo on Russian oil could lead to higher prices at the pump

  • World

  • War in Ukraine

  • Russia

  • Oil

  • Embargo