Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission is thinking about offering its eastern, landlocked states more funds for upgrading their oil infrastructure, with the aim of getting them on board with passing an EU-wide embargo on Russian oil.
The increase would be a part of a wider package of sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Though the sanctions would aim at ultimately banning Russian oil imports in the EU, as well as the sale of real estate to Russian nationals, the package faces opposition from several member states over what they claim would be a disastrous impact on their economies.
Hungary, which has previously said it would veto any blanket embargo on Russian oil, would be granted an exemption until the end of 2024, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic would be granted an exemption until mid-2024. The proposed oil infrastructure funding would go a long way towards helping the three countries reorient themselves from Russian energy imports, though the amount to be provided by the funds is still being discussed.
The three landlocked countries are currently heavily dependent on Russian oil, and with no ports or alternative pipelines available, are at a disadvantage to other European countries when it comes to diversifying their oil imports.
The EC officials have recognised their grievances as legitimate, and will now discuss spending more than originally planned to help upgrade their pipeline infrastructure so they would be able to receive oil deliveries from other EU members.
One originally planned aspect of the sanctions package, a ban on EU tankers carrying Russian oil, was already abandoned due to opposition from Greece, Cyprus, and Malta, who fear their shipping sector would be disproportionately affected. As Reuters reports, Cyprus also still has reservations over the plan to ban the sale of real estate.