According to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, a consensus on banning Russian oil is unlikely to be reached at the European Union summit in Brussels.
European Union (EU) leaders met in Brussels for a summit on May 30-31, where they planned to reach an agreement on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia. "I don't think we will reach an agreement today," said Kallas, who hopes to reach an agreement at the next summit to be held in June.
The sixth sanctions package provides for halting purchases of Russian crude oil within six months and of Russian petroleum products by the end of the year and imposing new sanctions on Russian banks and increasing the blocklist of Russian individuals.
The EU's previous five packages of sanctions on Russia over its special military operation in Ukraine involve restricting access to capital markets, excluding Russian financial institutions from SWIFT, freezing the Russian Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves, and banning the import of Russian coal and a range of commodities.
As of early March, the 27 member states that make up the bloc have been trying to agree on the Russian oil embargo, but no decision has been made.
PM Orbán at doorstep interview ahead of ����EU summit: Energy is a serious issue, which means that first we need solutions and then sanctions. HU needs a guarantee that if an accident were to happen to the pipeline in UA, we have the right to access Russian oil from other sources. pic.twitter.com/0zpyH6eMj9— Balázs Orbán (@BalazsOrban_HU) May 30, 2022
Hungary, a country highly dependent on Russian oil with no access to seaborne oil tankers, has opposed the latest round of sanctions proposed by the EU. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have also objected to the proposal on the grounds that it would hit their economies hard.
In this regard, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week that banning Russian oil at this time is not advisable, as this would increase oil prices and Moscow would benefit by obtaining higher profits from the sale of its oil to other world markets.
For its part, Ukraine has asked EU governments to ban Russian oil and gas altogether on several occasions. Kiev claims that Moscow's war budget benefits daily from countries buying energy from Russia.