The European Commission could leave out Slovakia and Hungary from the planned embargo on Russian oil. Both EU member states are heavily dependent on its import. The news was reported by Reuters and the weekly Politico based on unnamed diplomatic officials.
Both media outlets reported that the commission will complete preparations for the newest sixth package of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday by the latest.
The following day a COREPER meeting will take place in Brussels during which ambassadors of the member states are to evaluate the new package in regard to their national interests.
Another package of sanctions
The new sanctions are to include a gradual ban on the purchase of Russian oil by the end of 2022. Oil exports are the main source of revenue for Moscow and used to finance the war in Ukraine.
According to diplomats cited by Reuters, Slovakia and Hungary could be offered an exemption or longer transition period.
Both member states are heavily dependent on Russian oil imports and have difficulty finding alternative supplies.
Hungary has repeatedly indicated that it will not agree with sanctions on energy. A compromise would therefore help the European Union avoid the possibility of a veto when voting on sanctions and maintain the unity of all member states.
Dependence on gas as well
The latest survey in Slovakia showed that as many as 62 percent of residents do not agree with disconnecting from Russian gas and oil if the consequence would be higher energy prices.
The country is dependent on Russian gas and there is a chance it could be completely cut off from supplies around May 20 when Russian gas giant Gazprom is scheduled to receive payment for the next invoice if it is not paid in rubles. Gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria have already been halted. At the moment, tanks are 22 percent full, which should be enough to last until autumn.
The most likely short-term alternative is the import of liquefied gas.