The European Comission opened this Tuesday ban imports from Petroleum and Coal by Russia. Specifically, the economic vice president of the Community Executive, Valdis Dombrovskishas argued that the veto on Russian energy is “definitely a option” to respond to the “atrocities” of Moscow troops in Ukraine. However, he specified that it is necessary achieve the “consensus” between the bloc’s capitals to adopt this measure.
“As far as the European Commission is concerned, it is definitely an option, but we have to get the consensus about this between member states. The discussions are underway and will continue today,” Dombrovskis said on Tuesday after being asked about this possibility in Luxembourg.
The Latvian has made these statements before participating in the meeting of EU finance ministers (Ecofin), in which the Twenty-seven will debate how to reinforce the sanctions from the bloc to Moscow and even his Ukrainian counterpart, Sergiy Márchenko, will participate telematically.
“I don’t want to prejudge, but there are debates about what can be done in energy, like with the Petroleum and the Coal, on the business side. But the important thing in this situation is to have a strong sanctions package and credible in view of the atrocities that the Russian Army has committed in Ukraine,” he stressed.
Support of the Twenty Seven
In this context, according to information from The Wall Street Journalthe European Commission could ban imports of coal in Russianblock new exports of machinery to Russia, persecute more oligarchs Russians and members of their families, as well as trim the access of Russian freight carriers by highway and by Seaway to the European bloc.
According to the latest data from the European Commission, the EU imports 90% of the gas it consumes and Russian gas accounts for 40% of all the gas consumed in the block. Starting in mid-April, Russia will force “hostile countries” – including the EU – to pay for gas in rubles, in response to Western sanctions. On the other hand, 27% of European oil imports and 46% of coal imports come from Russia.
In relation to the sanctions, the Minister of Finance of France, Bruno LeMaireon behalf of the country that holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has underlined that the “key principle” of the sanctions is the “Unit” of the Member States, because it is what guarantees the “effectiveness and value” of retaliation. “I believe that there is a total determination of all the Member States to beef up the sanctions and that is the key point. Preserving the unity of the Twenty-seven when deciding sanctions is absolutely key,” he stressed.
In any case, the Frenchman has emphasized that his government is “open” to “extending” the European sanctions to include a veto oil and coal of Moscow, as long as it is a unanimous decision between all EU capitals.
Much more ambitious has been shown upon arrival at Ecofin the Minister of Lithuania, Gintare Skaistewho, in addition to banning Russian coal and oil, has advocated including in the new sanctions of the EU gas coming from Moscow. “We must cut off Russia’s main source of income, the energy sector. We must stop buying Russia’s oil, gas and coal”, she has expressed, before betting on taking out of SWIFT the two main Russian banks (Sberbank and Gazprombank), suspend Russia’s presence in organizations such as the IMF or the World Bank, and close ports and other routes.
The Lithuanian minister has argued that it is “possible” to say “goodbye” to the Russian fossil fuels and has encouraged the European partners who still depend on them to make plans to achieve it, as his country did since in 2014 after the Crimean war it understood that it would not be the “last step” of the Kremlin.
For its part, asked about a possible embargo on Russian coal and oil, the Dutch Sigrid Kaag pointed out that it is something that is still being negotiated, but that the position of Netherlands It is based on the fact that “all options must be on the table”. “We have to continue causing a severe impact to stop the aggression, fully restore Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has to be a response that is credible and immediate,” he remarked.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.