After weeks of wrangling over a possible boycott of Russian oil imports, it appears that a special EU summit will not lead to an agreement either. Upon reaching the top, EU leaders were pessimistic about the so-called embargo, designed to hit the Russians in the wallet.
Negotiations at the European level have been going on for weeks to end Russian oil imports. But whether they are EU leaders or ambassadors behind the scenes, they can’t tell.
The sleeper has been the same throughout the ages: Hungary. The country is highly dependent on Russian oil and therefore wants guarantees and exemptions so that it is not harmed by the boycott.
Brussels has already made several proposals that would ease the weight of a possible boycott of Hungary. At the summit, a proposal is on the table to ban the import of Russian oil by sea from the beginning of next year. Nothing is mentioned about oil imports via pipelines – which is sacred to Hungary.
Rutte does not want Dutch companies to be bigger than the competition
So while much is being done to win over the Hungarians, Orbán has also expressed skepticism about the new proposal. He would like to make sure Hungary can still get oil if the pipeline is suddenly shut down.
The proposal has also been criticized from unexpected quarters. Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasized upon his arrival at the summit that the Netherlands also had interests. He wants to prevent that ports will no longer be able to get Russian oil, while other countries still use Russian pipeline oil. Roth: “We don’t say: we do it well and then others can compete unfairly with Dutch companies.”
So it is doubtful whether differences between EU countries will lead to an agreement this week. “I think it will work out in the end,” says Ruti. “Maybe today or tomorrow. But we can’t say for sure if we’ll go out.” The next European summit is not scheduled until the end of June.
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