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Europe considers ban on Russian oil by end of year

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The European Union wants to ban Russian oil by year’s end, but one of its own is standing in the way. Hungary’s government has said it is ready to veto any E.U. proposal to sanction Russian oil over the war against Ukraine, citing the damage a ban would do to its own economy.

Hungary has been one of the most vocal nations in the bloc against energy sanctions, greatly benefiting from and depending on Russia’s cheap supply. It’s also reportedly one of the few countries to cave to Russia’s new demand to pay for gas in rubles.

Last week Russia cut off exports to Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to switch to the Russian currency, which they say would violate E.U. sanctions. Russia’s European customers regularly pay for oil in euros and dollars.

At the time, E.U. leaders called Russia’s move “blackmail”, and it has fueled the bloc’s desire to stop relying on Russian energy. Even Germany, who got more than half of its natural gas from Russia last year, is ready to go without Russian energy.

“Of course, it is a heavy load to bear, but we would be ready to do that,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. “It would help if we had some weeks or months, more time to do all the preparations, meaning technical preparations…so time is helpful, but I think other countries have bigger problems.”

Since E.U. sanctions must be unanimous, European leaders who desire to cut off Russian energy by end of year face an uphill battle without carving out serious concessions for countries like Hungary.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: THE EUROPEAN UNION WANTS TO BAN RUSSIAN OIL BY YEAR’S END, BUT ONE OF ITS OWN IS STANDING IN THE WAY.

HUNGARY’S GOVERNMENT SAYS THEY’RE READY TO VETO ANY E-U PROPOSAL TO SANCTION RUSSIAN OIL OVER THE WAR ON UKRAINE. THE PRIME MINISTER SAYS IT’S A ‘RED LINE,’ AND CROSSING IT WOULD DO TOO MUCH DAMAGE TO HUNGARY’S ECONOMY.

HUNGARY’S BEEN ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL AGAINST ENERGY SANCTIONS, GREATLY BENEFITING FROM AND DEPENDING ON RUSSIA’S CHEAP SUPPLY. IT’S ALSO ONE OF THE FEW COUNTRIES TO CAVE TO RUSSIA’S NEW DEMAND TO PAY FOR GAS IN RUBLES.

LAST WEEK, RUSSIA CUT OFF EXPORTS TO POLAND AND BULGARIA OVER THEIR REFUSAL TO SWITCH TO THE RUSSIAN CURRENCY, WHICH THEY SAY WOULD VIOLATE SANCTIONS.

AT THE TIME, E-U LEADERS CALLED RUSSIA’S MOVE ‘BLACKMAIL.’ AND IT’S FUELED THE BLOC’S DESIRE TO STOP RELYING ON RUSSIAN ENERGY.

EVEN GERMANY – WHO GOT MORE THAN HALF OF ITS NATURAL GAS FROM RUSSIA LAST YEAR – IS READY TO GO WITHOUT.

ROBERT HABECK, GERMANY ECONOMY MINISTER: Of course, it is a heavy load to bear, but we would be ready to do that.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: BUT SINCE E-U SANCTIONS MUST BE UNANIMOUS – IT’S HARD TO SEE A PATH FORWARD CUTTING OFF RUSSIAN ENERGY BY END OF YEAR WITHOUT SERIOUS CONCESSIONS FOR COUNTRIES LIKE HUNGARY.

IN NEW YORK FOR JUST BUSINESS I’M SIMONE DEL ROSARIO.

The European Union wants to ban Russian oil by year’s end, but one of its own is standing in the way. Hungary’s government has said it is ready to veto any E.U. proposal to sanction Russian oil over the war against Ukraine, citing the damage a ban would do to its own economy.

Hungary has been one of the most vocal nations in the bloc against energy sanctions, greatly benefiting from and depending on Russia’s cheap supply. It’s also reportedly one of the few countries to cave to Russia’s new demand to pay for gas in rubles.

Last week Russia cut off exports to Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to switch to the Russian currency, which they say would violate E.U. sanctions. Russia’s European customers regularly pay for oil in euros and dollars.

At the time, E.U. leaders called Russia’s move “blackmail”, and it has fueled the bloc’s desire to stop relying on Russian energy. Even Germany, who got more than half of its natural gas from Russia last year, is ready to go without Russian energy.

“Of course, it is a heavy load to bear, but we would be ready to do that,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. “It would help if we had some weeks or months, more time to do all the preparations, meaning technical preparations…so time is helpful, but I think other countries have bigger problems.”

Since E.U. sanctions must be unanimous, European leaders who desire to cut off Russian energy by end of year face an uphill battle without carving out serious concessions for countries like Hungary.

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