Charles Michel expects an agreement on the Russian oil embargo before the EU summit next Monday | abroad

European Council President Charles Michel said he is confident that the European Union will be able to reach an agreement on the embargo on Russian oil and petroleum products before the start of the European summit, next Monday and Tuesday.

Michel spoke during a press conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. On Tuesday, things still looked bad for an agreement on an import ban as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban suggested removing the topic from the summit agenda. In a letter to Michel, he said his country was still not ready to agree to the ban.

We need a lot of dialogue and a lot of political effort, but it is very important to have a mutual understanding of the legitimate concerns of countries like Hungary,” Michel said in Stockholm on Wednesday. He did not say in many words that the sixth package of sanctions proposed by the Commission would be discussed at the summit, but said that the European Council “would be an important political moment to show our unity”.

Urban

In his letter to Michel, Orban also expressed his disappointment with REPowerEU, the plan under which the Commission wants to make the European Union completely independent from the import of Russian fossil fuels by 2027. According to the Hungarian prime minister, who began a fifth term this week, the plan does not include compensation Sufficient for countries with fewer options.

According to Orban, discussing the oil embargo at the summit without prior consensus would be counterproductive. Our internal divisions will be exposed, with no realistic chance of solving our problems. That is why I propose not to touch on this topic at the next European Council.”

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Commission Chairperson Ursula von der Leyen responded that the summit was by no means the right place to discuss the oil embargo, as it was a very technical issue. She points out that, for example, pipelines must be built and refineries diverted. The Von der Leyen commission proposed a boycott of oil three weeks ago, but met stiff resistance from a number of member states.

Versailles

But according to Charles Michel, there is indeed hope. We know it is important to end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels. We made that decision in Versailles (at the unofficial summit there in March, editor), but we all know the transition is tough.”

According to Viktor Urban, the sixth package of sanctions goes far beyond what was agreed upon at Versailles.

Denton Watson

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