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EU's Coreper fails to agree on light version of oil embargo against Russian -- source

The Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union, or Coreper, has failed to reach a compromise on a light version of the oil embargo against Russia, a source in the EU institutions in Brussels said on Sunday after Coreper's extraordinary meeting ahead of an EU summit.

The source also gave to understand that the summit is unlikely to adopt a decision on the oil embargo, which is part of the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions.

"Today, Coreper held a meeting to discuss the issue of the ban on [Russian] oil supplies. We will have to consider extra details at another meeting on Monday," the source said. "I can say that all the countries are determined to restrict Russian oil supplies but we need extra coordination."

He expressed the hope that if the EU leaders fail to reach an agreement of the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions at the summit on May 30-31, the summit will at least create "a positive dynamic" in this direction. "Anyway, another EU summit will be organized in late June," he added.

The source also confirmed that the European Commission has agreed with Hungary's demand to postpone the ban on oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline. Now, the EU is discussing only restrictions on oil supplies by sea.

"There are countries that are 100% dependent on Russian oil (for instance, Hungary - TASS) and such a ban is a delicate process. We need to agree how oil will be supplied via other EU countries. It will take days and even weeks," the source noted. "If we manage to restrict oil supplies by sea, it will make it possible to reduce supplies of Russia oil to EU countries by two thirds."

EU countries have been trying to reach a compromise on the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions for more than three weeks. The package is supposed to include the oil embargo. On May 4, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the sixth package of sanctions was to be endorsed within days. The European Commission suggested a ban be imposed on import of crude oil from Russia in six months after the enforcement of the sixth package and ban on import of oil products - in 2023. Apart from that, von der Leyen called for banning the transportation of Russian oil by European tankers.

Hungary, Slovakia and a number of other countries raised objections against this plan, saying that these measures would deliver a blow on their economies and in the long run would be even beneficial for Russia as they would lead to a growth in oil prices while Russia would export its oil to Asia and other regions.

[Source: Tass, Brussels, 29May22]

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