European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a speech during a plenary session of the European Parliament on March 23, 2022 at the EU headquarters in Brussels.
John Thais | AFP | Getty Images
DAVOS, Switzerland – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told CNBC on Tuesday that she hopes an agreement on approving Russian oil will be reached in the coming days.
Countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have blocked the measure, while 27 EU countries have been stuck for weeks with oil sanctions on Russia. Any sanctions imposed by the EU must be approved by 27 member states.
“I hope we are talking about the day. So what we are seeing is one or two member states that are landlocked, so oil cannot be found by sea and alternatives are needed in pipelines and refineries, and there we are trying to find a solution,” said Von on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. Der Leyen said.
“We are working very hard on the oil embargo,” he added.
The EU decided last month to suspend Russian coal imports, but the imposition of sanctions on oil has proved more complicated. Countries that are heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuels are concerned about the impact of such measures on their own economies.
Hungary, for example, is reportedly seeking between 15 billion and 18 billion euros ($ 16 billion to $ 19 billion) in financial aid to move away from Russian power.
The standoff over oil also raises the question of whether the bloc will be able to end Russia’s purchase of natural gas, the main fossil fuel that the EU buys from Russia.
The issue of energy security has been a concern for some European politicians for some time, but it has attracted even more attention since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on the main stage of the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Von der Leyen said there was no doubt that “we are witnessing how Russia is arming its power supply.”
The Kremlin claims that “friendly countries,” such as the EU, pay for Russian gas in rubles. Poland and Bulgaria – two EU countries – cut off Russian gas supplies earlier this year after refusing to pay for the product using Russian currency.