The European Union (EU) has failed to reach a consensus for a complete embargo or punitive tariff on Russian oil and gas imports revealed the trading bloc’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell.
Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt, he said: “At the moment, we in the EU do not have a unified position on this question.”
The European Commission has drafted legislation to phase out Russian oil as part of a sixth package of sanctions – but the move has split the bloc with the continent still reliant on the Kremlin for around a quarter of its supplies.
Germany and Netherlands both announced last week plans to phase out Russian oil supplies by the end of the year, however other countries such as Austria and Hungary remain committed to buying Kremlin-backed fossil fuels.
Earlier this month, the EU unveiled plans to ban Russian coal, following measures targeting the country’s central bank and financial institutions.
However, it has so far stopped short of the UK and the US in restricting Russian oil imports.
Borrell revealed the topic will be discussed at the next EU summit at the end of May, and that he did not expect any decision on the matter before then.
Meanwhile, the European Commission’s executive vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis told The Times that the EU is preparing for “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports
He said: “We are working on a sixth sanctions package and one of the issues we are considering is some form of an oil embargo. When we are imposing sanctions, we need to do so in a way that maximises pressure on Russia while minimising collateral damage on ourselves.
This means oil sanctions could include a gradual phasing-out of Russian oil or imposing tariffs on exports beyond a certain price cap, the newspaper reported.