The EU countries have launched an eighth package of sanctions against Russia. On Wednesday, the permanent representatives of the member states approved, among other things, the legal requirements for a price cap for oil imports from Russia supported by the G7 countries. This was confirmed by several diplomats from the German Press Agency in Brussels. The agreement now has to be confirmed by the capitals in a written procedure. This should be done by Thursday morning.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the agreement: "We will neither accept Putin's sham referendums nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine," wrote the German politician on Twitter. One is determined to continue to ask the Kremlin to pay. Von der Leyen proposed the package in the middle of last week. Shortly thereafter, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin declared four occupied Ukrainian territories as Russian territory. This step is not recognized internationally. The EU heads of state and government also declared the decision null and void.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis considers the new sanctions weak. "The time for strong packages is over, and reading the presented documents sometimes gives the impression that there are more exceptions than sanctions," he told Lithuanian radio. "Nevertheless, it's better than nothing, than no package at all."
No more posts for EU citizens in state-owned companies
Part of the basic agreement on Wednesday are, among other things, export bans that affect certain key technologies for aviation. In addition, there should be an import ban for certain steel from Russia.
In the future, EU citizens will also be banned from holding seats on the governing bodies of Russian state-owned companies. The federal government in particular had campaigned for this after ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) had been head of the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft for a long time. In addition, there are punitive measures against people who helped to hold sham referendums in the areas of Ukraine that have now been annexed by Russia. They are subject to entry bans and asset freezes.
With the new package of sanctions, the EU states are also creating the basis for Russia having to sell oil at a significantly lower price in the future than it is currently. The G7 group of economically strong democracies had already agreed on this procedure at the beginning of September. According to this, the sea transport of petroleum products and crude oil from Russia should only be possible worldwide if the oil was bought below a certain price. There is no concrete limit for this so far. This could work by tying important services, such as insurance for oil shipments, to compliance with the rule.
Hungary sees its interests protected
This is intended to reduce Moscow's income, which is also used to finance the war against Ukraine. The G7 includes the three EU countries Germany, France and Italy. The EU itself has already decided that from December 5 no more Russian crude oil may be imported into the European Union by sea.
Above all, it was unclear whether Hungary would agree to the new sanctions. Prime Minister Viktor Orban had recently repeatedly railed against the punitive measures that had already been decided, even though his government supported the decisions - some with exceptions for his own country. According to a government spokesman, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the new sanctions would not harm Hungary's interests. There are exceptions for all those punitive measures that affect the security of Hungary's energy supply, for example. On the other hand, countries like Cyprus and Greece were concerned because they have large tanker fleets that transport oil.