French EU Minister Clement Beaune said he believes the bloc will target Russian oil and coal imports within days as countries work on a new sanctions package against Vladimir Putin’s regime .
EU ambassadors are expected to agree to a fresh round of sanctions as early as Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether German-led countries will agree to a plan to target oil, after resisting an energy embargo Russian in recent weeks.
“Oil and coal are subjects that are under discussion,” Beaune told RFI radio on Tuesday. “I cannot prejudge because it is necessary [all] 27 [countries] have an impact, but I think we can have sanctions quickly on these two sectors.” Important decisions will be taken in “the next few days”, he said.
Beaune also said that targeting oil imports would hurt Russia a lot because “it brings in even more foreign currency in total than gas. Hitting oil, if I may say so, is very important.”
Referring to the European Commission’s project to withdraw from Russian gas, the French minister declared that “if in the long term we are able to do without [Russian gas]we keep the autonomy and we put a lot more pressure on Russia.”
Beaune added that other smaller sectors such as cement, timber and fertilizers could also be part of the next sanctions package. The sanctions currently being prepared concern “sectors that are sometimes less known than energy but which are very important for imports, exports or the Russian currency: I am thinking of wood, cement and the fertilizer sector”, he added. He specifies.
Beaune’s remarks came a day after French President Emmanuel Macron called for more sanctions targeting Russian energy, particularly coal and oil.
The EU spends tens of billions of euros to import around a third of its oil from Russia and a ban would directly affect President Vladimir Putin’s ability to finance his war. At the same time, such a policy poses a short-term threat to EU economies which, like Germany, are heavily dependent on Russia for their energy.
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