Slovak Energy Minister Karol Galek has warned that his country will not be able to agree to the European Commission’s current plan to ban imports of Russian oil and called for more time to find sources alternative fuel supply.
Speaking to POLITICO, he said Slovakia was not opposed to sanctions and wanted to agree to measures to put pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime. But the Commission’s proposal to give Slovakia and Hungary an extra year to adjust to the oil embargo is not enough, he said.
According to the Commission’s proposals, the EU will sanction Russian oil, banning crude imports within six months and refined products by the end of the year. A special exemption has been drafted for landlocked Slovakia and Hungary, giving them until the end of 2023 to comply, as they are so dependent on Russian oil.
“It’s unfortunately not enough,” Galek said. “We wait at least three years.”
A key refinery requires Russian heavy oil and alternative supplies will not be viable under the proposed schedule, he said.
By the end of 2025, the abandonment of Russian oil should be possible: “This is the time when we can make the pipeline more solid. And change technology. But even that deadline would be tight, he said.
Galek pointed out that the current proposal would harm not only the energy supply of Slovakia, but also of Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. “It will destroy our European economy,” he said.
EU countries are currently discussing the Commission’s plan for a sixth sanctions package against Russia. Hungary has already made reservations. The plan needs unanimous agreement to move forward.