Three EU countries questioned the effectiveness of the oil transportation ban

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As part of a new package of sanctions, the EU is considering the possibility of banning European vessels from providing services for the transportation of Russian oil. Greece, Cyprus and Malta opposed this restriction

Greece, Malta and Cyprus questioned the need to ban oil transportation between third countries, Bloomberg reports citing two diplomats.

According to these countries, such a measure will help European competitors. In the economy of Greece and Cyprus, the shipping industry is one of the largest, Maltage allows companies to register their ships with them and sail under its flag, Bloomberg notes.

On May 4, the head of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the European Union, as part of the sixth package of sanctions, plans to ban the import of all Russian oil— raw and purified. The EU plans to abandon the supply of crude oil within six months, and from petroleum products— by the end of this year, the head of the EC pointed out.

The EU is also considering a ban on European courts and companies to provide services for the transportation of Russian oil, including insurance. According to Bloomberg and Reuters sources, the EU wants this part of the sanctions package to come into force in a month, in early June. It was this ban that Greece, Cyprus and Malta opposed.

A Reuters source said on May 4 that EU members have yet to agree on an oil embargo. Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which are heavily dependent on supplies from Russia, expressed concerns about oil restrictions.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó has publicly stated that Budapest will not support the new package of sanctions “in its current form.” According to him, Hungary wants the ban not to apply to the import of crude oil through pipelines.

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The European Union, according to another Reuters source, may allow Hungary and Slovakia to continue buying Russian crude oil under existing contracts until the end of 2023. The Swiss newspaper Le Matin, citing unnamed European diplomats, pointed out that Bulgaria and the Czech Republic would like to receive similar indulgences.

Moscow noted that the embargo on oil imports— it is a solution that will “hit everyone”. According to the Kremlin, the ban will negatively affect the energy balances of the continent and entail changes in the global oil market.

The EU will make a final decision on the oil embargo no later than May 9, Bloomberg sources indicated.

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