The EU countries are expected to continue negotiations on a sixth package of sanctions for Russia on Friday. They have sent the European Commission back to the draft table to amend a number of proposals. According to EU sources, many countries criticize, and not only the proposed total boycott of crude oil within six months and of refined oil before the end of the year.
The Commission has offered that the heavily oil-dependent countries Hungary and Slovakia could take a year longer to impose an oil import ban, but the two countries consider that insufficient.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have also asked for a postponement of the planned import ban. Cyprus, Greece and Malta are also struggling. They believe that the planned ban on the transport of Russian oil will affect their shipping companies unilaterally.
According to news agency DPA, Germany wants tougher measures to be taken against Russia’s largest bank. Now the sanction proposal does not go beyond depriving Sberbank of access to the international payment service SWIFT. Berlin would want a total ban on doing business with the bank, and freeze funds in the EU. The German government also wants to limit civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia.
There is also something to be done about the three major Russian tv channels that the commission wants to ban from the EU. According to EU sources, the Netherlands, among others, is demanding that it be made sharper that these are Russian propaganda channels, in order to prevent the accusation that the EU restricts press freedom.
The 27 countries must unanimously agree to the new sanctions package.