EU can’t ban Russian aluminum – Politico

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The sanctioned country is reportedly still responsible for 9% of the bloc’s imports of the metal

The EU is unlikely to introduce a complete ban on imports of aluminum from Russia as part of its upcoming sanctions package marking two years since the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Politico reported on Monday, citing diplomats.

Brussels is expected to avoid the drastic step despite intense pressure from local aluminum producers, which are being strongly supported by Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland, Politico wrote. The proposal would likely face opposition from industrial nations, such as Italy, which are resisting such a ban due to fears that it would drive up prices for the vital industrial commodity, according to the outlet.

Aluminum ingots from Russia still account for 9% of EU imports and 5% of its total consumption, according to the European Aluminum Association. In monetary term, the imports amounted to €2.3 billion in 2022.

The bloc’s industrial consumers also oppose such a move, claiming that a ban would be “a kind of economic tactical nuclear bomb,” Politico wrote. In December, the Federation of Aluminum Consumers in Europe, arguing on behalf of the manufacturing industries in Italy, Germany and other countries, said that “sanctions should not be weaponized.”

Reuters recently reported, citing EU diplomats, that the European Commission wouldn’t add any new import bans in its next package of sanctions on Russia in the hopes of “causing minimal debate” among member states so as to pass it as quickly as possible.

The new punitive measures, which are expected to be agreed by February 24, will reportedly target 200 entities and individuals but will not include any “big names.” The European Commission reportedly discussed the package over the past weekend with the aim of finalizing the proposals.

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