EU states get extra time to reduce reliance on Russian energy – media

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Brussels is expected to grant Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic an exemption from its oil ban

The European Union has reportedly proposed a revision to the latest Russia oil embargo that is expected to give several member states extra time to comply with the ban.

The measure will grant Hungary and Slovakia an extra year, until the end of 2024, to phase out oil imports from Russia, people familiar with the matter said, as quoted by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic will reportedly get an exemption until June 2024.

All other member states are expected to eliminate their oil purchases from Russia by the end of the current year as originally proposed. Under the plan, European businesses and individuals would be banned from providing vessels and services needed to transfer Russian oil to third countries.

According to the revision, the measure would kick in within three months of the new sanctions being adopted, up from one month, Bloomberg sources say.

Earlier on Friday, EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said the bloc’s embargo will come into force within nine months, depending on the different petroleum products.

“I think we will find a common path to get there gradually over the next few months. We must not hide that this decision will have an impact on our economies, but the impact on the Russian economy will be much greater,” Gentiloni said, as quoted by Il Messaggero newspaper.

He added that implementing the measure in a shorter time could have consequences for international oil prices.

The original plan was adamantly opposed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who said the oil ban was tantamount to a “nuclear bomb” being dropped on his country’s economy. Orban also called for a five-year exemption for his country.

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