Russian oil ban not enough to stop them funding war says expert
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As the bloc scrambles to scupper energy ties with Russia to cripple its war efforts in Ukraine, it has been hard to come to a consensus among all 27 members of the bloc. While its REPowerEU energy strategy details how it can slash oil and gas imports by two thirds by 2027, the EU has yet to slap down a ban on gas or oil. This is despite the fact the bloc is still handing Putin billions for energy imports even while he continues to unleash havoc on Ukraine.
But opposition from Hungary has been hamstringing an oil embargo from taking effect, despite a ban being proposed in a sixth package by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Now, Spanish MEP Luis Garicano has put a plan forward to punish Moscow.
He claims his plan is more effective than wasting time mulling over tactics to try and get Hungarian President Viktor Orban on board.
Mr Garicano slammed the EU in an op-ed for Politico entitled “Putting an end to Europe’s hide-and-seek: the oil tariff”, arguing that the bloc is “prolonging Putin’s war”.
He wrote: ”The EU has sent over €50billion (£43billion) to Russia ever since the war broke out (and only €12bn to Ukraine).
“This is the problem, but it is also part of the solution.
“Russia is completely wired to Europe. Much of its gas exports come by pipeline, and so does a third of its oil. Without European buyers, Putin cannot finance his war.”
The Spanish MEP, who is also an economist, said that it is a better idea to impose tariffs on Russian oil.
He wrote: “There is an alternative… an alternative that can be adopted by a simple majority of member states”.
He said that “imposing a tariff on Russian oil is perfectly legal” as it can be done via the bloc’s trade policy.
He explained that tariffs are “when one country imports a product, that product can be slapped with a levy – a tariff – upon entry.
“It acts as a source of revenue for the importing country which, in the case of the EU, flows into our common coffers.”
Mr Garicano claimed that slapping tariffs down on Russian oil would cause “substantial damage” to the Russian economy.
He said: “The Russians are currently taking discounts of 35 percent or so to sell their oil to China and India, which indicates that a tariff below that level would largely be paid by the Russians.
“Thus, a 30 percent tariff would mean the EU economy would take a small hit, but Russia’s would suffer very substantial damage.”
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Yuriy Vitrenko, CEO of Ukraine’s state-owned gas giant Naftogaz, agrees that the bloc needs to come up with a different tactic.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, he unleashed fury at the EU, arguing that “it can be smarter by making some quick decisions now with some possible exemptions instead of delaying any decisions”.
Mr Vitrenko put forward his own proposal.
He told Express.co.uk: “Hungary is saying that it is dependent on pipeline imports of Russian oil.
“Just make an exemption for pipeline imports of oil and sanction all the other oil.
“Pipeline oil is from 20 to 30 percent of exports so this would immediately sanction 70 percent.
“But instead, the EU has been discussing a total ban for months and there is still no embargo.”
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