Austrian Foreign Minister Karl Nehammer assured this Tuesday that the Russian “gas embargo” will not be considered in the next package of European sanctions against Moscow, after the heads of state and government of the EU agreed to a partial veto on oil.
“Yesterday it became clear and I reiterate it again today. The gas embargo will not be an issue. (German Chancellor) Olaf Scholz has also made it clear. Gas behaves very differently in the matter of security of supply” , said Nehammer upon his arrival at the second day of the summit that is being held today in Brussels.
The Austrian chancellor said that “oil can be offset more easily when Russian oil is given up. (…) That is why the gas embargo will not be an issue in the next sanctions package.”
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas spoke in the same vein on Tuesday upon arrival at the meeting.
“Gas is much more difficult than oil has been. The next sanctions will be more difficult (to agree) because so far only the Russians have been harmed” while in the future the measures will also have an impact on the Europeans he explained.
“I think the gas has to be in the seventh package, but I’m also a realist and I don’t think it is,” Kallas acknowledged.
European leaders agreed yesterday to veto imports of crude oil they receive from Russia by sea at the end of the year, allowing Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to continue buying the oil they receive through the Druzhba pipeline from Moscow, as demanded by the first Hungarian minister, Viktor Orán.
In addition, Germany and Poland have promised to stop crude oil imports through the northern branch of this same pipeline, which transports some 25 million tons.
The heads of state and government have decided to include “as soon as possible” the veto on Russian crude that the EU receives through the pipeline, although without a specific date to achieve it
“The oil embargo, we have to be realistic, will give us headaches, but those headaches are not comparable to those of Ukrainian civil society,” Nehammer said.