Brussels wants to reduce imports in the next six months and be independent of Moscow crude by the end of the year
The European Union has taken an important step on the way to hitting the Russian economy this Wednesday with the total embargo on oil from Moscow. This measure will be included in the Community Executive’s proposal for the sixth package of sanctions against the country, as announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, before the European Parliament. For its approval, the package of sanctions must receive the approval of the Member States and overcome the total refusal of Hungary to adopt more energy punishments.
“We will reduce crude oil imports for the next six months to be independent from Russia at the end of the year,” Von der Leyen detailed. The objective is none other than to cut off the financing of the Russian Army and economically damage the Kremlin: “Putin must pay a very high price for his aggression,” insisted the president of the European Executive.
It will not be an easy process, due to Europe’s great dependence on energy and, especially, that of some Member States that import a large part of their oil from Russia. For this reason, the EU has set itself a reasonable period “to search for alternative suppliers and reduce the impact on European economies”.
The sixth battery of sanctions will also disconnect the Russian bank Sberbank from the SWIFT international payment system, which accounts for about 37% of the volume of the country’s banking sector. In addition, Europe will stop providing Russia and its companies with consulting services and the broadcasting (by airwaves, applications or internet) of three radio stations “that only broadcast Kremlin propaganda” will be prohibited.
The EU includes among the punishments measures against senior military commanders responsible for “the atrocities in towns such as Bucha or Mariúpol. We know who you are and you are going to be held accountable,” said Von der Leyen.
help to rebuild
In parallel, the EU wants to strengthen the position of Ukraine and help in the reconstruction of the country. According to IMF calculations, the region’s GDP will fall by around 40% this year, so kyiv will need about 5,000 million euros to continue operating and pay salaries and pensions. “In the heat of war it is difficult to quantify the damage, but it will take tens of billions of euros to rebuild Ukraine,” estimates Von der Leyen.
Europe is not alone in this endeavor and applauds US support for kyiv. The next step for Brussels is to create a recovery package for the country, attracting investments that underpin long-term growth. It will be a system of measurable milestones, so that European money reaches the Ukrainians and that it will be spent ‘based on our rules, avoiding corruption and preparing the ground for the future’.
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