The EU's ban on Russian oil was vetoed by Hungary, and the foreign ministers collectively put pressure on it
2022-05-16: [Article Link]
Reuters reported on 16 May that the Foreign Ministers of the EU member States had tried on Monday to put pressure on Hungary to lift its veto on the Russian oil embargo proposal, and Lithuania had stated that the EU was being held hostage by “one member State”.
The oil embargo agreement proposed by the European Commission in early May was reported to be the most severe sanction since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine war.
Germany, the largest economy in the EU and the main buyer of Russian energy, indicated that it wished to reach an agreement to authorize the oil embargo, stating that it could last for several years. According to the German Foreign Ministry, Changana Lena Berbek, “I am confident that we will reach an agreement in the coming days, and we need to be fully prepared, because it needs to be sustained. But Moscow’s closest ally in the EU, Hungary, has indicated that it wants hundreds of millions of euros from the EU to reduce the cost of abandoning Russian crude oil. It is known that the EU needs all 27 countries to agree to the embargo in order to continue the agreement.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Gabriel Lantsbergs, stated that “the EU as a whole has been held hostage by one member State... We must agree that we cannot be held hostage”.
It was reported that the United States and British had imposed an oil embargo on Russia, which was considered to be the best way to reduce Russian revenues from the war in Ukraine, following five earlier rounds of sanctions imposed by the European Union. Diplomats noted that the EU Special Summit, to be held from 30 to 31 May, was the time to agree on a phased ban on Russian oil, which could take more than six months, and that transition periods for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic might be longer.