Russian oil, what is the agreement reached by the European Council?

The leaders’ understanding is that imports by sea alone will stop by the end of the year, two-thirds of the total, but imports by pipeline will continue in order to accommodate Hungarian demands.

A partial rather than a total embargo on Russian oil was decided by the leaders of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the first day of the European Council (which closes today, Tuesday 31 May).

An agreement was reached to include, in the sixth sanctions package against Moscow, a halt to imports of crude oil and petroleum products by ship by the end of 2022 with a temporary exception for oil supplied via pipelines.

According to Charles Michel, President of the European Council, this decision will have an impact on more than two thirds of Russian crude oil arriving in EU countries, thus cutting off a major source of funding for Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The leaders of the 27 agreed that ‘in the event of sudden supply disruptions, emergency measures will be introduced to ensure security’ of supply.

At the beginning of May, Brussels had proposed a total ban on Russian oil imported by ship and pipeline, but this measure was later toned down and circumscribed following the concerns of some governments, Hungary first and foremost.

According to data quoted by the Euractiv agency, since the conflict in Ukraine broke out, EU countries have purchased fossil fuels from Russia to the tune of some EUR 56 billion, of which EUR 30 billion for oil imports.

European Council Conclusions