EU may offer Hungary, Slovakia exemptions from Russian oil embargo

(EurActiv, 3 May 2022) The European Commission may spare Hungary and Slovakia from an embargo on buying Russian oil, now under preparation, wary of the two countries’ dependence on Russian crude, two EU officials said on Monday (2 May).

The Commission is expected to finalise on Tuesday work on the next, and sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, which would include a ban on buying Russian oil. Exports of oil are a major source of revenue for Moscow.

Hungary, heavily dependent on Russian oil, has repeatedly said it would not sign up to sanctions involving energy. Slovakia is also among the EU countries most reliant on Russian fossil fuels.

To keep the 27-nation bloc united, the Commission might offer Slovakia and Hungary “an exemption or a long transition period”, one of the officials said.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, thanked Slovakia for its support of Kyiv, in what seems a sign of understanding of Slovakia’s position.

“Ukraine will always remember what our Slovak friends did for us. Warm welcome for Ukrainians fleeing the war, humanitarian aid, arms supplies, support for granting Ukraine EU candidate status and allowing tariff-free exports to the EU,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter. “We are lucky to have Slovakia as a neighbour.”

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EurActiv, 3 May 2022: EU may offer Hungary, Slovakia exemptions from Russian oil embargo