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This article in German.
A partial oil embargo with unclear timelines and partially opaque exceptions is all that the special EU summit led by President Charles Michel has achieved.
Top of despair!
For two months and five rounds of sanctions, the EU has been able to maintain an air of unity and determination in its response to Putin’s barbaric war of conquest. Now a compromise bordering on farce is plunging the EU into an oil crisis.
The fact that the obstructionist Viktor Orban was able to present himself as the “winner” of the summit is further disappointing in most of the EU’s 27 member states.
Once again, criticism of the EU is combined with calls for radical reforms.
The Hungarian Prime Minister, on the other hand, noted the fact that his country, which is 100% dependent on Putin’s cheap oil, is effectively liberated.
“Families can sleep peacefully tonight, we have rejected the most outrageous idea,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “We have reached an agreement whereby countries receiving oil through pipelines will be able to continue to manage their economies on the same terms.” The Czech Republic, which will also take advantage of the Druzhba pipeline exemption, also reacted positively to the decision. Its term has not yet been determined – which should especially please Moscow.
Heads of other states and governments reservedly assessed the compromise positively. EU parliamentarians, on the other hand, could hardly have a good word to say about the minimum deal, which parliamentary vice president Nicola Beer lambasted as an “oil embargo light.”
Markus Ferber, a long-term MEP for Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, said of a “shaky compromise”, in a comment to BILD: “Weeks of struggle and hesitation over the oil embargo, with the now softened result, are far from a serious attempt to destroy Russia’s military reserves of finance.”
Brussels “demonstrated to Putin, above all, one thing: disunity in the European Union.”
Ferber’s party colleague Manfred Weber sees the time for serious EU reforms. The “crippling dispute” once again showed “that we must finally abolish the principle of unanimity,” said the appointed leader of the European People’s Party. And one more thing: “People are just tired of being fooled by Viktor Orban and others.”
German Economics Minister Robert Habeck has criticized the fact that Europe’s strength and resolve have suffered as a result of the “suffocation” associated with the sixth round of sanctions. Orban played ruthlessly in his own interests, Habek said in Berlin.
Green MEP Rasmus Andresen, in a commentary for BILD, called the outcome of the summit “absolutely disappointing”: “Semi-hard sanctions send a fatal signal to Russia.” “The bogus embargo is a personal defeat for Commission President von der Leyen.”
Recall that, according to critics, the head of the commission prematurely announced the introduction of an oil embargo, without consulting sufficiently with European leaders.
The international press also reacted strongly to this decision. The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat is ironic that the German-led EU is supporting the strategy: “We should help Ukraine, but not too much. We must punish Russia, but not too much. We need to isolate Russia, but not too much.”
Unfortunately, the sketchy oil boycott fits the calculations of only one person: Kremlin ruler Putin. Bitter conclusion: “The West is too comfortable to stay on the front lines against Russia long enough for Russia to suffer. This is a power of attorney to continue the killings.”
The French Presidency of the Council of the EU has convened a special summit to discuss a common EU defense policy. At the beginning of the second day of the summit, EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell called for closer cooperation in the field of arms procurement. It would be “a colossal waste of money” if each Member State organized this separately.
At the end of the meeting, the heads of state and government planned to discuss the consequences of the war in Ukraine for food security.