The EU could still reach an agreement on an embargo on Russian oil in the coming days, or consider “other instruments” if no agreement is reached.
This was stated by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck at the G7 talks in Berlin on Thursday, writes Reuters.
The European Commission has proposed an embargo as the strictest sanction against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. But talks have so far failed to lead to a breakthrough as Hungary, Moscow’s closest EU ally, has vetoed the move.
Habek said that all EU countries should reduce their dependence on oil.
“This includes Hungary. If you take this as the basis of the discussion, then an agreement should be possible. If you include other topics in the issue of the oil embargo, it will be very, very difficult,” he said.
“I know that intense discussions are going on. In five days we will have the next EU Council, I assume that this is a corridor in which either an agreement will be reached or other instruments will have to be considered,” Habek admitted.
He did not specify what other instruments they might be.
Earlier, Brussels offered to give Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to impose an embargo than other EU members.
The EU has also offered up to 2 billion euros for oil infrastructure to help these countries transition to non-Russian supplies.
However, Hungary has said that about 750 million euros in short-term investments are needed to counter the embargo, while a complete modernization of its energy system would cost billions.