EU edges towards Russian coal ban

EU edges towards Russian coal ban

April 6, 2022

EU edges towards Russian coal ban as it emerges countries in the bloc are still giving Vladimir Putin a billion euros A DAY for oil and gas

  • EU foreign minister Josep Borrell said it was unable to ban Russian gas imports
  • He said some members were so dependent on it they were refusing to budge
  • Mr Borrell said EU energy payments were effectively ‘financing war’ in Ukraine 
  • Came as European Commission brought forward proposals to ban Russian oil 

EU countries are handing Vladimir Putin a billion euros a day for oil and gas – as the bloc moved a step closer to banning Russian coal.

EU foreign minister Josep Borrell said it was unable to ban Russian gas imports because some member states were so dependent on it that they were refusing to budge, despite widespread revulsion at Putin’s aggression.

Mr Borrell acknowledged that EU energy payments were effectively ‘financing the war’ in Ukraine. 

He said sanctions had to be extended to energy if they were to have any impact on Putin’s war machine, but said this could not be done ‘overnight’.

EU foreign minister Josep Borrell (pictured) said it was unable to ban Russian gas imports because some member states were so dependent on it that they were refusing to budge

The revelation of the scale of spending on oil came as the European Commission brought forward proposals to ban Russian coal.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the ban on coal imports would be worth 4 billion euros (£3.3billion) a year.

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki called on the EU to do more, saying it had to ‘sever all trade relations with Russia without delay’. 

So far, Europe has not been willing to target Russian energy over fears that it would plunge the European economy into recession but the recent reports of civilian killings have increased pressure for tougher EU sanctions.

The US and the UK previously announced they were cutting off Russian oil, Poland said it plans to block imports of coal and oil from Russia, while Lithuania said it is no longer using Russian natural gas.

‘To take a clear stand is not only crucial for us in Europe but also for the rest of the world,’ Miss von der Leyen said.

‘A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. A clear stand against the massacre of civilians. And a clear stand against the violation of the fundamental principles of the world order.’

Other measures proposed by the EU’s executive arm include sanctions on more individuals and four key Russian banks, including the second-largest, VTB, which is already sanctioned by the UK.

‘These four banks, which we now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23 per cent of market share in the Russian banking sector,’

Miss von der Leyen said: ‘This will further weaken Russia’s financial system.’

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the ban on coal imports would be worth 4 billion euros (£3.3billion) a year

If the proposal is adopted unanimously by all 27 EU countries, the new package of sanctions would also ban Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from EU ports, with exceptions for ‘essentials’ such as agricultural and food products, and humanitarian aid and energy.

Further targeted export bans worth 10 billion euros (£8.3 billion) have been proposed in sectors covering quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment.

Mr Morawiecki, who held talks in Warsaw with Liz Truss yesterday, said emerging evidence of a massacre of civilians by Russian troops in the town of Bucha amounted to ‘acts of genocide’.

He added: ‘The EU must confiscate all Russian assets in its western banks as well as those of Russian oligarchs. It must sever all trade relations with Russia without delay. European money must stop flowing to the Kremlin. Putin’s criminal and increasingly totalitarian regime needs to have one thing imposed on it: sanctions which actually work’.

Miss Truss said sanctions were already having a ‘crippling impact’ – but acknowledged the West needs to go further. 

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