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The EU again failed to reach an agreement on a plan to phase out Russian oil, leaving a narrow window to strike a deal ahead of a special European Council summit in Brussels on Monday evening and underscoring the challenge of reaching a energy consensus sanctions.
A European Commission plan to wean off Russian oil has been suspended for about a month, mainly due to objections from Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, who has insisted on more time and money to upgrade the oil infrastructure of his landlocked country.
Because there is sympathy for Hungary and other countries that remain dependent on imports from Russia, holdouts have been offered extensions and exemptions – to no avail.
The latest proposal, for example, would ban deliveries by sea within months, but exempt pipeline deliveries for now, which would keep oil flowing from Russia to several EU countries, including Hungary. But that was not enough to get Orban on board, according to EU officials and diplomats.
Some European diplomats say Orban’s opposition goes beyond the oil issue, suggesting the Hungarian leader – who is a regular EU spoiler – is using the situation to punish those responsible for withholding oil money. economic recovery due to violations of the rule of law.
Ambassadors to the EU will discuss the matter on Monday morning. If they fail to reach a consensus, European leaders will resume the conversation at the summit dinner on Monday evening.