EU fails to agree on Russian oil ban as leaders gather for summit

EU countries failed to agree on a Russian oil import ban despite last-minute haggling before a summit got under way in Brussels on Monday, exposing a struggle to widen sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine as the economic risk for Europe grows, Reuters reports.

The leaders of the 27 European Union countries will agree in principle to an oil embargo, a draft of their summit conclusions showed, but they will leave the practical details and hard decisions until later.

The EU has rolled out five packages of sanctions against Russia since the conflict began more than three months ago, demonstrating uncharacteristic speed and unity given the complexity of the measures.

But an agreement on oil sanctions has proved elusive for weeks because so many countries depend on Russian crude.

“There is no compromise for this moment at all,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country has been the main holdout for a deal, as he arrived for the two-day summit.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who proposed the latest package of sanctions at the start of May, agreed: “We’re not there yet.”

There is broad agreement on the rest of the package, including cutting Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT messaging system, banning Russian broadcasters from the EU and adding people to a list whose assets are frozen.

But a senior European Commission official said the whole package, including oil, should be approved in one go.

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