The European Union’s top official called on the 27-nation bloc to ban oil imports from Russia in a sixth package of sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Daniel Schade, visiting assistant professor of government at Cornell University, studies the politics of the European Union. He says that the EU’s decision to phase out and sanction Russian oil supplies is an important step made possible by creative intra-European diplomacy.
“In making the Russian gas ban possible, European leaders had to show immense creativity to develop a strong sanctions package – all while bridging hugely different economic and political preferences between them.
“While many EU countries and Ukraine would surely have preferred a more immediate end to Russian oil exports, the gradual approach now taken was the only way to get the entire bloc on board.
“With its sixth package of sanctions the EU is significantly increasing its pressure on Russia in the most sensitive economic area for both Russia and European countries yet.
“The EU’s ability to agree on such an oil ban was still very much in doubt only a few weeks ago given opposition from countries particularly dependent on Russian oil supplies. It was only the fact that key countries like Germany were able to diversify their oil supplies more quickly than anticipated which enabled the EU to take this important step at the present time.”