European Union diplomats on Monday met for a last-ditch attempt to agree on Russian oil import sanctions before their leaders meeting which will take place soon.
The diplomats seek to avoid a display of disunity over the bloc’s response to the war in Ukraine.
According to a new draft of the summit conclusions, the 27 leaders should agree that their next round of sanctions will cover oil with a temporary exemption for crude delivered by pipeline, a compromise that ambassadors failed to agree on Sunday.
The text seen by Reuters, which might yet be revised again, would confirm an agreement on seaborne oil sanctions, with pipeline oil supplied to landlocked Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to be sanctioned at some point.
However, the leaders gathering in Brussels would not finalise the terms for that temporary exception, the text suggested.
Instead, they will ask diplomats and ministers to find a solution that would also ensure fair competition between those still getting Russian oil and those cut off.
One EU diplomat said it represented “limited progress’’, with too many details still to be determined for a full agreement at the two-day summit, where leaders will have few concrete results if the impasse over an oil embargo holds up a wider package of sanctions on the table.
The EU leaders will declare continued support for Ukraine to help it fend off Russia’s assault and they will discuss how to deal with the impact of the conflict.
This is especially in view with the spike in energy prices and an impending food supply crisis.