French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the European Union to ban Russian coal as part of a new wave of sanctions to further isolate the Kremlin.
Frank Rampenhorst | Photo Alliance | Getty Images
Luxembourg – The European Commission will propose a ban on Russian coal as part of a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Two EU officials, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the talks, told CNBC on Tuesday that the EU’s executive arm would propose that coal be included in the sanctions.
Imposing sanctions on the Russian energy sector has been a challenge for the European Union due to the high level of dependence that some member states have on the country’s energy supply.
According to European Statistics Office data, the European Union imported 19.3% of its coal from Russia in 2020. It imported 36.5% of its oil from the country in the same year, and 41.1% of its natural gas.
However, Evidence mounting for war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine The Commission pushed for a proposal to add coal to the fifth package of sanctions against Moscow.
On Wednesday, European ambassadors will discuss the new set of measures. Final approval of the sanctions will not take place until after the talks, and proposals can still be changed before the ambassadors meet.
There has been increasing pressure on Europe to target the Russian energy sector, particularly as energy importing nations continue to bolster President Vladimir Putin’s war fund with oil and gas revenues on a daily basis.
However, the issue divides the European Union, with some countries supporting a ban on Russian energy imports, while others argue that such a move would harm their economies more than Russia.
For example, French President Emmanuel Macron said, on Monday, that the bloc should go ahead with imposing sanctions on Russian oil and coal following reports of atrocities in towns near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
However, Germany seems less convinced that such a move is possible, especially when it comes to natural gas supplies.
“We want to be, [in the] “In a short time, less dependent on Russian energy imports into the EU, Germany will support more sanctions against Russia,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told CNBC in Luxembourg on Monday.
“We have to put more pressure on Putin and we have to isolate Russia – we have to cut all economic ties with Russia, but at the moment the gas supplies cannot be cut off.”