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'It's a big deal': Experts and MEPs weigh in on EU's Russian oil ban

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By Euronews
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the oil embargo an "important step forward."
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the oil embargo an "important step forward."   -   Copyright  Christophe Licoppe/ EU/Christophe Licoppe

Weeks after the proposal was announced, European Union leaders decided to ban all seaborne oil coming from Russia by the end of the year.

The measure will target both crude barrels and refined petroleum products, such as diesel and naphtha, which altogether account for more than two-thirds of total purchases.

The embargo, however, will exempt pipeline flows, a tweak demanded by Hungary and other landlocked countries who argued such a sudden switch would wreak economic havoc.

"It's going to be a big deal because, for Russia, it will not be so easy to replace the European market with other buyers," Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based economic think tank, told Euronews the morning after the deal was brokered.

"There are a number of bottlenecks in the infrastructure that make difficult the redirection of the flows: domestic oil infrastructure in Russia, the capacity of the ports to increase the shipments and the capacity to find the all the tankers required to do that."

The EU is Russia's number one oil client, with a pre-war trade of around 3.5 million barrels per day.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the 27 member states have spent over €30 billion on Russian oil.

Germany is the EU country that buys the largest amount of Russian barrels. The coalition government claims dependency on Russian oil has declined from 35% at the start of the conflict to 12% today.

"Germany has been doing a great job in getting rid of dependencies from Russian oil," Sergey Lagodinsky, a German MEP who sits with the Greens, told Euronews.

"That's why we hoped the stop of Russian oil imports would be immediate – some said by end of summer – and now it's by the end of the year."

Watch the video above to hear more reactions to the EU ban on Russian oil.