EU Votes for Fifth Round of Sanctions – Bans Coal Imports from Russia

The EU has voted by a majority in favor of the fifth round of sanctions against Russia. According to the EU press release, the new sanctions package includes:

— ” a prohibition to purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuels into the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, as from August 2022. Imports of coal into the EU are currently worth EUR 8 billion per year.”

— “a prohibition to provide access to EU ports to vessels registered under the flag of Russia. Derogations are granted for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, and energy.”

— “a ban on any Russian and Belarusian road transport undertaking preventing them from transporting goods by road within the EU, including in transit. Derogations are nonetheless granted for a number of products, such as pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat, and for road transport for humanitarian purposes.”

— “further export bans, targeting jet fuel and other goods such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment, and new import bans on products such as: wood, cement, fertilisers, seafood and liquor. The agreed export and import bans only account for EUR 10 billion and EUR 5.5 billion respectively.”

— “a series of targeted economic measures intended to strengthen existing measures and close loopholes, such as: a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in member states, the exclusion of all financial support to Russian public bodies. an extended prohibition on deposits to crypto-wallets, and on the sale of banknotes and transferrable securities denominated in any official currencies of the EU member states to Russia and Belarus, or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia and Belarus,.”

— “Furthermore, the Council decided to sanction companies whose products or technology have played a role in the invasion, key oligarchs and businesspeople, high-ranking Kremlin officialsproponents of disinformation and information manipulation, systematically spreading the Kremlin’s narrative on Russia’s war aggression in Ukraine, as well as family members of already sanctioned individuals, in order to make sure that EU sanctions are not circumvented.”

— “Moreover a full transaction ban is imposed on four key Russian banks representing 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. After being de-SWIFTed these banks will now be subject to an asset freeze, thereby being completely cut off from EU markets.”

The ban on coal imports is likely to hit the EU hard, as it gets 45% of its coal from Russia. In addition, EU importers are desperate to increase the volume of coal imports, as coal is being used as a substitute due to the gas shortage. Annual coal imports from Russia to the EU amount to 8 billion euros. Only in March, imports to the EU increased to 3.5 million tons of coal, the highest since October 2020.

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