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EU country proposes full ban on Russian goods

The EU should stop buying Russian natural gas and other goods, Romanian Prime Minister Ion-Marcel Ciolacu has said, even though the drastic measure would cost the bloc “a bit of comfort” as a result of higher prices.

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Speaking to the Austrian daily Der Standard on Thursday, the Romanian leader called for all member states to achieve independence from Russian energy as soon as possible, claiming that its neighbor and EU-candidate state, Moldova, had already done so.

“There are always solutions, even for difficult economic problems. That’s why I believe it would be right if we banned the sale of Russian gas or Russian goods to the EU and democratic states,” he stated.

Austria has historically been reliant on Russian natural gas and has no easy options to phase it out, according to the country’s leadership. Ciolacu claimed that Austria was paying “blood money” when it purchased fuel from Russia.

The Romanian prime minister said the price that the EU would pay for the proposed ban would be far lower than that paid by Ukraine in the ongoing conflict. Ciolacu urged fellow EU leaders to “keep in mind what would actually happen if the Russian Federation won” in the fight against Kiev.

“Wouldn’t this create an opportunity for people like Putin to multiply in other countries in Europe?” he added.

For decades, Western European economies fueled their economic growth with cheap raw materials from Russia, particularly gas. They chose to decouple their economies from Russia over the Ukraine conflict. This has caused a rapid deindustrialization in countries such as Germany, as businesses had to shut down or relocate energy-intensive manufacturing.

The International Energy Agency has predicted that the EU’s energy consumption will hit a 20-year low in 2023.

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