The European Union is readying a total embargo on Russian oil imports, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Given that Russia is the bloc’s largest oil supplier and such a decision would have a political and economic fallout.
That’s why EU officials are waiting until after the upcoming French election to announce the decision, the newspaper reported.
The proposed embargo will be put up for negotiation after the final round of French elections on April 24, officials told the Times, acknowledging that the resulting surge in fuel prices would likely harm incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron and boost his right-wing challenger, Marine Le Pen, who is currently polling within five percentage points of Macron.
In addition to five rounds of economic sanctions levied on Moscow, the EU has already announced a phased ban on Russian coal imports and a complete end to fossil fuel purchases from Russia by 2030. For the moment, a gas ban is off the table, as the bloc relies on Russia for around 40% of its natural gas.
However, the EU is still heavily dependent on Russian oil, which accounts for around a quarter of its supply. Germany is more dependent still, purchasing a third of its oil from Russia.