EU nations reach compromise on new sanctions package

EU nations reach compromise on new sanctions package

According to people familiar with the matter, the European Union countries have reached a compromise on a new package of Russian sanctions that includes support for a price cap on oil sales to third countries.

EU ambassadors on Tuesday night discussed ways to mitigate the impact the new package would have on countries with large shipping industries, said people who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

Greece, Cyprus and Malta expressed concerns about the restrictions on transporting Russian oil and have been pushing for assurances on the effectiveness of the new mechanism and its potential impact, according to the people.

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, told European lawmakers in Strasbourg on Wednesday that he expects an agreement on sectoral and targeted personal sanctions later in the day. Borrell said that this should further constrain Russia's export capacity and the relations that it continues to carry out particularly in the technological sector.

According to a draft of the proposal by Bloomberg, the sanctions would add a ban on shipping Russian oil to existing restrictions on services needed to transport it, but carve out an exemption for oil priced at or under a level set by a coalition of the Group of Seven and other countries. The compromise reached on Tuesday would make entry into force of the sanctions conditional on adoption of the measures by the G -- 7

The sanctions package is going to be adopted by the bloc on Wednesday, barring any last minute objections by national governments.

The sanctions package would target a number of individuals and entities, including senior Russian ministry officials and people involved in staging the recent, widely condemned referendums. It would restrict access to aviation items, electronic components and specific chemical substances to deprive Russia's military from important technologies.

Some nations were upset with the new sanctions, as they seem to have weakened several of the proposed measures, including the removal of a Russian diamond mining company from the penalty list.

The bloc will have to change its current legislation to allow for an oil price cap. In June, EU nations agreed to a full ban on insurance and financial services for seaborne oil, while shipping was spared from the restrictions. Most of the prohibitions are due to kick in December 5 along with a ban on EU purchases of Russian crude.

The G- 7 endorsed a cap earlier this month, but said it wants an agreement before that date.

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