Austria rules out EU sanctions against Russian oil/gas

06 Apr 2022

The Austrian finance minister has rebuffed any European Union sanctions aimed at oil and gas from Russia.

Magnus Brunner told reporters before a Eurogroup meeting: “We are very much dependent on the Russian gas, and I think all sanctions that hit us more than the Russians wouldn’t be good for us. That’s why we’re against the sanctions in the oil and gas.”

The finance minister’s comments followed a matter of hours after French President Emmanuel Macron urged for fresh sanctions targeting oil and coal. The finance minister of Belgium, Vincent Van Peteghem said his country does not oppose such targeted action, Politico reports.

Moscow has been given four rounds of sanctions by the EU to date, but the U.S. and EU are due to impose further sanctions on Russia on war crimes allegations in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, it was announced on Wednesday.

Austria’s finance minister said the reports are “extremely horrible” but added “you have to stay cool” in regard to to sanctions. However, he said Austria is happy to continue targeting Russian individuals.

“If the sanctions hit yourself more than the other one, I don’t think that’s the right way to go,” Brunner stated.

Although the sanctions are impacting Russia’s economy, they are expected to only result in an overall decline of around 10%.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the additional sanctions: “In coordination with the G7 and the EU, an additional sweeping package of sanctions measures that will impose costs on Russia to send it further down the road of economic, financial, and technological isolation.”

Austria is heavily reliant on Russia to meet its energy demands, along with other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Senior Economist at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Elisabeth Christen said 80% of Austria’s gas is imported from Russia, reports The Local.