Under pressure from Germany, the European Union postponed until

Under pressure from Germany, the European Union postponed until

EU officials are due to approve an embargo on Russian coal on Thursday, but it will take effect in mid-August, a month later than the original proposal, an EU source told Reuters following pressure from Germany to postpone the measure.

Thus, the phasing out of Russian coal imports from the EU is one of the main measures in the fifth package of sanctions against Russia, which the European Commission proposed this week, in response to the atrocities in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

In this way, once approved, it will be the EU’s first ban on any energy imports from Russia since the beginning of what the Kremlin calls a “special operation” in Ukraine.

At present, oil and gas, which represent much higher imports from Moscow, are still untouched.

However, most of Russia’s coal purchases are made on the spot market, rather than through long-term contracts. Those spot purchases will be stopped immediately after the imposition of sanctions.

Specifically, the European Commission had initially proposed a three-month period for existing contracts, which means Russia could still export coal to the EU for 90 days after sanctions are imposed, according to a document seen by Reuters.

But that period was extended to four months, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

In this case, the decision was made under pressure from Germany, the EU’s main importer of Russian coal.

Therefore, given that sanctions are expected to take effect later this week or early next week, after publication in the EU’s official gazette, Russian companies will be able to actually export coal to the EU by mid-August, under contracts. existing.

In the economic context, one diplomat said that most coal contracts are short-term, and a period of 90 days would have allowed most of them to be concluded without the need for cancellation, avoiding legal risks.

Despite the fact that the period has been extended, the EU’s planned ban on Russian coal is more ambitious than that of the United Kingdom, which has said it intends to ban imports of coal from Russia by the end of the year.

In the financial context, the European Commission has estimated that a coal ban could cost Russia 4 billion euros a year.