Greece and Cyprus have expressed concerns over the proposal by the EU Commission to ban imports of oil from Russia, Cypriot President Anastasiades said on Friday.
The two countries are concerned over a planned EU ban on transporting Russian oil. The EU plans call for a ban on purchases and prohibit the shipping industry based in EU member countries from handling Russian oil. Greece and Cyprus have the largest shipping fleets in the 27 member EU, and host large ship-management centers.
“It’s necessary to take into account concerns of Greece, Malta, and of course Cyprus in specific matters relating to the sanctions,” Anastasiades told reporters in Athens.
Anastasiades, who earlier met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said this was a “common position” of both.
“We are both clear. We are against the Russian invasion and of course in favor of sanctions. But these sanctions should be targeted, and not selective in serving some member states and leaving others exposed,” Anastasiades said, according to Reuters.
Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the Greek representative in the EU complained about the great pressure exerted on Greek shipping and warned that, for example, Asian rivals could pick up the orders to transport Russian oil to destinations around the globe.
EU Commission outlines plan to ban the import of Russian oil
The EU Commission announced plans on Wednesday to ban the import of oil from Russia by the end of 2022 and to sanction Russians who committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“Putin must pay a high price for his brutal aggression,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said as she unveiled a sixth set of proposed EU sanctions, which will require unanimous approval from member states before they can come into effect, against Russia.
Von der Leyen said the EU would seek to end its dependency on Russian oil, a major source of revenue for the Kremlin. Crude oil would be phased out in six months and refined products by the end of 2022, she said.
“Let´s be clear: it will not be easy,” cautioned Von der Leyen, “But we simply have to work on it. We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to maximize pressure on Russia while minimizing the impact on our economies.”