18:38 / 31.05.2022.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

President Milanović says EU citizens will bear the brunt of the sanctions

President Zoran Milanović

President Zoran Milanović

Foto: Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

European Union leaders have reached an agreement on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. The sanctions are focused on Russian oil but also cover Russian banks and include an expanded list of Russian citizens whose assets have been blocked by western institutions.

The sanctions were fiercely debated in recent days, as some EU member states fear that an all-out embargo on Russian energy would collapse their economies. The sixth package of EU sanctions includes a ban on Russian oil but only oil transported by sea. This represents about 75% of the total amount of Russian imported by EU member states. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which have opposed an oil embargo over concerns it would destroy their economy, have been given a transition period during which they will still be able to import Russian oil. Croatia, in coordination with the European Commission, offered to increase oil transport through the Adria-pipeline to Hungary and other neighboring countries, in a bid to get the sanctions passed.

At Budapest's request Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó was received by Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović in Zagreb today. The focus of discussion was on ensuring a secure energy supply. The ministers agreed that only joint efforts and greater use of European energy infrastructure, such as the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, refineries, gas pipelines and the Adriatic Oil Pipeline, can facilitate the transition to new energy supply routes. Here's what Minister Filipović said after their meeting: "I explained to the Hungarian minister that JANAF's existing capacity of 11.4 million tons can meet in its entirety Hungary's needs. So, Croatia is here to ensure Hungary a secure energy supply, but also for other countries in the European Union."

However, President Zoran Milanović opposes the sanctions against Russia, saying that they are ineffective. Ultimately, he says, European citizens will bear the brunt of the sanctions: "The citizens of the European Union will pay the price. Putin will smile with pleasure and that's that. And that oil and gas will go to other markets, because the demand is high and there are plenty of buyers. That's the reality. You asked if Croatia is the key; no it's not. Croatia is unimportant in this regard. We'll earn a few Lipa on the transfer of this oil and that's that."

Since the beginning of the Western sanctions against Russia, the Russian Ruble has risen to record highs after an initial drop. Meanwhile, fuel prices in Croatia have jumped yet again. As of midnight Eurodiesel jumped by about twenty Lipa per liter to 13 Kuna and 14 Lipa, while Eurosuper 95 jumped by three Lipa to 13 Kuna and 86 Lipa. Simultaneously, the State Statistics Bureau announced today that industrial production in Croatia dropped by 1.5 from the previous month, and 1.3 percent year-on-year.

Source: HRT

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