The European Union needs to act with unanimity to impose a price cap on Russian oil and overcome reluctance by some member countries to support the initiative by the Group of Seven to limit Russian energy revenue, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.
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G-7 leaders agreed to put a cap on oil prices, but without support from EU member states, “it will be a challenge, let’s be very clear, it will take time,” Le Maire said Saturday in an interview at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy. “But we need to explain to all 27 members states that if we want to be consistent with the policy of sanctions, there’s the need to cap the oil price.”
Because Russia is subject to sanctions, it shouldn’t benefit from revenues from oil or gas, he said.
Le Maire said that there should be a broad consensus to rein in Russian energy revenue and the cap should be backed by countries outside the G-7 so it isn’t seen as a “western initiative against Russia” but a “global initiative against war” in Ukraine.”
Russia has been limiting supply of its gas to the EU, contributing to a surge in prices and concerns about shortages during the colder winter months ahead. Russian energy giant Gazprom PJSC said Tuesday it will halt gas supplies to France’s Engie SA. On Friday, hours after the G-7 announced the price-cap plan, Gazprom said that it halted flows through its key Nord Stream gas pipeline indefinitely, a move decried by European politicians as an attempt to use energy as a weapon.
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“I think that’s not a surprise,” Le Maire said. “We need to be prepared for a total halt in gas supplies from Russia.”