The President of the European Council Charles Michel, in the Parliament of Strasbourg, 6 April 2022 (AFP / Frederick FLORIN)
The European Parliament, in a resolution adopted Thursday, called for a “total and immediate” embargo on imports of “oil, nuclear fuel, coal and gas” from Russia.
The resolution was adopted by 513 MEPs (22 votes against, 19 abstentions). “This is a very important moment and an important step. Parliament’s position is clear and it sends out the strongest messages of support to those on the front lines,” said the institution’s president, Roberta Metsola, after the vote on this non-binding resolution .
The European Commission on Tuesday proposed to the Twenty-seven to increase sanctions by halting purchases of Russian coal, which represent 45% of total EU coal imports, and by closing European ports to Russian ships. The modalities of this 5th series of sanctions are currently being discussed between the representatives of the Member States.
Parliament therefore demands to go further, but a possible embargo on Russian oil (25% of total European oil imports) and Russian gas (45% of the total) is the subject of bitter discussions between Members of the Member States, Berlin has publicly stated its reluctance. The subject will be discussed at the meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday.
With this resolution, MEPs also ask to “intensify arms supplies to Ukraine”, which Dmytro Kouleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, again demanded on Thursday during a trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels.
So far, the 27 have agreed a one billion euro envelope to supply arms to Kiev. “It may seem like a lot, but we pay Putin a billion euros every day for the energy he gives us,” Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, said on Wednesday.
Parliament also called on the EU to cut off Russian banks’ access to the international financial system Swift (to which seven branches currently have no access) and to ban the road and sea transport of goods to Russia.
He demanded that “all necessary measures” be taken so that “the acts of Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko”, the Belarusian president, “are prosecuted as war crimes and crimes against humanity”.
MEPs also called for the creation of a “Marshall Plan-like fund” to rebuild Ukraine after the war.