Hopes for EU ban on Russian oil despite Hungary comparing plan to ‘nuclear bomb’

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France has said a deal on a proposed EU ban on Russian oil could be struck this week, despite opposition from the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who has compared the plans to an atomic bomb.

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The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due to hold a phone call with the Hungarian leader later on Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock. Clément Beaune, an ally of Macron and France’s Europe minister, said he thought “we could strike a deal this week”.

Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen said there had been progress after making a last-minute dash to Budapest to discuss the plans with Orbán on Monday night.


The European Commission president described the discussion as “helpful to clarify issues related to sanctions and energy security”. She added: “We made progress, but further work is needed,” promising to hold a video conference with other countries in the region to boost cooperation on oil infrastructure.

EU diplomats insist all 27 member states are united behind the idea of ​​a ban on Russian oil, with sources close to the talks describing the delay as technical rather than political.

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