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.

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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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