Not even Germany, the EU’s leading economy, is in principle opposed to the idea of imposing a ceiling on the price of Russian oil, a proposal that is discussed at the G7 on the initiative of the US, where gasoline has reached $ 5 a gallon. . A senior German official, quoted by the Financial Times, confirms that “intense discussions” are underway in Elmau on how to implement a ceiling on Russian crude oil prices and how it would work, in connection with the sanctions already approved by Western countries and Japan against Moscow for the war in Ukraine. “The problems we have to solve are not trivial, but we are on the right track to reach an agreement,” added the senior official. The President of the European Council Charles Michel explained at a press conference in Elmau this morning that there is a discussion about creating “a technical mechanism” that would have “the effect” of putting a ceiling on the price of Russian oil, using as leverage “services related to the oil, such as transportation and insurance “. The EU, the UK and the US have a leading position in the shipping insurance market and also in reinsurance: the companies that insure oil tankers reinsure themselves to protect themselves from risk. These are all operations that are carried out in pools, generally, given the sums involved, therefore the use of insurance as leverage could be particularly insidious for Russia, because Western companies are not very easy to replace with Chinese or Indian counterparties. As far as we know, in practice the idea behind it is that of granting transport and insurance services to oil tankers transporting Russian crude oil as long as a ceiling is applied to the price of oil itself. Michel explained that the mechanism must be studied “in detail”, since we must be “sure” that it hits Russia and does not make life “more difficult” for the EU countries, which “number 27”. A similar measure should be approved unanimously: the sixth EU sanctions package, which included an embargo on oil imports from Russia, was blocked for four weeks by Hungary’s veto, removed only after Budapest, and other capitals of the ‘ east, have obtained an exemption for oil via pipeline from Russia.
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