PARIS — French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire Thursday called for a stop to imports of Russian oil, but also said it would be better to delay to ensure that all EU countries are on board.
“We, the French, [are] ready for a ban on the import of not only coal, which is on the table today, but also of Russian oil. Russia’s most important energy revenue comes from oil,” Le Maire told France Info Thursday. “The reality is that stopping imports of oil from Russia is what would hurt Russia the most.”
But Le Maire was quick to note that building an EU-wide consensus on that measure could take time, and that it would make little sense to implement an oil ban at the national level.
“However we have to convince the other member states … doing it alone makes absolutely no sense,” he said. “I prefer that we take a few weeks more to end up with a ban of imports of Russian oil, but that we do it together in a coordinated manner rather than doing so in a dispersed, less efficient manner.”
While countries such as Germany are still opposing an oil ban, Poland and the Baltic countries are calling for an all-out block on Russian energy imports and have already announced some measures at the national level.