- Germany, Poland, and other EU members push for sanctions on Russia's nuclear energy sector
- Tensions rise as European Commission faces pressure to draft new sanctions proposals
- EU's decision-making process complicated by varying stances among member countries
Gather 'round, folks, and let me tell you about the latest drama in the European Union (EU). Germany, Poland, and some other EU members are rallying for sanctions on Russia's nuclear energy, trying to put a dent in the Kremlin's wallet as Moscow continues its invasion of Ukraine. Now, the EU has already sanctioned Russian seaborne oil, coal, and cut back on natural gas purchases, but these countries are like, "Hold up, there's more we can do."
Enter German Economy and Climate Minister, Robert Habeck, who over the weekend said, "We need to make ourselves independent from Russia across the board." He also pointed out that it's wild that nuclear technology—a super sensitive area—is still being given the VIP treatment. In his eyes, Russia's not a reliable partner in this sector anymore.
Meanwhile, Poland and the Baltic States are also pushing for civil nuclear energy sanctions, bans on diamond imports, information and communication technology services restrictions, and an oil import ban on the Druzhba pipeline. They're turning the heat up on the European Commission, the EU's executive arm that drafts sanctions proposals. And here's a spicy tidbit: Russia exported over $1 billion worth of nuclear energy sector materials and technology between March and December 2022, according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute.
Now, Moscow was the third-largest provider of uranium to the EU in 2021, right before they invaded Ukraine. So, both Ukrainian officials and environmental groups have been giving the side-eye to the EU for not curbing nuclear revenues for the Kremlin yet. But the EU's working on it—preparing their 11th package of sanctions since the invasion began 14 months ago.
However, getting everyone in the EU to agree on Russia sanctions is like herding cats. Hungary and Bulgaria have been dragging their feet in previous discussions, and Hungary even announced plans to build two new nuclear reactors with Russian state-owned company Rosatom. So, things are looking pretty complex, to say the least.
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