EU: how to buy gas and not violate sanctions

The European Union has developed a plan to buy Russian gas without violating the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The European Commission has prepared updated recommendations for EU companies on the purchase of Russian gas and announced this, according to Bloomberg, at a closed meeting on May 13. They plan to prescribe that buyers of blue fuel can open an account in Gazprombank in euros or dollars (as required by the Russian Federation) and purchase gas in accordance with the sanctions imposed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The document will indicate that companies must clearly state: they consider their obligations fulfilled after the transfer of euros or dollars, and not after converting the currency into rubles, reports

At the same time, the EC did not go into details whether Russia’s requirement for companies to open ruble accounts with Gazprombank complies with EU standards. Earlier, it was stated at the official level that opening such an account would violate the sanctions. In the updated recommendations, this point is simply bypassed.

Initially, the European Commission argued that Moscow’s requirement to pay for gas in rubles would violate sanctions. EU, introduced in relation to the Russian Federation, and supply contracts, in which the conditions do not provide for a change in the currency of payment. Bloomberg notes:

“According to one of the sources, at the meeting on Friday, the views of government representatives were divided. While Germany, Hungary, Italy and France generally approved of the commission’s plan, Poland said it lacked legal clarity and urged EU ambassadors to discuss the matter. Others were confused by the lack of specific instructions for opening accounts in rubles.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi informedthat the German gas company VNG has already transferred euros to Gazprombank for conversion into rubles and subsequent payment for gas.

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