Sweden ready to block Russian LNG imports if Hungary hinders EU decision

Thursday, 30 May 2024 —

Sweden is considering unilaterally blocking imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) if Hungary prevents or manages to ease the EU's proposed sanctions against Russia.

According to Bloomberg, EU member states are discussing sanctions against key Russian LNG projects, as well as a ban on the use of EU ports for re-exporting supplies to third countries. Hungary opposed the proposal, and sanctions require the unanimity of 27 EU member states.

"If the sanctions package doesn’t fit its purpose we are prepared to navigate on our own," said Ebba Busch, Minister for Energy, Business and Industry of Sweden.

She did not specify how the government would target energy imports from Russia. The rules require countries to take into account the energy security of the European Union.


Although Swedish gas imports from Russia are small, any measures would reflect the growing impatience of member states with Hungary's constant obstruction of Ukraine's aid and sanctions.

"The aim of this whole war on Russia’s side is to divide and conquer. But Sweden will not wait if we don’t succeed with the 14th sanctions package," Busch added.

She noted that one way to persuade Hungary to side with future energy sanctions would be for the EU to encourage new investment in the region's nuclear sector.

She criticised the European Investment Bank for not doing more to provide concessional financing to the sector.

Earlier, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson expressed her belief that the European Commission's thorough preparatory work on a new package of sanctions against Russia and the gas agreement recently adopted by EU energy ministers should ensure smooth approval of restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports from Russia.

The media previously reported that the European Commission had sent a draft proposal for the 14th package of sanctions against Russia to EU countries. This package includes, among other things, restrictions on LNG imports from Russia, although a full embargo is not planned.

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