“What is making it difficult is nothing in the political field, but in the technical and economic field [because] there is an asymmetry in the impact of sanctions. Portugal, for example, would have no difficulty turning off the tap on Russian gas or oil tomorrow, [but] other countries have a dependency, particularly Hungary, but also Slovakia and Bulgaria have difficulties”, declared João Gomes Cravinho.
Speaking at the end of the informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in Berlin, the head of Portuguese diplomacy explained that “these [more dependent] countries ask for support, they ask for transitional periods, they ask for, on the part of the European Commission, a strong investment in the development of other solutions, namely gas and oil pipelines and this, naturally, does not happen overnight”.
According to João Gomes Cravinho, at the level of the Member States, “the discussions continue, but the objective is shared by all, which is to cut European dependence on fossil fuels from Russia”.
When asked about deadlines for the 27 to reach an agreement on what is the sixth package of sanctions on Russia, presented by the European Commission in early May, the official estimated that, “during the next couple of weeks, in principle, there will be solutions that satisfy everyone”.
“We are all united on what is the fundamental objective, which is to reduce and eliminate dependence on oil and gas”, stressed João Gomes Cravinho, rejecting that this new package of restrictive measures be softened.
“Whatever the solution, the package will certainly have a very significant impact on the Russian economy and on Russia's ability to feed its war machine”, said João Gomes Cravinho.