European Commission proposes ban on Belarusian and Russian hauliers
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European Commission President von der Leyen has announced that the Commission has proposed a ban on transport operators from Russia and Belarus. The President announced the proposal during a release regarding the EU's 5th round of sanctions against Russia, which already include a ban on Russian coal, as well as a ban on Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from accessing EU ports.
The proposal to ban transport operators comes after heighted speculation yesterday that the Baltic nations of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were set to block road transport to Russia and Belarus.
In the opinion of Ursula von der Leyen, such a ban “will drastically limit the options for the Russian industry to obtain key goods.” The use of ‘will’ here rather than ‘would’ could signify confidence that a ban can be agreed upon.
What has been confirmed, however, is a ban on Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from accessing EU ports. The only exemptions that apply here are essentials including agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid as well as energy.
The other sanctions that have been confirmed are as follows:
- An import ban on coal from Russia, worth EUR 4 billion per year. The European Commission President says the move “will cut another important revenue source for Russia.”
- A full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among them VTB, the second largest Russian bank. These four banks, which the EU will now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. The Commission believes this sanction “will further weaken Russia’s financial system.”
- Further targeted export bans, worth EUR 10 billion, in areas in which Russia is vulnerable. This includes, for example, quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, but also sensitive machinery and transportation equipment. In the opinion of von der Leyen, these bans “will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity.”
- Specific new import bans, worth EUR 5.5 billion, to cut the money stream of Russia and its oligarchs. This covers products from wood to cement, seafood and liquor. By doing this, the Commission argues it will “also close loopholes between Russia and Belarus”.
- A number of very targeted measures, such as a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in Member States, or an exclusion of all financial support, be it European or national, to Russian public bodies.