EU leaders moving towards deal on Russian oil ban

STORY: "We're going towards a deal on a sixth package of sanctions," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (May 30) as he arrived at a meeting of centrist leaders ahead of the summit.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte echoed similar sentiments.

According to a new draft of the summit conclusions, the 27 nations will agree that Russian oil imports into EU countries will be banned, though with a temporary exemption for crude delivered by pipeline.

The text seen by Reuters - which may still be revised again - would confirm an agreement on seaborne oil sanctions, with pipeline oil supplied to landlocked Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to be sanctioned at some later point.

However, the leaders gathering in Brussels in the afternoon will not finalise the terms for that temporary exception, the text suggested.

Instead, they will ask diplomats and ministers to find a solution that would also ensure fair competition between those still getting Russian oil and those cut off.

Some EU leaders poured cold water on Monday on any prospect for a comprehensive deal at the summit, with Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas saying it was more realistic to expect an agreement next month.

"I don't think we'll reach an agreement today. We'll try to reach an agreement by the summit in June, I think this is the realistic approach right now," Kallas said.

The next summit is scheduled for June 23-24.

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