EU ban on Russian coal imports kicks in today
A European Union ban on imports of Russian coal, the cornerstone measure in the bloc’s fifth package of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, will come into full force at midnight on Wednesday.
The end of a four-month wind-down period for existing contracts will activate the EU’s first ban on energy imports from Russia since the start of what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” on Feb. 24.
“The 10th of August is the end of the wind-down period for the import of Russian coal and no further exemption will apply,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said.
The EU executive says the ban will hit Russia hard because the 27-nation bloc is its biggest coal-trading partner, resulting in revenue losses for the country of around 8 billion euros ($8.3 billion) a year.
However, the EU itself will struggle to adapt.
It has depended on Russia for around 45% of its coal imports, according to Commission data, with Germany, Poland and the Netherlands the biggest buyers. Almost 70% of its thermal coal, which is used in power and heat generation, has come from Russia, according to the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel.
The ban on Russian coal imports will bring further strain on coal supplies and force European consumers to look elsewhere at a time when there is already concern about dwindling supplies of Russian gas and a severe energy crunch in the winter.