Assessment: The nation with the oil wins again …
While the Germans and Austrians throw their support behind a Russian oil embargo, the Italians are once again breaking with their EU peers and pushing for more flexibility to continue purchasing Russian energy, even if it requires converting their euros to rubles, as President Vladimir Putin has demanded.
Politico reports that European energy companies should – provisionally, at least – be allowed to comply with Russian demands to pay for gas in rubles, according to remarks from Roberto Cingolani, the Italian minister in charge of the country’s energy security.
“Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:7 NIV
“I think it would be good for a few months, at least, to allow companies to go ahead and pay in rubles, while we understand the legal framework and implications,” he told POLITICO, adding that he wants “a speedy and very clear pronouncement from the European Commission” confirming that oil and gas companies can pay in rubles for the time being.
But roughly an hour after the original headlines hit the tape, other Italian officials decided that they didn’t want to risk the wrath of their European peers (as talk of disunity proliferated), so they quickly got the word out and clarified that Italy has no concrete plans to pay for Russian energy in rubles.
- ITALY DENIES IT’S PLANNING TO PAY FOR GAS IN RUBLES: OFFICIAL