FirstFT: EU steps up action against Russian oil sanctions

Germany has called for a phased ban on Russian oil imports to the EU, stepping up pressure on Brussels to strike a deal between divided member states ahead of a critical week for the bloc’s Russian energy policy.

Jörg Kukies, one of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s closest advisers, said Berlin was in favor of an oil embargo but needed “a few months” to prepare for an end to Russian crude shipments. Germany had previously said it would need until the end of the year.

As the EU discusses its toughest sanctions yet against Moscow this week, Berlin’s willingness to speed up its timetable increases the likelihood of a full EU oil embargo.

Germany was initially reluctant to target Russian oil at the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but changed its position as the war continued, a sign of the EU’s determination to stop paying Moscow for energy despite the potential economic impact. on the block.

“We are asking for a period of thoughtful relaxation,” Kukies told the Financial Times. “We want to stop buying Russian oil, but we need some time to make sure we can bring other sources of oil into our country.”

Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news – George

Latest updates on the war in Ukraine

  • Italy: The year after Russia annexed Crimea, Silvio Berlusconi traveled to the peninsula to visit Vladimir Putin, a reflection of Italy’s political and business elite’s close ties to Russia. Rome hasn’t shown such solicitude since invading Ukraine, in one of Europe’s biggest foreign policy shifts in years.

  • Financial aid: The EU is planning another round of emergency loans to help Ukraine bridge a budget shortfall caused by the Russian invasion. Kyiv expects government spending to exceed revenue by $5 billion to $7 billion a month.

  • Refugees: The UK’s failed program for the admission of Ukrainian refugees has prevented people from going to host families, trapping them in a precarious limbo.

  • India: Tata Steel, India’s largest importer of Russian coal in the first quarter, will stop buying the raw material.

  • Evacuation of Mariupol: More than 100 people were evacuated this weekend from the Azovstal steelworks, the last stronghold of the resistance in the port city.

1. Landsec turns its attention away from London One of the UK’s biggest business owners is rethinking its strategy and turning away from London as it struggles to compete with the firepower of global investment firms. Mark Allan, chief executive, said Landsec was selling office space in the capital and reinvesting in Manchester.

2. European bus demand is lagging behind The world’s largest bus maker does not expect demand for coaches in Europe to return to pre-pandemic levels for three years. School trips and tourist bookings are increasing, but orders won’t recover until the middle of the decade, according to Till Oberwörder, head of Daimler Buses.

3. Lego is building a digital future Lego plans to triple its number of software engineers as the world’s biggest toymaker embraces an online world it has long feared will erode the appeal of its bricks. Niels Christiansen, chief executive, said Lego no longer views its physical and digital products as separate.

4. Republicans are warming up to climate change Acknowledging their bad reputation on climate change, a group of US House Republicans formed the Conservative Climate Caucus – but the group has work to do to change the perceptions of climate-conscious voters about their party, who resisted government action on global warming and opposed emissions limits.

5. Hoard bandwidth The EU should make technology and streaming companies pay part of the 28 billion euros they have cost European telecommunications groups for their excessive use of network infrastructure, according to an industry report which revealed that a small number of groups accounted for more than 55% of all traffic on mobile and broadband networks.

The day ahead

Economic data S&P Global releases purchasing managers’ indices for the euro zone, Italy, France, Germany and the United States, where preliminary data from April showed slowing economic growth. The United States also has construction spending figures for March and the Institute for Supply Management releases its April manufacturing activity index.

business profits Italian carmaker Piaggio publishes its first quarter financial statements. “The revenue trend doesn’t seem to explain why the stock price is down,” Simply Wall Street noted last week.

Join us on May 4 for our subscribers-only Elon Musk Twitter Takeover webinar. register here for our free virtual briefing on the consequences of the world’s richest man acquiring the social media platform he describes as the “bedrock of a working democracy”.

What else we read

How cross-Channel roads became P&O’s big challenge P&O Ferries offered a simple defense when it ordered its ships back to port to lay off all their crew: it would go bankrupt without a new business model. The decision caused a high-profile political confrontation, but it also highlighted the economic difficulties of operating ferries across the English Channel.

ArcelorMittal celebrates green hydrogen milestone The world’s second-largest steelmaker has successfully trialled the use of green hydrogen to reduce iron ore at one of its industrial sites in Canada, claiming a milestone in the industry’s environmental efforts.

  • Learn more about hydrogen: On Kangaroo Island in Australia, former gas explorers believe they are about to discover the holy grail of clean, cheap energy: natural “golden” hydrogen.

Remarkable Rocks, granite rock formations on Kangaroo Island

Remarkable Rocks, granite rock formations on Kangaroo Island. Located off Australia’s southern coast, the prospect of natural hydrogen sinks on the island is attracting interest © David Mariuz/AAP/Reuters

Demand for carbon credits creates a boom period for brokers Demand for carbon credits has skyrocketed as corporate buyers seek to improve their environmental credentials. Mark Carney, UN climate envoy, told the COP26 summit that offset programs could bring in “$150 billion. . . emerging and developing economies of the world”. But the opaque and unregulated market has drawn accusations of dealers cashing in at the expense of environmental causes.

Investors face volatility as demand stagnates amid supply disruptions Central banks are belatedly recognizing that the problem in the markets is not weak demand but rather insufficient supply, argues Mohamed El-Erian. Looking ahead, an even more complicated possibility looms: that of a demand freeze amid ongoing supply disruptions.

Don’t view ESG as just a PR challenge ESG — Environmental, Social and Governance — is everywhere, notes Stefan Stern. You can’t discuss a company’s operations or outlook without the initials ESG appearing. Skeptical (and seasoned) business watchers know to be on alert when another three-letter acronym (TLA) achieves mainstream popularity.

FT Globetrotter

South of Singapore is a duo of sublime private islands that prioritize renewal, the environment and community engagement: Nikoi, 37 acres in the western Indonesian regency of Bintan, and Cempedak, an island 22 km to the south, with domed villas. .

Cempedak Island, Indonesia

A decade after buying Nikoi, Andrew Dixon acquired a second island called Cempedak, which opened in 2017 © Cempedak Private Island

Thanks for reading and don’t forget you can add FirstFT to myFT. You can also choose to receive a FirstFT push notification every morning on the app. Send your recommendations and comments to [email protected] Register here.

Comments are closed.