France in talks with UAE to find alternative to Russian oil: Finance minister

Russia using gas supplies to divide Europe, EU commissioner says.

France in talks with UAE to find alternative to Russian oil: Finance minister

The French finance minister on Sunday said that his country is engaged in talks with the Gulf countries to find an alternative to the Russian oil supplies and reduce the country’s energy dependency on Moscow.

“Discussions are already underway with the United Arab Emirates, we need to find an alternative to Russian oil,” Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday’s Grand Rendezvous show of Europe 1-Les Echos-CNews.

After the EU unveiled the sixth package of sanctions on June 3, prohibiting the purchase, import, or transfer of crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia into the EU, Le Maire recalled the need to "accelerate investments in the energy transition."

He detailed that the government has planned legislation that will be submitted soon after the forthcoming legislative elections to “accelerate the deployment of renewable energies.”

He said France was looking for substitutes for the supply of gas and was engaged with the UAE.

Nearly 30% of crude and 15% of petroleum products purchased by the EU in 2021 were supplied by Moscow.

France floated the proposal of total energy independence at the EU level in order to stop importing oil and gas from Russia. While a complete ban on the import of Russian oil could take 6-8 months, the EU believes that stopping oil purchases could weaken Moscow's purse strings to finance the war.

In a separate interview on the same news channel on Sunday, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton insisted that European countries must free themselves from dependence on Russian gas and “regain our autonomy as quickly as possible because (Russian President) Vladimir Putin does not like the European project."

"He (Putin) did everything to interfere in our democracies … and now he is using gas to precisely divide us," he said.