A sucker for symbolism, the EU is aiming to present the 13th sanctions package by that date, but the significant volumes imported mean it is unlikely a total ban would be agreed upon by all 27 countries so quickly.
Struggling with high energy costs and cheap foreign competition, European producers of the widely-used metal are hoping sanctions against Russia — which remains the world’s third largest producer — can bring some relief.
Since the fall, the EU’s association of aluminum producers has argued that Brussels should cut off Russian imports completely, saying the producers have already “accelerated their decoupling.”
Despite having the four EU countries on their side, the matter is now out of the producers’ hands as member countries negotiate against the clock.
European industrial consumers oppose sanctions on aluminum. Imposing them would be “a kind of economic tactical nuclear bomb,” FACE, an EU grouping of industrial consumers, said in December. On behalf of Italian, German and other EU manufacturing industries, it argued that “sanctions should not be weaponised.”
Two EU diplomats told POLITICO over the weekend the new package will mainly include new listings of individuals and will ban more companies from exporting dual-use goods and battlefield products to Russia. They were granted anonymity to speak freely on closed-door talks.