EU economists are largely optimistic about the effects of sanctioning Russian natural gas, while EU officials are less keen.
Earlier this week, the EU banned Russian oil imports that arrive by sea in retaliation for the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Some believe a natural gas ban should be next, such as Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. However, Ms Kallas told the Financial Times he doesn’t believe such a sanction will realistically come to pass, as officials have played down the prospect.
European economists, however, seem to agree that putting a high tariff on Russian natural gas would be an effective sanction on Russia without causing major disruption to the EU. According to weighted results from the Initiative on Global Market’s recent survey, 75 percent of European economists agree or strongly agree on such a move.
“This would reduce the money going to Russia, lessen the damage for European economies and potentially provide funds for rebuilding Ukraine,” said Franklin Allen, professor and vice-dean at Imperial College London.
Among economists who were uncertain, there were concerns about the effectiveness of such a tariff and whether it would provoke Russia: “Russia is likely to retaliate and cut off gas supplies to Europe,” said Beata Javorcik, professor of economics at University of Oxford.