Czech Republic in talks on EU oil embargo exemption, PM says

Czech Prime Minister Fiala attends a joint meeting with Polish Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister Kaczynski, Slovenia's Prime Minister Jansa and Ukraine's President Zelenskiy in Kyiv
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala attends a joint meeting with Polish Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

PRAGUE, May 4 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will seek an exemption period to the European Union's proposed embargo of Russian oil, gaining time for pipeline capacities to be increased, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Wednesday.

"We are ready to support this decision (on sanctions including oil), given the Czech Republic will have some postponement until capacity is increased in oil pipelines which can deliver oil to the Czech Republic," Fiala said.

"We are trying to get that postponement for two, maybe three years."

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a phased oil embargo on Russia, along with other tough measures to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. The measures include phasing out supplies of Russian crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of 2022.

The Czech Republic has been seeking an increase to capacity of the TAL pipeline - running from Italy via Austria to Germany - which is waiting for the approval by Bavarian authorities.

Fiala said he would debate the issue with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a visit to Berlin on Thursday.

The Czech Republic joins others EU countries seeking a longer transition to introduce the ban. Slovakia, which gets nearly all its crude imports from Russia, wants a three-year transition period.

Hungary also said it could not support measures in their current form.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Jason Hovet Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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