A Wall Street Journal overview of the process of laying down a price cap on Russian oil reveals, among other things, how Estonian Finance Minister Annely Akkermann initially greenlit a $65 per barrel price ceiling before it turned out Estonia's position differed.
The WSJ reported that Poland and the Baltics said on November 23 that the $65-70 price cap proposed by the European Commission was too high as it was more than the market price of Russian oil at the time.
It was reported that a representative of the U.S. Treasury Department called the Estonian finance minister that same day and was told Estonia agrees to the cap at $65 per barrel.
Next, it turned out that her ministry was not in charge of the price ceiling, and Estonian officials quickly explained to Washington that Estonia did not support the cap. Soon after, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen talked to Estonian PM Kaja Kallas.
Akkermann, who became finance minister on October 19 following the resignation of Keit Pentus-Rosimannus on her way to the European Court of Auditors, told ERR that the misunderstanding did take place.
"It was an occupational accident so to speak, as while Pentus-Rosimannus had received the memo regarding Estonia's position in this matter, I had not. /.../ The briefing got lost in the process of the ministerial change and was purely a job-realted accident," Akkermann said.
The Commission eventually agreed on a price cap of $60 per barrel.
The cap is enforced through transport and services denials. Starting from Monday, December 5, it is no longer allowed to transport Russian oil for which more than $60 per barrel has been paid to third countries. European ports must also not offer services to vessels transporting Russian oil for which more was paid.
Editor: Karin Koppel, Marcus Turovski