Malta registered the highest percentage drop in Russian imports in the European Union in 2022.
Despite the unprecedented economic sanctions by the European Union against Russia, EU countries boosted their trade with Russia last year.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU adopted sanctions against 1,386 individuals (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and 171 entities (including banks, financial institutions, and defence sectors).
Moreover, the EU imposed various restrictions on imports and exports with Russia, most notably crude oil from December 2022, and refined petroleum products from February 2023.
Throughout 2022, however, the value of imports, especially energy and other raw materials increased significantly, mostly due to higher prices and the recovery from the pandemic.
The monthly value of imports had however peaked in March and declined steadily till October.
According to Politico, Slovenia increased its imports from Russia by a staggering 337% in comparison to 2021, amounting to a total of €1.2 billion.
The nations with the highest imports from Russia, throughout the year were the Netherlands with €21.6 billion (56% increase), followed by Germany with €21.2 billion (33% increase), Italy with €19.1 billion (112% increase), Poland with €10.3 billion (21% increase) and France with €9.7 billion (83% increase).
Malta topped the list when it came to ‘responsible’ nations who decreased their imports with sanctioned Russia, dropping 68% throughout 2022. It was followed by Sweden with a 61% decrease, Denmark with 44%, Ireland with 19%, and Lithuania with 13%.
While various companies pulled some of their big brands out of Russia, euro-area holdings of Russian assets only declined by a mere 10% in the second quarter of 2022.
According to a European Central Bank report, the drop was mainly due to a reduction in the value of euro area holdings of Russian portfolio investment securities.