EU sanctions against Russia: Hungary announces its veto on the oil embargo

Status: 09.05.2022 6:20 p.m.

Brussels’ proposal amounts to a nuclear bomb: Hungary has once again made it clear that it does not want to accept the EU sanctions package on Russian oil. The head of the commission von der Leyen is currently traveling to Budapest.

EU country Hungary wants to veto the European Union’s planned embargo against Russian oil imports. “Hungary will not vote for this package because the Hungarian people should not pay the price of war,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told parliament in Budapest.

For the sanctions package to be implemented, all countries must agree. In negotiations that have been ongoing since last week and will continue this week, EU countries have yet to reach an agreement on an oil embargo against Russia.

The European Commission had proposed to give Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to fully implement the stoppage of deliveries. In Hungary – but also in other countries – the proposal did not go far enough.

“Brussels’ proposal amounts to a nuclear bomb”

The sanctions package meant “only problems” for Hungary, according to Szijjarto. He has no solution on how the country, which depends on Russian oil, can replace missing imports. “This proposal from Brussels is equivalent to launching a nuclear bomb on the Hungarian economy,” he said. Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban made the same comparison in a radio interview last Friday.

In the context of complicated negotiations, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, traveled to Hungary on Monday. Von der Leyen was due to leave in the afternoon to meet Prime Minister Viktor Orban, his spokesperson said on Twitter. The subject of the talks in Hungary is the security of European energy supply, wrote the spokesman for the President of the Commission.

A pipeline called “friendship”

Last week, the European Commission proposed giving Hungary and Slovakia until the end of 2024 and the Czech Republic until mid-2024 to fully implement the oil import ban. . All other countries are expected to stop oil shipments in six months and purchases of petroleum products such as diesel and kerosene in eight months. However, the compromise did not go far enough for Hungary in particular. But Slovakia and Bulgaria, which are calling for their own exceptions, had also raised concerns.

For the sanctions package to be implemented, all countries must agree. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are heavily dependent on Russian oil, which is supplied entirely via the Druzhba pipeline – which means “friendship” in English.

According to the national statistics authority, the Czech Republic covered around half of its oil consumption from Russian sources in 2021. In Hungary, according to the government, 65% comes from Russia. According to the national operating company Transpetrol, Russia is the only source of oil for Slovakia. According to the European Commission, deliveries to these countries represent only a very small proportion of total Russian oil imports from the EU.

end of unit? EU challenges oil embargo

Jakob Mayr, ARD Brussels, 9.5.2022 18:04

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