EU fails to convince Hungary to support Russian oil veto

The president of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, was unable to convince the Hungarian prime minister, the ultra-nationalist Viktor Orbán, to support community sanctions on Russian oil.

The surprise meeting in Budapest ended without much progress. “The package would mean major problems for Hungary,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó assured after the meeting, referring to Hungary’s veto of including the oil purchase ban in the European Union’s sixth package of sanctions against Russia.

The Hungarian government insists that this measure would ruin the Hungarian economy, which is highly dependent on oil and gas that it buys from Moscow. “Until there is a solution to these (problems), we cannot support (the European Commission’s proposal), Szijjártó assured in a short video on the social network Facebook. Szijjártó said that “although there were small advances (in the today’s meeting) there will be many issues to negotiate”.

Von der Leyen agreed with that analysis in a message on the social network Twitter. “This afternoon’s conversation with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has served to clarify issues related to sanctions and energy security. We have made progress, but more work is needed,” von der Leyen wrote. The EC president added that she will convene a telematic conference “to strengthen regional cooperation in oil infrastructure.”

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Hungary and other Central and Eastern European countries, such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, oppose these sanctions due to their energy dependency on Moscow.

The Community Executive proposed last Wednesday to prohibit imports of all Russian oil for a maximum of eight months, although Hungary and Slovakia would have until the end of 2023, an extension that these countries request is three years.

rml (efe, afp)

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