Macron calls for energy sanctions against Russia, but Orbán warns it would crash the Hungarian economy

French President Emmanuel Macron awaits Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte is for bileteral talks in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

French President Emmanuel Macron has joined the list of global leaders calling for sanctions on Russian oil and gas, even if such measures would be “painful” for Europe.

As heads of government and state of EU members arrived in the French city of Versailles for a two-day summit, the French president said Europe must be prepared to end its reliance on Russian energy supplies.

“Our democracy is in danger, our values ​​are in danger,” Macron told reporters. “We have to accept that sometimes we have to pay the price,” he added, insisting that Europe must prepare itself for “any scenario.”

“Europe must be prepared to be independent of Russian gas, to be independent in order to ensure its own protection,” said Macron, who made it clear before the extraordinary meeting that he would represent a European strategy for energy independence at the summit.

Russian gas plays key role in many European economies

Other European leaders, however, aren’t convinced, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made the position of his government abundantly clear on Thursday.

“Without gas and oil, the Hungarian economy would come to a standstill,” the Hungarian leader told viewers in a pre-recorded video published on Facebook. He confirmed that Hungary would not be joining the energy sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Kingdom on Monday because of Hungary’s reliance on Russian supplies.

“I made it clear that we cannot follow the example of the United States,” Orbán said. “They imposed sanctions on these products yesterday, which would be an unbearable burden for Hungary, so there can be no question of us joining these sanctions, we still need gas and oil coming from Russia.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also revealed that he will be speaking again with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and expressed the need to make every effort to achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine, even if he remains worried and pessimistic about its chances.

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