Hungary was right to demand oil embargo exemption, says Dutch PM

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, arrives for the an extraordinary meeting of EU leaders to discuss Ukraine, energy and food security in Brussels, Monday, May 30, 2022. European Union leaders will gather Monday in a fresh show of solidarity with Ukraine but divisions over whether to target Russian oil in a new series of sanctions are exposing the limits of how far the bloc can go to help the war-torn country. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

A day after member states approved the European Union’s sixth embargo package against Russia, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia cannot function without the crude oil they receive from Russia via pipelines.

“It is true that [Orbán] very much pleaded for an exemption temporarily for Hungary, but also for the Czechs and Slovaks. But at the same time, they have this issue where we always acknowledged that there was a problem with the fact [that] they are very much dependent on Russian oil,” Rutte told Politico.

Only a few days prior, Rutte had told journalists during an interview with CNBC that although Hungary was opposed to the sixth EU sanctions package, it would eventually adopt it.

The Dutch prime minister was quick to add, however, that the agreement reached was “not a great victory for Viktor Orbán,” and indicated that it was not just Hungary that had expressed concern about the impact of the oil embargo on its own economy.

After the European leaders agreed on the outlines of the embargo — and the exemption Hungary and others demanded — Orbán said his administration had managed to “repel the commission’s proposal that would have banned the use of Russian oil in Hungary.”

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