Hungary will veto the European Union’s planned sixth round of sanctions against Russia, which includes a halt to oil imports by the end of the year, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said on Wednesday.
Asked by the BBC whether Hungary will exercise its veto, Kovács said, “In short, yes, but you also need to know how the European Union works. The proposal comes from Brussels … that is, from the administrative, bureaucratic center of the European Union — not from the member states.
They know exactly that what they are proposing is contrary to Hungarian interests, and if we support it, we will completely destroy the Hungarian economy. ”
Speaking in Uzbekistan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártő said that while Hungary can get behind further sanctions against Russian and Belorussian businesses, it cannot support an oil embargo that would cripple the country.
Here’s why Hungary cannot replace Russian oil in the short term
Hungary’s refineries cannot use more than 25 to 30 percent of crude oil from other sources outside Russia
“We can live with all these measures, although there may be a debate about their effectiveness, but now is not the time to be smart, as there is a war going on in the neighborhood,” he said.
“At the same time, the transportation of oil from Russia to Europe would be banned, with a short deadline, in the case of Hungary from the end of next year,” he added.
Szijjártó underlined that Hungary’s energy supply is currently secure, but this package of sanctions would “completely destroy” an energy security, making it impossible to obtain the amount of oil needed for the economy to function.
“It is not a question of lack of political will, it is not a question of intention, it is not a question of duration, but quite simply a physical, geographical and infrastructural reality,” he said.
The foreign minister pointed out that Hungary can only buy enough oil to satisfy its economic demands from Russia sources, and that the existing infrastructure is designed around the processing of Russian oil. Currently, Hungary’s infrastructure only has the technology to refine Russian oil and any other oil source would require costly investments to suitably process.
Finally, he stressed that the Hungarian government could not responsibly vote for the new sanctions package in its current form. In order to be able to support the measures, it would be necessary for the embargo not to apply to the transportation of oil through Europe’s pipelines, he added.