PM Orbán: Banning Russian energy would be ‘historic failure’

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. (Facebook)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sent a letter to the president of the European Commission on Thursday afternoon, calling the possible adoption of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia a historic failure, with the details of the letter published in the Financial Times.

According to the Hungarian prime minister, the planned package would result in further increases in the burden on the most vulnerable without the EU making any substantial efforts to mitigate the effects.

“Neither Hungary nor the European Union as a whole is ready to accept and implement the measures proposed by the Commission. Sanctions can be accepted if all the necessary preconditions are met in all member states,” said the English-language letter sent by the Hungarian prime minister to Ursula von der Leyen yesterday in response to the announcement made by the EU leader on Wednesday.

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The president of the European Commission said at the time that the European Union would impose a total ban on imports and eliminate oil imports from Russia within a maximum of six months. The ban applies to all Russian marine and pipeline oil, crude oil and refined oil.

According to Orbán’s letter:

“The adoption of the proposed sanctions will require a major development of alternative supply infrastructure and a complete reorganization of our refinery capacity. These efforts are time-consuming and require redundant investments that are precisely why they cannot be financed on a market basis. The downsizing of Russian fossil fuels will not be possible without strong and rapid investment in our energy infrastructure and an accelerated green transition. However, because of the sanctions, the necessary national resources should be reallocated to redundant fossil investments, while the European Union will only have adequate funding for us on paper.”

The letter also points out that energy prices are currently at a 40-year high, with sanctions leading to a further rise in energy prices and a further increase in the burden on the most vulnerable without the EU making substantial efforts to mitigate the effects.

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The Hungarian prime minister wrote that he believes that the most important value of the European Union’s response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has been the unity of the union. As he emphasized, the sixth sanctions package, which contains burdensome energy sanctions against Russia, undermines this unity.

Orbán added that the commission must not create a situation in which sanctions do more damage to Hungary than to Russia.

Hungary is not the only nation rejecting energy sanctions against Russia, with Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic, which are all highly reliant on Russian energy, either speaking out against the sanctions or rejecting them entirely.

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