Watch: Hungary 'Can’t Back Current Oil Embargo Plan'

  • 5 May 2022 6:41 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Watch: Hungary 'Can’t Back Current Oil Embargo Plan'
Hungary cannot responsibly support the European Commission's latest package of sanctions against Russia in its current form, the foreign minister has said, arguing that the sanctions would destroy Hungary's energy security.

Speaking from Uzbekistan, Péter Szijjártó said the latest sanctions package would “involve a ban on crude oil shipments from Russia to Europe with a rather short notice, which in Hungary’s case would apply from the end of next year”.

Hungary’s energy supply is currently secure and on a stable foundation, but this package “would destroy that completely”, making it impossible for Hungary to procure the amount of oil necessary to keep the economy running, he said.

“This is not a matter of a lack of political will, not a matter of intent, of duration, but simply physical, geographical and infrastructural reality,” Szijjártó said.

It is from Russia that Hungary can buy the necessary amount of oil via the existing pipelines, and even from a technological standpoint, only Russian oil can be refined in the country, he said.

The Hungarian government cannot responsibly vote for the latest sanctions package in its current form, Szijjártó said. In order for Hungary to support the measures, oil shipments via pipeline would have to be exempted from the embargo, he added.

EC Proposes Phased Oil Embargo on Russia

The European Commission is presenting its sixth package of sanctions against Russia, proposing a phased ban on importing oil from the country, which would take effect over a span of six months, along with banning oil products by the end of this year, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Phasing out Russian oil products gradually would increase pressure on Russia in response to its attack on Ukraine, but mitigate the worldwide economic fallout, Von der Leyen told the plenary session of the European Parliament discussing the social and economic consequences of the war.

Meanwhile, the EU will impose restrictions on high-ranking Russian military officers who committed war crimes in Bucha or are responsible for the siege of Mariupol, she said. The EC will also bar Sberbank and another two Russian banks from the international SWIFT payment network.

Three Russian state-owned broadcasters will be banned from all EU platforms and EU accountants and financial advisors will be barred from working for Russian companies, she said. Von der Leyen said Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine off the map, adding that he would not succeed, and he would pay a high price for the brutal aggression in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the EU has started drafting a large-scale reconstruction package to boost investment and reforms in Ukraine after the war, along with plans to provide short-term financial and budgetary aid, she said. The package would “pave Ukraine’s way into the EU,” she added.

Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi said in his address that while there was wide-spread consensus on using sanctions to put pressure on Russia, the EU had failed to address its dependence on Russian energy, and to strengthen solidarity among member states.

Besides focusing on dependence from Russia as a source of fossil fuel energy, Gyöngyösi proposed that EU member states should also terminate their contracts with Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company. Hungary should terminate its agreement on the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant, he said.

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