Hungary issues Russia sanctions warning to EU
Budapest refuses to negotiate any further EU restrictions targeting Russian energy because there is no current alternative to supplies from Moscow, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Saturday.
The EU has slapped several rounds of sanctions on Moscow in response to the conflict in Ukraine, and is pushing for a complete phasing-out of energy supplies from Russia.
“We’re not even willing to negotiate any sanctions on energy, be it oil or gas,” Szijjarto said at an economic forum in Tihany, adding that “the courage of the Hungarian government” has helped Budapest to withstand pressure from Brussels.
“There is no security of energy supply to Europe without using Russian sources,” Szijjarto stated, arguing that Russian gas cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future.
The foreign minister added that the “largely misguided sanctions response” to Russia’s military campaign is one of the factors driving up inflation and contributing to a global recession.
Hungary, whose economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas from Russia, was exempted from an EU-wide ban on Russian crude in May. The bloc banned the import of oil by sea, but Hungary continues to receive the commodity via a pipeline.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last month that Europe has “shot itself in the lungs” with its ill-considered sanctions against Russia.