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20 Feb, 2023 06:54

Hungary identifies EU’s ‘true’ enemy

If the bloc wants to go to war, it should fight inflation, Prime Minister Viktor Orban suggested
Hungary identifies EU’s ‘true’ enemy

Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine have failed to end the conflict, but have instead wreaked havoc on Europe’s economy and driven up inflation, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said.

Posting on his Facebook page on Sunday, Orban offered a scathing criticism of EU sanctions, claiming the bloc is struggling to tackle inflation due to the restrictions Brussels has introduced in the energy sector. “The name of the disease is… inflation, and the virus is called the Brussels sanctions,” he said.

Orban branded the sanctions “the weapons of Brussels’ war policy,” adding that while the EU was using this tool to target Russia, it has harmed itself instead.

“It was not so long ago that Brussels promised that these sanctions would bring an end to the war. A year has passed, and the end of the war is not getting closer, it is getting further away,” the prime minister insisted.

Orban went on to say that while the EU authorities promised that the sanctions would not be extended to the energy sector, in the end they were, sending natural gas prices up to record levels.

The premier also pointed out that gas partly dictates the cost of electricity. “The increase in gas prices is therefore immediately accompanied by an increase in the price of electricity, even if the electricity was not produced with gas turbines, but with solar energy, wind, hydropower, coal power plants or nuclear energy,” he noted.

“If Brussels wants to go to war, it should fight inflation. It doesn't,” Orban claimed, adding that the Hungarian authorities are doing their best to protect families and companies from the economic fallout.

Hungary, a country heavily dependent on Russian energy, has repeatedly spoken against the sanctions the EU has imposed on Moscow since it started its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022. Budapest has argued that the restrictions have failed to meaningfully weaken Russia, while damaging the European economy.

In late January, Orban also signaled that Hungary would veto any EU sanctions targeting Russia’s nuclear energy sector. Budapest has also resisted the bloc’s plans to completely ban oil and gas imports from Russia, receiving several exemptions on procuring fossil fuels from the country.