Hungary to veto EU proposal to boycott Russian energy

Hungary to veto EU proposal to boycott Russian energy
Viktor Orbán. Credit: Belga

The European Commission is keen to phase out Russian oil imports by the this year. However, this move could be undone by Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

A senior Hungarian minister in Orbán's government announced on Sunday that any EU proposal to restrict Russian oil and gas will get a veto from Hungary.

Hungary is dependent on Russian energy and opposes any moves to limit restrictions on Russian energy.

"We have made it clear that we will never support a proposal 'to extend EU sanctions against Russia to the energy sector'," politician Gergely Gulyás told Hungarian broadcaster HirTV.

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The European Commission announced plans to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year, it was reported on Saturday.

However, the Commission's agenda could be derailed by the Eastern European country. "Given that such decisions require unanimity, it makes no sense for the European Commission to propose sanctions on natural gas and crude oil that would limit Hungarian purchases," Gulyás said.

Hungary's government has agreed to pay Russia in roubles, which will keep Russia's currency afloat, despite EU sanctions. Russia cut off gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday after the two countries refused to pay with the Russian currency.

Orbán walks a tightrope between its neutral stance to the war in Russia and its relations to the EU, as ties between the block and Russia have quickly deteriorated.

The country is at risk of further alienating the West while being in the midst of an unrelated ongoing row on the issues of the rule of law and freedom of the press, as the country's far-right government moves away from democratic and human rights standards required by EU membership.

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