Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán noted on Friday that EU sanctions against Russia backfired and called for rolling back the measures.
Orbán warned that the sanctions are ruining the EU economy, with energy prices soaring and driving up inflation, according to Reuters reporting on Friday.
Growth of energy prices forced Orbán earlier this week to curtail limits on utility prices, which were in place for years.
“Initially, I thought we had only shot ourselves in the foot, but now it is clear that the European economy has shot itself in the lungs, and it is gasping for air,” he pointed out in an interview on Friday.
Orbán noted that Europe has to help Ukraine, but stressed that sanctions have backfired and should be reconsidered. The measures are causing severe damage to European economies, he observed, but are not weakening Russia or getting us closer to the end of the war in Ukraine.
“The sanctions do not help Ukraine, however, they are bad for the European economy and if it goes on like this, they will kill off the European economy,” he warned and added “what we see right now is unbearable.”
EC should admit mistake
He called on EU leaders in Brussels to “admit they have made a miscalculation, that the sanctions policy was based on wrong assumptions and it must be changed.”
Defending the decision to curtail energy price caps for households with consumption above national average, he stressed that the move was necessary to prevent scrapping the entire utility price cap regime.
According to economists at US financial services company Morgan Stanley, Hungarian limits on utility prices could increase inflation by 1.5 percentage points. Inflation in Hungary is at the highest level in the last 20 years or so and rising.
Economists predicted earlier this year that utility price caps will cost Hungary up to 3.7 billion euro and add to the budget deficit.
Orbán pushed through regulations earlier this week to increase the tax rate for small companies as part of the plan to bring deficit under control, which sparked several protests in the capital.He faces one of the most difficult challenges since taking office in 2010, with rising inflation, a weak forint and access to recovery funds uncertain over disputes with EU leaders in Brussels.