Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungary maintains its veto on EU’s plan to impose an embargo on Russian oil after the meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday.
Péter Szijjártó, Foreign Minister of Hungary, pointed out that the European Commission did not present a new proposal on planned sanctions, according to Reuters reporting on Monday.
“The European Commission has caused a problem with a proposal so it’s a rightful expectation from Hungary… that the EU should offer a solution,” Szijjártó pointed out.
He stressed the importance of providing compensation for negative effects of the planned embargo, noting that the move will drive up energy prices further.
Szijjártó pointed out that Hungary would have to modernise its energy infrastructure to maintain energy security after the proposed embargo and predicted that this would cost between 15 and 18 billion euro.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, pointed out that Hungary’s argument against the move is based on economic rather than political concerns.
Additional arms for Ukraine
He noted that EU foreign ministers agreed to spend an additional 500 million euro on weapons for Ukraine, which brings the bloc’s pledges for that purpose to 2 billion.
Borrell concluded that the EU has to wean itself off Russian energy imports, stressing that the dependency “makes us very vulnerable.”
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock expressed belief that EU member states will reach an agreement on the planned embargo in the coming days.
According to her Lithuanian counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis, Hungary is holding the EU hostage. He stressed that the bloc must reach an agreement and concluded “we cannot be held hostage.”
Some EU diplomats expressed hope that an agreement could be reached at the summit later this month, predicting that member states will agree to phase out Russian oil imports over six months or so.
They added that longer transition periods would be allowed for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The US and the UK imposed the embargo, while the EU banned the import of Russian coal.
The proposed embargo would be the EU’s harshest response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine since the start of the war.