Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungary has warned the European Commission about problems with EU’s planned embargo on Russian oil.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán noted in a letter to EC President Ursula von der Leyen that the country cannot support the bloc’s plan “in its current form,” according to Financial Times reporting on Thursday.
In the letter, Orbán warned that Hungary would need “a serious upgrade in alternative supply infrastructure and a complete rearrangement of our refinery capacities” to be able to implement proposed sanctions.
“These efforts take time and necessitate investment that is redundant and therefore cannot be financed on a market basis,” he added and stressed “neither Hungary nor the EU as a whole is ready to adopt and implement the measures as proposed by the Commission.”
According to Orbán, the bloc should implement the sanctions after all member states have prepared to handle the consequences. He warned that proposed sanctions would further drive up energy prices in the bloc and pointed out that the EU has not prepared mitigating measures.
Talks with Hungary
The EC discussed proposed measures with Hungary on Thursday, with EU diplomats expressing belief that an agreement could be reached in the coming days and adding that the EU could provide funding for construction of new infrastructure.
Commenting on Hungarian representatives, one EU diplomat pointed out “they are tough negotiators but ultimately open to compromise” and noted “we have already agreed five sanctions packages with Hungary.”
Orbán warned that proposed sanctions against the Russian oil industry would harm Hungary more than Russia, Reuters reports Thursday.
He warned that the package of measures undermines unity of the EU and added that approving the package would be a historic failure.
Several eastern EU member states expressed concern that the plan does not allow enough time to diversify supply and modify infrastructure, which would be needed to phase out Russian energy imports.
Hungary previously announced it would support the plan only if import of Russian crude oil via pipelines was exempt, stressing that it cannot support measures that would jeopardise its energy security.The bloc is discussing the sixth package of sanctions against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.