EU leaders and the European Commission should assess the impact of European sanctions against Moscow on individual member states, especially in the context of the current energy crisis. This was stated by Balázs Orbán, senior adviser to the Hungarian Prime Minister.
“Sanctions are rational if they hurt Russia more than Europe, […] but it shouldn’t be automaticBalázs Orbán (not related to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán) said in an interview with EURACTIV after last week’s EU summit.
“European leaders should discuss, the European Commission should carry out an analysis on the effects of the sanctions“, he added.
Last week, Member States agreed on a ninth sanctions package against Russia, which is considered by some to be the least severe to have been adopted so far.
Viktor Orbán has previously called on the EU to reverse all sanctions against Russia, and Hungarian politicians have cited Budapest’s dependence on Russian energies as justification for the country’s need to maintain closer ties with Moscow.
The Hungarian government has launched a controversial national consultation, currently underway, to ask citizens whether or not they agree with the government’s opposition to EU sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The results of this consultation are expected in January, the adviser confirmed.
“Before we agree on the 10th or 11th package, we should […] have a serious discussion about the effects of sanctionsBalázs Orbán believes, adding that this should be done before the next European summit.
Bloc leaders are expected to meet in early February for an extraordinary EU summit in Brussels to discuss migration, given the rise in the number of asylum seekers and the desire to see an EU-wide solution .
“Energy is an exclusion zone for ussaid the adviser, before adding that Hungary will seek further waivers in areas where “sanctions hurt Europe more than Russia“.
Budapest last week also blocked the addition of three Russian officials to the EU sanctions list, including the Minister of I’Energy of the Kremlin.
Asked about the reason behind this opposition to the addition of the Russian Minister of I’Energy on Sanctions ListViktor Orbán’s senior adviser said it would be “simply unacceptable from the point of view of Hungarian energy security“.
“We are negotiating with him on Hungarian energy, so how can we put him on the sanctions list?»
Relations with the Visegrad Group
Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Polish and Hungarian governments, previously close allies, have been at odds on some issues.
Indeed, Warsaw has been one of Kyiv’s biggest allies and supporters, often criticizing Budapest’s desire to maintain good relations with Moscow and its opposition to some EU sanctions.
“After the start of the war, there was a period of cooling [dans les relations entre les deux pays]but we are making great efforts to rebuild the cooperationsaid Balázs Orbán when asked about disagreements with Poland.
The Prime Ministers of the four Visegrad Group countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) met last month. This meeting took place in a tense context due to the emergence of fractures within the group due to Hungary’s approach to the war in Ukraine.
However, the goal of the four countries, which is to represent Central Europe, has not changed, said Orbán’s senior adviser.
[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]
Hungary wants an analysis of the impact of sanctions against Russia