The head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, went to Budapest, where she went to support his embargo to convince his most vocal opponent, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. After the meeting, she said that she saw progress in negotiations with Hungary.
Last Wednesday, as part of a sixth package of sanctions for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Commission proposed to end Russian oil imports by the end of this year. However, the measures that are supposed to deprive President Vladimir Putin’s regime of a significant part of the funding for military aggression have refused to support Budapest and Bratislava, and Prague has come up with additional conditions. The Commission granted the first two countries an exemption until the end of 2024, and the Czech Republic until the middle of the same year.
However, Hungary refused to support the embargo during the last Sunday’s meeting of EU ambassadors, which was repeated today by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, according to MTI, according to which “Hungarians must not pay for war”.
According to economist Lukáš Kovanda, the Hungarian position at this stage can only be the result of Budapest’s efforts to blackmail the rest of the EU for a while and negotiate further benefits for itself before withdrawing from its embargo veto.
The Commission is now preparing a new proposal that member states could have on the table on Tuesday. According to the mentioned source Reuters, it could include a promise of new investments in oil infrastructure, which would provide the new EU countries with an alternative supply of oil. Von der Leyen went to Budapest to personally convince Orbán that even his country, with which Brussels has long-standing disputes over fears of violating European values, should support the embargo.
“The evening discussion with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán helped to clarify issues related to sanctions and energy security. We have made progress, but more work is needed,” von der Leyen wrote after the Twitter meeting. She added that she would convene a video conference with other countries in the region to strengthen cooperation on oil infrastructure.
The head of the EC originally planned to announce the approval of new sanctions today during the speech on Europe Day, but unlike previous anti-Russian sanctions packages, they face disunity due to economic concerns.
According to Reuters, the EU executive is also considering removing the ban on the transport of Russian oil by EU tankers from the latest package, which bothered Greece, Cyprus and Malta. The proposal was intended to make it much more difficult for Russia to transport oil to Asian markets, for example, but some countries feared that European ships would take over the business of companies from other countries.
Source: EuroZprávy.cz by eurozpravy.cz.
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