The new EU sanctions plan is tantamount to a “nuclear bomb” for Hungary’s economy, said the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Friday.
With the planned exit from Russian oil, the European Commission is trying to impose a uniform regulation on all 27 member countries, Orban told local radio station Telex. That would endanger the Hungarian economy because it ignores the local context, he said.
According to the latest sanctions draft, which still has to be approved by all member states, the EU states would have to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year. Hungary and Slovakia would get an extra year for this.
Orbán told the radio station he wanted a five-year delay for his country, arguing that the commission had failed to take into account that landlocked Hungary gets oil exclusively through pipelines, making it difficult to replace Russian oil.
Though he didn’t directly threaten to veto the package, he said Budapest would not approve the plans “until the Hungarian issue is resolved.”
The comments come as EU ambassadors meet in Brussels today to negotiate the sanctions package. Granting a longer phase-out period before the oil embargo comes into effect would be a bitter pill for many countries that argue the timeframe is already too long.
EU diplomats expect a long night of talks that could last until Saturday.
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