Hungarian MEP Tamás Deutsch heavily criticized the EU sanctions against Russia during the debate following Ursula von der Leyen’s speech in Strasbourg.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, delivered her annual State of the European Union address at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
In her speech, Von der Leyen praised the EU’s “united, determined, and immediate” answer when Russia attacked Ukraine. “Let us be very clear: much is at stake here. Not just for Ukraine – but for all of Europe and the world at large (…) This is a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future. This is about autocracy against democracy,” she said.
Ursula von der Leyen promised that “Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable.”
“The months ahead of us will not be easy. Be it for families who are struggling to make ends meet, or businesses that are facing tough choices about the future,” the President of the Commission said. With regard to the energy crisis, she stressed the importance of renewable energy and the European Green Deal.
“It is my Commission’s duty and the most noble role to protect the rule of law, so let me assure you — we will keep insisting on judicial independence and we will make sure that we protect our budget through the conditionality mechanism,” Von der Leyen said, most probably referring to the procedures against Hungary and Poland.
The only Hungarian MEP to address the debate was Tamás Deutsch, the head of Hungary’s governing Fidesz delegation.
“We Hungarians, as sons of a nation that suffered both German and Soviet occupation, know exactly what it is like to fight for independence in the face of aggression. As a Jewish Hungarian child of a Holocaust survivor, I know exactly what the inhuman destruction of war is like. We are all on the side of the attacked,” he said.
Deutsch reminded that “when EU sanctions were adopted at the beginning of the summer, the European Commission promised that sanctions would bring Russia to its knees.” “You promised that sanctions would bring an end to the war,” he added.
“Well, we are still not seeing the end of the war, but the energy bills of the European people have skyrocketed,” Deutsch pointed out, adding that “Russia, meanwhile, has seen unprecedented revenues from the rise in energy prices.” “Since the sanctions were imposed, inflation has been rising, Europeans have become poorer, and Russia has become richer. Europe is facing a crisis and energy shortages,” he explained.
“Madam President, this is not what the Commission promised when it introduced the sanctions,” the Fidesz politician added.
In his second remark at the end of the debate, Deutsch said that “capping the price of imported gas is yet another sanction that would further reduce the already tight supply of gas, which is an absurd idea on the eve of the heating season.” Referring to Von der Leyen’s suggestion that European families struggling with unaffordable energy bills should send their bills to Moscow, he said that “with the sanctions backfiring, with inflation rocketing as a result, with the Commission’s inaction, Europeans will be sending their utility bills to Brussels to be paid by you.”
Featured photo via the European Parliament