Hungary cannot responsibly support the European Commission’s latest package of sanctions against Russia in its current form, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday, arguing that the sanctions would destroy Hungary’s energy security.
The latest round of sanctions proposed by the commission includes a range of new restrictions against Russian and Belarusian organizations and individuals, bans on the import and export of various products as well as restrictions on certain economic activities, Szijjártó said in a video message from the Tashkent airport.
“We can live with these measures, although we could debate their effectiveness, but now is not the time for smart-talking given that there’s a war going on in our neighbourhood,” Szijjártó said. “At the same time, the sanctions would also involve a ban on crude oil shipments from Russia to Europe with a rather short notice, which in Hungary’s case would apply from the end of next year.”
Hungary’s energy supply is currently secure and on a stable foundation, but this sanctions package “would destroy that completely”, making it impossible for Hungary to procure the amount of oil necessary to keep the economy running, the minister said.
“This is not a question of a lack of political will, not a matter of intent, of duration, but simply physical, geographical and infrastructural reality,” Szijjártó said.
It is from Russia that Hungary can buy the necessary amount of oil via the existing pipelines, and even from a technological standpoint, only Russian oil can be refined in the country, he said.
The Hungarian government cannot responsibly vote for the latest sanctions package in its current form, Szijjártó said. In order for Hungary to support the measures, oil shipments via pipeline would have to be exempted from the embargo, he added.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page