Oil sanctions plan is a ‘nuclear bomb’ for Hungarian economy – POLITICO

The new EU sanctions plan amounts to “a nuclear bomb” for the Hungarian economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday.

With its plan to phase out Russian oil, the European Commission is trying to impose a single rule on the 27 member countries, Orban Told public service radio station Kossuth Rádió. This would pose a threat to the Hungarian economy as it ignores the local context, he said.

According to the latest sanctions bill, which still needs to be approved by all member countries, EU countries should phase out Russian oil by the end of the year. Hungary and Slovakia would have an extra year to do so.

Orbán told the radio station that he wanted a five-year delay for his country, saying the Commission had not taken into account that landlocked Hungary receives oil exclusively through pipelines, which makes it more difficult to replacement of Russian oil.

Without directly threatening a veto against the package, he said Budapest would not approve the plans “until the Hungarian question is resolved”.

On Friday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev rented Orbán’s position on energy sanctions, as “a brave step for a silent Europe”.

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 takes effect would be a bitter pill to swallow for many countries who argue that the deadline is already too long.

European diplomats are expecting a long night of talks which could continue on Saturday.

This article has been updated.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the name of the radio station Viktor Orban has spoken. It was Kossut Radio.

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