EU may compensate Hungary for refusing Russian oil – Politico
Hungary remains one of those countries that most of all block the introduction of a complete embargo on Russian oil for the EU countries. The EU is looking for ways to force the official Budapest to agree to the imposition of sanctions.
The European Union has so far introduced five packages of sanctions against Russia because of the war against Ukraine. However, it will be adopted on April 8, 2022. Since then, there has been talk of a sixth package of sanctions, which should include an embargo on the supply of Russian oil. After all, the proceeds from its sale make up a considerable amount that fills the Russian budget, and this money is spent on the war against Ukraine.
But so far the European countries have failed to reach a consensus. Hungary opposes the imposition of an embargo on the supply of Russian oil. The local president, Viktor Orban, is quite close to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. In addition, Budapest has many other disputes with the EU leadership, but its decision to agree to a ban on Russian oil in the country is explained by its significant dependence on Russian energy supplies.
The EU was ready to make significant concessions to Hungary in this issue. As in Slovakia. Both countries are indeed quite dependent on the supply of Russian fossil fuels. Therefore, they were given until the end of 2024 to impose an embargo. Czech Republic, for example, until June 2024. But the rest of the countries – until the end of 2022.
But even this did not force the Hungarian authorities to agree to this. They continue to argue that the rejection of Russian oil will be a “nuclear strike” for their economy. And they assure that they need more time.
Money in exchange for agreements
Brussels is considering the possibility of allocating additional funding for Hungary in exchange for supporting the embargo on the supply of Russian oil. This is planned to be done as part of an energy strategy called REPowerEU. It aims to gradually end the bloc's dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The dispute between Hungary and the EU for money
It should be noted that the European Union has launched a procedure to reduce funding for Hungary. The reason is corruption in the country. After Viktor Orban came to power, there was a significant consolidation of power in the hands of the prime minister and his Fidesz party, and funds from the EU ended up in the accounts of people close to Orban.
However, the EU assures that the discussion about additional funding for Hungary has nothing to do with the reduction in spending for the country due to violation of the rule of law. And during the negotiations, these issues were not raised.
It is not yet known whether Hungary accepted the new proposal from the EU. The sixth package of sanctions against Russia will be discussed by the foreign ambassadors of the countries at a joint meeting.
Whether the embargo on the supply of Russian oil will be included in the sixth package of sanctions is unknown. The Financial Times reports that this issue has been removed from the sanctions list. Moreover, they did it not only because of the position of Hungary, but also of Greece and Malta.