Gergely Gulyas – Photo: MTI

Gulyas: Sanctioning energy imports ‘ill-advised’

According to the Hungarian government maintaining the unity of the European Union is important, but the community's rolling out its sanctions against Russia to energy imports has been an "ill-advised decision", Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said in a panel discussion at the 31st Balvanyos Summer University at Romania's Baile Tusnad (Tusnadfurdo) on Wednesday.

Gulyas warned that Europe could lose its competitive edge due to impacts of the war.

The Hungarian government stands for Ukraine’s sovereignty as laid out in the 1994 Budapest Agreement, Gulyas said, adding that Hungary’s national security strategy required “for there to be a country” between Hungary and Russia.

“In such difficult times Europe’s political unity must be maintained,” Gulyas said, but called for “the right kind of unity”, which facilitates a sustainable economy. Energy sanctions “do not or hardly harm” Russia, but they could compromise the European economy, he insisted.

The EU pledged help to Ukraine with its reconstruction, but if the energy crisis destroys its economy and the community falls into political instability, the EU will “not be in a state to assist anybody”, Gulyas said.

Former Romanian PM Ludovic Orban criticised endeavours to build a federal Europe and said the community cannot be unified unless each member benefits. He also said unwelcome majority decisions should not be forced on members through eliminating the right of members’ veto.

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