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Deutsch hails protection of cap on utility bills

Kovacs: EU decision on oil embargo a win for common sense

The decision made by European leaders on the EU embargo of Russian oil is a victory for common sense, Zoltan Kovacs, the state secretary for international communication and relations, told BBC Radio 4 late on Tuesday.

Hungary is not blocking further sanctions against Russia, but any that are imposed will have to be based on common sense and the recognition that there are limits to what can be done when it comes to sanctions on energy, Kovacs said. This doesn’t just apply to Hungary, but several other European Union member states as well, he added.

Landlocked EU countries like Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic depend heavily on Russian energy supply and are simply not in a position to impose immediate sanctions, Kovacs said.

He said the “golden rule” was that Europe should not impose sanctions that hurt it more than they would hurt Russia.

No one can ask Hungary to approve sanctions that would ruin its economy and Hungarian households, the state secretary said.

Put to him that Russian oil deliveries would not have been cut off overnight and that countries would have been given time to secure alternative energy supplies, Kovacs said Hungary had made it clear that such a changeover could not even have been implemented over the next four to five years, let alone by the end of this year.

Deutsch hails protection of cap on utility bills

Tamas Deutsch, head of the Fidesz delegation in the European Parliament, has hailed Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s firm stance on the EU’s sixth sanctions package against Russia that had allowed Hungary to “protect the cap on household utility bills”.

“We have succeeded in protecting Hungarian interests against Brussels’ irresponsible proposal for an oil embargo which would have made Hungarian families pay the price of war,” Deutsch said in a statement.

The mandate handed to the government in the April general election helps it “succeed in even the most difficult battles fought in defence of Hungarian national interests in Brussels”, he said.

Deutsch said Hungary had succeeded in defeating the proposal for a full-scale embargo on Russian oil “even in spite of enormous political pressure from those supporting the mad plans coming from Brussels”.

The solution represented by Hungary’s prime minister is not just a guarantee for the protection of the utility bill caps for Hungarian families, but it also strengthens the idea of European unity, Deutsch said, arguing that taking into consideration the national interests of EU member states was the fundamental idea behind the bloc.

The MEP insisted that Hungary’s opposition left-wing parties would have been prepared to give up national interests, give in to political pressure and support a decision that would have hurt Hungarians. He said this meant that the left would have made Hungarians pay the price of the war in Ukraine.

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