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LMP: Compromise on EU embargo 'acceptable but not green'

Think-tank: Hungary notches up ‘serious success’ in Brussels

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has successfully enforced Hungary's interests in Brussels, a senior analyst of the Twenty-First Century Institute said on Tuesday, noting that the European Commission's original proposal for an oil embargo failed to pass, while the approved sanctions package exempts crude oil delivered via pipelines.

Daniel Deak said Hungary will be able to maintain the price cap on utility fees and petrol, and Hungarians would not have to pay the price of the Ukraine-Russia war. Other countries in the region will also benefit from the exemption, he added.

The analyst said the EU’s original sanctions plan would have caused unemployment, disruptions to supplies, a food crisis, and further soaring inflation, he added.

Deak said that the Hungarian government’s approach was pragmatic and protected the interests of the Hungarian nation as well as those of the rest of Europe, he added.

The introduction of the oil embargo at the end of this year, he said, was unlikely to stop Russian attacks against Ukraine since the Russian economy had “sufficient reserves for several years” and Russia could sell crude oil and gas to other countries such as China.

He said Orbán had maintained a coherent position from the start of the war, namely that he did not want Hungarian people to pay the price of the war.

LMP: Compromise on EU embargo ‘acceptable but not green’

The compromise by European leaders on the EU embargo of Russian oil “is acceptable but it will not promote a shift to green energy”, Peter Ungar, group leader of opposition LMP, told a press conference on Tuesday. The agreement will ensure that none of the member states’ economies suffer serious damage, though “dependence on Russian fossil fuels will be replaced by … dependence on fossil fuels from the United States, Canada, and Arab states,” Ungar said.

Financing for adapting refineries to cater for oil from other countries should instead be spent on developing alternative energy sources, he argued.

Ungar said he supported “cutting funds which indirectly finance Russia’s military operations”, but the position of “leaders who struck energy deals with Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014” was “hypocritical” in this regard.

Ungar also slammed other Hungarian opposition politicians who, he insisted, “naively watched” developments in the EU. The decisions by EU member states were “not made based on moral considerations” but on national interests influenced by industrial lobbies, and they often used Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s veto policy as cover.

Fidesz: Left would have ‘gone along with’ EU oil embargo

The left wing, as in the past, failed to support Hungarian interests, and their statements make plain they would have endorsed “the Brussels plan” and gone along with the oil embargo, making ordinary Hungarian pay the price of the war as a result, a ruling Fidesz lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Hungary achieved “another great success” at the European Union summit on Monday night, protecting the public utility price cap and preventing another “insane plan by Brussels”, Erik Banki said in a video statement.

He said prices were soaring in Europe as a result of the protracted war and “Brussels’ sanctions”.

“In such a situation, it is natural to reject further price increases induced by higher oil prices,” he added.

He said that without oil, Hungary’s economy would come to a halt and there would be “no fuel, no petrol and no diesel”.

“The left wing yet again did not side with Hungarian interests, and their statements clearly show that they would have approved Brussels’ plans and would have gone along with an oil embargo,” he said. Hungarians would have been made to pay the price of war, he added.

He cited remarks by opposition Jobbik EP Marton Gyongyosi and Momentum politician Szabolcs Szabo, adding that “it is impossible not to notice that unconditional nodding and full compliance with Brussels are a far cry from Hungarian interests.”

The Fidesz politician accused the left wing of giving priority to European interests as against Hungarian interests.

He added that thanks to the record-high number of votes for the ruling parties in the recent general election, the government enjoyed unparallelled support, enabling Hungary “ensure that the European decision on the oil embargo takes Hungarian interests into consideration”.

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