Hungary blocks oil embargo

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to Budapest for a flying visit on Monday evening. The EU needs Hungary's vote for the embargo of Russian oil announced last week. Viktor Orbán, however, is still opposing the move. Commentators suspect various motives.

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Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Nothing will be gained from destroying the economy

Magyar Nemzet is against an import ban:

“Would an energy embargo stop the Russian tanks? Of course not, because in total Gazprom has already earned more money this year than last year due to exploding energy prices. Neither Slovakia nor the Czech Republic, nor Bulgaria nor Croatia can get by without Russian energy. ... Italy, Austria and Germany would also pay a very high price. ... An embargo would not help to end the war at all, while it is only a little exaggerated to say that Europe's economy is being ruined just as Ukraine's is.”

Portfolio (HU) /

EU funds also at stake

The Hungarian government's position is related to its dispute with Brussels, the business portal Portfolio explains:

“All in all it seems that Viktor Orbán has linked the question of the EU oil embargo and the ongoing negotiations on Hungary's reconstruction programme in order to get a clearer picture regarding the outcome of the rule of law debate. ... It is not yet clear how much EU money Hungary can count on, or when. As a result, it is also partly unclear how the transformation of the oil refinery and the Hungarian energy system resulting from the oil embargo are to be financed.”

Večernji list (HR) /

One hand washing the other

Večernji list suspects that Hungary's blockade of the EU oil embargo against Russia has to do with Orbán's ties to Putin:

“It seems that above all the personal interests of Orbán and his inner circle are behind the resistance to the oil embargo. Packaged in nationalism, as always. ... If the EU stopped buying Russian oil, it would be a major blow to Putin, and Orbán wants to avoid that at all costs. So it's legitimate to ask what 'deals' these people have with Russia regarding oil supplies - and what personal benefit they derive from them. The question is what Putin has offered or given to Orbán and his entourage to make them so keen on protecting him from an embargo.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Even the Višegrad partners are turning away

Hungary is increasingly become a pariah in the EU, writes Jutarnji list:

“Budapest is not allowing the transport of military aid [to Ukraine] across its territory, and is resisting attempts to increase pressure on Russia. In view of this Poland wants nothing more to do with Orbán, and even the Czech Republic and Slovakia are turning away. On Monday in Brussels there was a non-paper from the smaller member states against the idea of changing the EU's fundamental treaties, but no one invited Hungary to join in. ... German, French and Italian leaders openly talk about not shying away from a two-speed Europe. Orbán's Hungary would be the third speed Europe in this context, one that everyone turns away from, a renegade.”