Orban: Europe 'shot itself in the lungs' with sanctions on Russia
The European Union has "shot itself in the lungs" with imprudent economic sanctions on Russia, which risk destroying the European economy if not rolled back, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions by the West, gas supplies to Europe have tightened and fuel costs have increased, leaving countries scrabbling to refill storage and look for other supply channels.
The surge in prices pushed Orban on Wednesday to curtail a years-long cap on utility prices for higher-usage households, removing one of the prime minister's signature economic policies.
"Initially, I thought we had only shot ourselves in the foot, but now it is clear that the European economy has shot itself in the lungs, and it is gasping for air," Orban told public radio in an interview.
Read: Hungary urges EU to ditch sanctions policy, resort to diplomacy
The prime minister said European leaders should rethink their strategy, due to the widespread damage caused to the European economy.
"The sanctions do not help Ukraine, however, they are bad for the European economy and if it goes on like this, they will kill off the European economy," he said. "What we see right now is unbearable."
"The moment of truth must come in Brussels when leaders admit they have made a miscalculation, that the sanctions policy was based on wrong assumptions and it must be changed."
Re-elected in April, Orban said that without Wednesday's curbs, which would lead to a rise in energy costs for households consuming energy, the entire utility price cap regime would have to be scrapped.