Budapest not to back Russian oil ban over energy concerns
Hungary's foreign minister says his country will withhold its vote for the latest EU anti-Russian sanctions unless a solution is found to Hungary's concerns over its energy security.
Hungary will not vote for a new package of EU sanctions that includes a ban on Russian oil unless Brussels offers Budapest options to ensure energy security, the Hungarian government stressed in a statement on Monday.
On May 4, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions, which needs to be unanimously approved by the bloc's member states to take effect.
Among other sanctions, the package suggests banning Russian oil imports, which countries such as Hungary and Slovakia have repeatedly said they are not ready to do immediately and requested exemptions.
The statement confirmed that “The foreign minister said Hungary will withhold its vote for the latest EU package of sanctions unless a solution is found to Hungary's concerns over its energy security."
According to the statement, the ban on Russian oil would largely affect the Hungarian economy, prompting the petrol prices to jump to $1.93 per liter.
Earlier on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter told Sputnik that the EU Permanent Representatives Committee had failed to reach an agreement on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia during the Sunday meeting due to Budapest's objections.
The source added that the EU Commission proposed an extension to Hungary up to the end of 2024 to phase out Russian oil. However, Budapest requested a longer adaptation period for the ban or a total exemption from it.
On May 6, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban noted that his country needs at least five years to reorient oil supplies from other sources.
According to the International Energy Agency, Russian oil accounted for 40.5% of overall Hungarian oil imports in 2021.