EU Commissioner slams Hungary for freezing Russia assets worth $3,000
The European Commissioner for Justice says 90% of frozen Russian assets fall on six EU states only.
Hungary has frozen Russian assets worth only 3,000 euros ($3,000), while some other EU member states have frozen "billions" — a gap that must be bridged, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders told French broadcaster La Chaine Info (LCI) on Monday.
"To date, in Europe, we [EU member states] have frozen 14.5 billion euros. However, 90% of this amount falls on six states, that is, we need to work with the rest, which either did not freeze or did not report it ... I can give the example of Hungary, where only 3,000 euros have been frozen," the commissioner told the broadcaster.
According to Reynders, the most assets worth 3.5 billion euros have been frozen by Belgium. Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, and Ireland have also frozen over a billion each.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Western countries and their allies have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow. The measures included freezing Russia's foreign currency reserves and halting international payments from Russian banks.
A few days ago, Tamas Menczer, the Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said during a televised interview that "Reality knocks on the door of every country," while describing how EU sanctions on Russia have backfired on member states, predicting the ease of sanctions on Moscow in the upcoming EU sanctions' policy review in autumn.
Menczer pointed out that Hungary opposed a price cap on Russian gas, calling it ridiculous, stating that EU sanctions triggered a spike in energy prices that increased Moscow's revenues while Europe faced energy shortages.
Hungary sees EU sanctions on Russia as self-defeating
Budapest has repeatedly criticized the EU's sanctions on Russia. In late July, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban considered that sanctions have not shaken Moscow's resolve.
Orban implied that the sanctions are self-defeating and will only hurt Europe, urging the EU to ditch the sanctions policy and resort to diplomacy.
However, Hungary's stance on Russia may get it in trouble in the EU. According to Czech European Affairs Minister, Mikulas Bek, Hungary's stance on Russia and the war in Ukraine could potentially see it exiting the European Union.
"Negotiations are often tough in the EU, and many countries could engage in them. But Hungary, in my opinion, has come a long way, reaching the edge of an abyss, and now it has to decide whether to go back from that edge or risk a jump, the consequences of which I don’t even want to speculate on," Bek considered.
Regarding whether Hungary could leave the EU altogether, Bek said it's theoretically possible.
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