EU's Russia oil ban proposal crosses "red line": Hungary PM
Hungary's Prime Minister says the EU's newest proposed embargo on Russian oil would amount to "a nuclear bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy."
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blasted Friday the European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen for "attacking" EU unity with a plan to ban Russian oil, saying it crosses a red line.
On state radio, Orban considered that "The European Commission president, intentionally or unintentionally, has attacked the European unity that had been worked out."
"From the first moment we made clear that there will be a red line... they have crossed this red line," he affirmed.
"Nuclear bomb" dropped on Hungarian economy
On Wednesday, Von der Leyen proposed to the EU's 27 members a ban on Russian oil imports over the war in Ukraine.
She confirmed that the bloc would "phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months, and refined products by the end of the year."
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Hungary and Slovakia - both highly dependent on Moscow's oil exports - would have until the end of 2023.
The embargo would amount to "a nuclear bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy," Orban expressed, adding that the proposed exemption for Hungary until the end of 2023 is not long enough.
"The transformation of the Hungary energy transmission and supply system could be completed in five years," he noted.
Orban: "I do not want to confront the EU"
On his part, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto indicated in a video message posted on his Facebook page that Budapest would back the proposal if crude oil delivered via pipelines was exempted from the EU's ban.
"I avoid the word 'veto', I do not want to confront the EU. We are interested in a constructive dialogue," said Orban, who was re-elected for a fourth straight term as premier last month.
He mentioned that the EU proposal has been returned to Von der Leyen "to work on further."
The Hungarian Prime Minister also protested against including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirillin the sanctions package.
"We will not allow church leaders to be put on a sanctions list," stressed Orban.
According to Budapest, 65% of Hungary's oil and 85% of its gas supplies come from Russia.