EU ‘committing economic suicide’ with oil ban as Orban ally slams out of touch Commission

Viktor Orban ally slams EU oil embargo on Russia

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The European Union reached an agreement on a partial embargo on Russia’s oil, with an immediate ban on seaborne oil that covers about two-thirds of Russian imports to the EU. In defiance of Vladimir Putin, European Council President Charles Michel said at a news conference: “We want to put a stop to the Russian war machine and stop financing the Russian military capacity.” But opponents to the ban warn it will backfire on European energy consumers with higher energy prices to come, as most EU countries have not yet fully transitioned to other sources of oil. That was the main concern of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban whose country got a near-total exemption from the new embargo.

Mr Orban’s ally, MEP Balázs Hidvégi, hit out at the European Commission on the BBC: “Europe cannot commit economic suicide and make grand declarations in an irresponsible way.

“We’ve already seen how much harm this is causing to European people, families, and businesses.

“Let me remind you and your viewers that your minister, minister Sunak just announced an extra tax in the UK to help poor people because of soaring energy prices.

“So, when you make decisions like that, you really have to take into account the economic reality and realities of the energy sector.”

“And you cannot make irresponsible propositions”, MEP Hidvégi added.

“I think the European Commission proposed complete oil embargo in an irresponsible way without prior consultation and without enough attention to detail and to the reality of people’s lives in Europe.”

Upon hearing about Mr Orban’s opt-out of the Russian oil embargo, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Viktor Orban cares more about Russian oil than Ukrainian blood.

When confronted with that statement, Mr Hidvégi said: “It’s a simplistic way of putting things.”

“And while I understand the Ukrainian president’s attempt to try and draw in as many players as many countries and organisations in this conflict as possible, we need to maintain our realism.

“And our primary responsibility is for Hungarians.

“Even if we want to help Ukraine and we want to reduce our dependence on Russian energy, then we need to be able to maintain our economic strength and also defend our own people.

“We cannot just commit economic suicide and put millions of businesses and people out of work and out of an activity because of an EU conceived and hastily created sanctions like this one.”

Questioning the efficacy of EU’s sanctions, Mr Hidvégi said: “So far actually, if you see the sanctions, what they have caused, they have caused energy prices to soar.”

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Mr Hidvégi continued: “This actually guarantees Russia more income. You see that the rouble is in fact getting stronger.

“So, I raise several serious questions about the actual success of the sanctions so far.

“If you do not want to enter into war with Russia – NATO has said it did not want to – then you need to look for other solutions.

“But you cannot ruin yourself more, or hurt yourself more, than the one you want to hurt.

“These are not good propositions”, Mr Hidvégi concluded.

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