On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the EU was dropping an “atomic bomb” on Hungary’s economy by trying to ban Russian oil in its next round of sanctions.
The EU on Wednesday proposed a plan that would phase out the use of Russian oil by EU members by the end of 2022. Due to Hungary’s objections, Budapest would have until the end of 2023 to phase out Russian oil, but Orban has rejected the plan.
“This is an atomic bomb they want to drop on the Hungarian economy,” Orban said. The EU has already enacted a phased ban on Russian coal, and Orban said the bloc shouldn’t go further than that.
“They have crossed this red line, coal may not affect Hungary. But they just keep coming, you have to stop here,” he said. According to the International Energy Agency, nearly 60% of Hungary’s oil imports in 2021 came from Russia.
The EU as a whole is very reliant on Russian oil, and no matter how the ban is implemented, it will raise gas prices and have a significant impact on Russia’s economy.
Orban said that he also rejected the EU’s plan to sanction Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. “We will not allow church leaders to be put on a sanctions list,” he said.
The EU needs the consent of all 27 of its members to approve the new sanctions package. Orban said he could accept the new Russia sanctions besides the oil ban and the measures against Russian church leaders.