Russian oil ban in shambles as Hungary ‘handicapping’ bloc – ‘Killing EU credibility’ | World | News

All 27 EU countries need to be in favour of Ursula von der Leyen’s plan to ban nearly all imports of Russian crude oil within six months and processed fuels by the end of the year. Slovakia and Hungary are currently the EU nations holding back plans to sanction Russia for the conflict in Ukraine by stopping gas imports as they are almost 100 percent reliant on Russian gas supplies.

Slovakia’s hesitations with the strategy are linked to the time frame with the country’s deputy economy minister telling POLITICO that the country needs until at least 2025 to prepare and adjust.

Both countries have been granted an extension on the deadline to phase out Russian oil imports by the close of 2023.

Hungary rejected the plans on Wednesday as the Foreign Minister for Hungary, Peter Szijjarto said the ban would “obliterate” Hungary’s energy security.

In a Facebook video, Mr Szijjarto declared the country needed more time and would only accept the ban if Hungary was given a total exemption on oil imports through pipelines.

He said: “In its current form the Brussels sanctions package cannot be supported, we cannot responsibly vote for it.

“Hungary could only agree with these sanctions if pipeline imports of crude oil would be exempt from the restrictions. Then Hungary’s energy security could be maintained. Now it cannot.”

He later added: “This is not a question of lack of political will, or of intention or timing, but simply this is the physical, geographical, and infrastructural reality.”

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Every EU country is able to reject sanctions and Viktor Orban’s government is reportedly the most pro-Russian EU administration and has repeatedly stated it will not support bans on the imports of gas and oil.

The European Commission President put forward the plans with the warning that they “will not be easy” to implement but are necessary. 

Ms von der Leyen added in her speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg: “We maximise pressure on Russia, while at the same time minimising collateral damage to us.”

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