The oil embargo planned by the European Commission (EC) against Russia can be considered as a “nuclear bomb” on the Hungarian economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.
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If passed, the embargo will mean an end to price caps for utilities, while fuel prices could reach up to 800 forints ($2.22) a litre. Household utility prices have been set in Hungary at their 2014 level, while last year the Orban government capped petrol and diesel prices per liter at 480 forints.
European Union (EU) leaders have previously agreed that such measures should only be taken taking into account the different energy structures of member states and their sovereign right to determine their energy mix.
However, EC President Ursula von der Leyen disputed the great difficulty of creating European unity, according to Orban.
The transformation of Hungary’s energy system would take years and trillions of forints to replace Russian oil, Orban said.
“The introduction of sanctions is not a good solution, but Hungary’s veto on the most important issues from our point of view must be maintained,” he stressed, adding that he had been willing to approve the first five sanctions packages but specified that the energy embargo would be a “red line”.
The EU will phase out Russian crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year, according to von der Leyen, who announced the sixth package of sanctions against Russia.