Hungary sticks to blockade: EU postpones oil embargo against Russia

Status: 05/16/2022 9:30 p.m.

Even after the meeting of EU foreign ministers, Hungary continues to block the planned embargo on Russian oil. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba, who was present as a guest, was furious. The Federal Foreign Minister is more diplomatic.

By Helga Schmidt, ARD Studio Brussels

The press conference had to be postponed several times, and after hours of negotiations, no breakthrough was in sight. Then Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba came out of the meeting room and walked directly towards the waiting journalists. Kuleba was actually only invited as a guest by the 27 EU foreign ministers, so he could not have a say in the decisions. His conclusion is all the more open: there is only one person to blame for the fact that the EU has not yet decided on an oil embargo against Russia:

What I heard was clear and overwhelming support for the oil embargo. And it is no exaggeration to say that only one country is blocking the application of this oil embargo.

Helga Schmidt

The anger of the Ukrainian Foreign Minister is directed against Hungary. The Hungarian government rejects the Brussels Commission’s proposal to completely stop using Russian oil by the end of 2022 at the latest.

EU foreign ministers discuss oil embargo against Russia

Markus Preiß, ARD Brussels, daily newspaper at 8:00 p.m., May 16, 2022

The EU is “held hostage”

He wanted to remind people, said the Ukrainian foreign minister angrily, “that the EU pays millions of euros every day for gas and oil and it is precisely this money that runs the machine of Russian war, attacks and atrocities”.

The whole EU is being held hostage by one member, said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. Reflected tones, on the other hand, by Annalena Baerbock. Germany also had to prepare intensively for the oil exit at the end of the year, she explained, and that was not easy either, according to the German Foreign Minister:

To take a step like this, to get completely out of the oil sector like the European Union, is not easy. This means different challenges for different countries, as the dependencies are also very different.

Hungary claims billions in compensation

Hungary is very dependent, the country gets 60% of its oil from Russia. In addition, there is the problem that Hungary has no seaports – so oil cannot be brought in by ships from other supplier countries.

Minister Baerbock thinks it is a bad idea to pass an oil embargo without Hungary. The EU must not allow itself to be divided by one millimetre. She is confident that a common result will be achieved in the next few days.

A compromise proposal provides for Hungary, like the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to have a longer transition period to move away from Russian oil. However, according to the Hungarian government, this is not enough. It is calling for financial aid of 15 to 18 billion euros to become independent of Russian oil and, for example, to build a new pipeline. The money must come from the Brussels community budget. Whether and to what extent EU partners will accept Hungary is to be negotiated in the coming days.

Hungary demands billions in compensation for oil embargo

Helga Schmidt, ARD Brussels, May 16, 2022, 8:47 p.m.

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