Hungary desires to purchase near a billion cubic metres of Russian fuel, its overseas minister Péter Szijjártó mentioned on Thursday (21 July) throughout a uncommon go to from a high EU official to Moscow since Russian invaded Ukraine in February.
“Within the present worldwide state of affairs, crucial factor for us is to make sure Hungary’s vitality safety. Due to this fact, I wish to speak and attain an settlement at this time on rising the present quantity of fuel delivered to Hungary from Russia,” Szijjártó advised a press convention.
Following negotiations with Russian overseas minister Sergei Lavrov, he mentioned the Hungarian authorities expects to buy an extra 700 million cubic meters of pure fuel along with the portions already specified within the long-term contracts.
Lavrov mentioned Russia would think about the proposal from Budapest.
Hungary has been one of the crucial vocal opponents of EU sanctions on fuel, and though the federal government finally went together with six EU sanctions packages, it secured an open-ended exemption from oil embargo.
Szijjártó, who was given Russia’s prestigious Order of Friendship a couple of months earlier than the February invasion, has mentioned Hungary has no manner of decoupling from Russian vitality sources quick sufficient with out badly damaging the economic system.
Hungary is determined by Russia for about 85 per cent of its fuel, making it one of the crucial susceptible EU nations to a cut-off of Russian vitality provides.
Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, lengthy seen because the closest EU ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, has mentioned the EU has “shot itself within the lungs” with the sanctions.
Orbán’s ties with Moscow have unsettled Hungary’s western companions. Hungary has adopted a impartial place on the Ukraine conflict, in distinction to its regional companions, resembling Poland.
Hungary’s request to Russia could possibly be seen in EU capitals as undermining the bloc’s unity which is already below strain with surging vitality costs and inflation.
Budapest’s transfer comes as the EU introduced a brand new plan on Wednesday to cut back the bloc’s fuel use by 15 p.c over the following eight months — amid fears over additional disruptions of fuel from or a full cut-off of Russian fuel flows this winter.
Some member states, together with Poland, Spain, Greece and Portugal, have pushed again towards EU calls to curb demand.
Sanctions blamed for ‘conflict inflation’
Again in Budapest, Orbán is going through certainly one of his largest challenges of his greater than a decade-long rule, because the financial pressures preserve mounting, and EU funds stay suspended as a consequence of rule-of-law considerations.
The federal government was compelled final week, in a serious coverage shift, to chop again on subsidising utility costs, which have stored family utility payments at a fraction of the market costs.
Tens of millions of Hungarians could face a steep rise in the price of fuel and electrical energy exceeding month-to-month common consumption.
Inflation is over 10 p.c for the primary time in additional than 20 years, whereas the forint has plunged nearly 10 p.c towards the euro since Russia’s invasion, the largest drop amongst rising market currencies.
Orbán’s authorities has set out over a billion euros of spending cuts and freezing of funds, based on a Bloomberg estimate, whereas Hungarians have been protesting final week over the scrapping of a tax rule benefitting small companies.
The federal government has additionally put a cap on some fundamental meals stuff and petrol for Hungarian vehicles, for which the EU launched a authorized probe saying it breaks single market guidelines.
The Budapest authorities has blamed the conflict in Ukraine for the inflation however as an alternative of pointing the finger at Russia, authorities messages have mentioned the “sanctions lengthen the conflict,” and the one peace can put an finish to the “conflict inflation”.