European Union proposed that the Russian crude oil imports be phased out over six months
According to the Hungarian government, Wednesday’s statement stated that so far, Hungary has not received firm assurances from the European Union regarding its energy security despite an attempt to reduce imports of Russian oil. This statement was made before a meeting with EU envoys regarding the decision.
The Hungarian government’s press office told the news outlet AFP that it did not “see any plan or guarantee on how even a transition could be managed on the basis of the current proposals, and what would guarantee Hungary’s energy security.”
According to AFP President Ursula von der Leyen of European Commission suggested that Hungary (and Slovakia) be granted an extra transition period in order to make the implementation less painful.
The phase-out of Russian oil had been touted as one of the components of the EU’s sixth round of sanctions against Moscow, which representatives of all 27 EU member states discussed on Wednesday. The new sanctions must be unanimously endorsed in order to go into effect.
Hungary has previously spoken against the proposed ban on Russian oil imports, with the country’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto emphasizing on Tuesday that “Currently, Russia is the only oil that can be used to run Hungary and its economy.” According to Budapest, it receives as much as 65% of its oil from Russia.
Slovakia, while actively supporting Ukraine, including with weapons deliveries, has also opposed Brussels’ plan. The country’s Economy Minister Richard Sulik told journalists on Tuesday that Slovakia’s sole refiner, Slovnaft, could not replace Russian oil with an alternative overnight, adding that the switch in technology would take up to several years. The official confirmed that Bratislava would “For the exemption to be granted, insist.”
Through the Soviet-era Druzhba Pipeline, Russian oil is delivered to both of these countries.
Reuters reported Monday that unnamed EU officials said the European Commission wanted to put the ban in effect by next year’s start. Russia’s crude oil exports almost half to Europe. This is a significant source of revenue.