According to the new revised proposals, which the EU ambassadors of the Member States are discussing at a meeting on Friday, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will have more time to adjust to the embargo imposed by the EU executive and, they will also receive aid to modernize their oil infrastructure, according to sources quoted by Reuters, informs Agerpres.
The changes also include a three-month transition period before EU companies are banned from transporting Russian oil, compared to initial plans that provided for a one-month transition period, one source added.
According to Reuters, according to the new proposals, Hungary and Slovakia will be able to buy Russian pipeline oil by the end of 2024, and the Czech Republic will be able to do the same by the end of June 2024.
According to the Commission’s initial proposal, EU countries would stop buying Russian oil six months after the embargo was imposed and end imports of refined petroleum products from Russia by the end of this year. Also according to the initial plans, Hungary and Slovakia would have benefited from a transition period until the end of 2023.
A European official consulted by Reuters stated that Bulgaria also requested an exception, but its request was rejected, “because it could not provide a reason”. The other three countries received a longer transition period. they have a real problem, “the official added.
With regard to the three-month extension of the transition period, after which European companies will no longer be able to transport Russian oil globally, sources quoted by Reuters have revealed that it is intended to address concerns raised by Greece, Malta and Cyprus. the impact of the measures on their shipping companies.
According to the initial proposal, presented by the EU executive on Wednesday, European companies should have stopped offering shipping, brokerage, insurance and financing services for the transportation of Russian oil globally one month after the adoption of the new sanctions.
In order to enter into force, the sixth package of sanctions proposed by the European Commission will have to be approved by all 27 Member States.
Hungary does not support new EU sanctions on Russia
Hungary does not support the new package of sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia, which includes an embargo on Russian oil imports, in its current form, as it would amount to an “atomic bomb” dropped on the Hungarian economy, Prime Minister Viktor said on Friday Orban, Reuters reports.
Orban said the European Commission’s current proposal to ban oil imports from Russia would be tantamount to an “atomic bomb” dropped on the Hungarian economy. He added that Hungary was ready to negotiate a new proposal that would meet its interests.
The official told the state radio station that Hungary would need 5 years and huge investments in refineries and pipelines to transform the current system, which is about 65% based on oil from Russia.
“We know exactly what we need, first of all we need 5 years to complete this process (…) a year, a year and a half are not enough to achieve something,” said Orban. The prime minister also stressed that Hungary would also need large investments in refineries and the shipping system in order to be able to import oil from outside Russia.
Orban is not sure if it is wise to invest so much with a result in 4-5 years, in the context in which the war in Ukraine is in full swing.
He added that Hungary was waiting for a new proposal on sanctions from the Commission.
“I do not want to oppose the EU, but to cooperate … but this is only possible if we take into account our interests,” the Hungarian official argued.
Orban also explained that Hungary will not support the sanctioning of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Cyril, because it is a “matter of religious freedom.”
He reiterated Hungary’s position not to send weapons to Ukraine on the grounds that the transports would become the target of Russian attacks near the western border of Ukraine, where ethnic Hungarians live.
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