Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has again loudly expressed his country's firm rejection of the proposed EU ban on the import of all Russian oil currently being mulled by the European Commission, saying that it would be like an atomic bomb was dropped on the economy.
He said bluntly during an interview with a public national broadcaster that it would be like "dropping a nuclear bomb on the Hungarian economy".
"We cannot accept a proposal that ignores this," Orbán again stressed, while also saying his government would remain "happy to negotiate" a compromise that would take into serious account Hungary's demands.
The trio of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic now constitute a significant obstacle to a Russian oil ban as the question of the European Commission granting exemptions is front and center. Bulgaria has become the latest country to propose that exemptions be given.
Some countries are also asking for more time to find alternative supplies, possibly even three to five years before a ban takes effect - despite it being possible that the war could long be over by that point.
Orbán too, said that Hungary "would need four to five years to revamp its energy system and become independent from Russian oil," as summarized of his latest interview comments. Writes Euronews, "He noted that, while other EU states can bring additional crude barrels through their ports, Hungary, a landlocked country, lacks that alternative path."
Thus it's clear at this point that a growing list of countries, led by the example of the outspoken Hungarian leader, are less than eager to take up Ursula von der Leyen's call to make 'sacrifices' for the sake of punishing Russia and Putin over the Ukraine invasion:
The costs to the EU would be high, von der Leyen said, but added it was a step worth taking to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
"Let us be clear: it will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it," the she told the European Parliament.
Earlier in the week, Czech prime minister Petr Fiala explained of his country's desire for an exemption: "We are ready to support this decision under the condition that the Czech Republic will be able to delay its implementation until the capacity of oil pipelines leading into the Czech Republic is increased."
#Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he wants a five-year exemption -- instead of the one-year delay currently under consideration -- for the nation to comply with an EU ban on #Russia's #oil. https://t.co/CKRc7iTGof— Olga Tanas (@olyatanas) May 6, 2022
However, we doubt Putin's wartime strategy-making will be much impacted if there's a two-to-three-year or even five year transition period before an oil ban takes effect, which is precisely what the Czech Republic and others, with Hungary at the helm, are now proposing.
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