Brussels ‘imposes’ anti-Russian sanctions on EU members – Orban – Reuters
Europeans had no say in the application of these sanctions but are paying the price, said the Hungarian Prime Minister
The EU has imposed anti-Russian sanctions on the people of the bloc’s member states, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday, as he announced the launch of nationwide consultations on the issue at home.
Brussels did not ask the Europeans for their opinion on the sanctions policy but made them pay the price as the restrictions imposed on Russia backfired, Orban said, in a series of Facebook posts. EU sanctions introduced against Russian military operation in Ukraine « will cause enormous damage to Europe » he warned, adding that the restrictions had already done « Poorer Europeans » because of soaring energy prices.
« It’s time to be honest about this with our American friends. Until it’s too late » the Prime Minister said, highlighting the role played by the United States in the global sanctions campaign against Russia. Sanctions have failed to end the conflict in Ukraine, Orban said, adding that they also appear to be hurting Europe more than Russia.
Hungary is heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies. He has also been one of the staunchest opponents of Brussels’ energy sanctions against Moscow and has notably opposed a ban on Russian oil imports until he obtains a waiver from Brussels. Budapest has again declared a state of emergency to tighten energy supplies this summer.
On Wednesday, Orban confirmed plans to hold national consultations on EU sanctions on Russia, saying he had asked “Let everyone have a say, because we can only stop rising energy prices if we act together. Hungary is the first EU country to do so.
The developments come amid an ongoing energy crisis in the EU. Since the beginning of the Russian military offensive against Ukraine at the end of February, gas prices have reached record levels in Europe. In late July, EU member states agreed on a plan to cut their gas consumption by 15% over the next few months, to boost the bloc’s energy security at a time when it seeks to get rid of its dependence on Russian energy.
Russia has also cut its gas exports to Europe, citing technical issues related to Western sanctions over Russia’s military action. Massive gas leaks on Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines, believed to be the result of a targeted attack, have driven up gas prices in Europe.
Prices have been climbing for some time, leaving some EU countries, including Germany – the EU’s economic powerhouse – in a bind. In early September, Germany’s biggest gas importer, Uniper, appealed to the government for additional financial aid as it struggles to replace missing supplies of Russian gas after it had already received billions of euros to cover gas purchases.
The operators of the Large Hadron Collider – the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) – also admitted in September that the current energy crisis threatened the operation of the world’s largest particle accelerator. It could be closed to reduce the power consumption load at peak times, CERN said at the time.