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Hungary wants the European Union to make changes to its sanctions policy so that it is built on more "reasonable foundations", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Belgrade on Friday.

Orbán spoke after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and accepting the Order of Merit of the Republic of Serbia in recognition of his services in developing cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Hungary. Sanctions generally are decided in places that are far away from the country that is being targeted, Orbán told a joint press conference with Vučić. “It’s easy to formulate a sanctions policy from Paris, Brussels, Madrid, and perhaps even Berlin,” he said. “We are closer to Russia, the country being sanctioned,” he added. Orbán said that countries that are closer to the target of the sanctions “always suffer more”, arguing that it was therefore unsurprising that Hungary’s views on the sanctions differed from those of Brussels. Moreover, sanctions tend to be imposed by a stronger entity on a weaker one, “but we Europeans, who are dwarves when it comes to energy, are sanctioning an energy giant.”
“These sanctions are causing us very serious harm … they cost a lot of money, and there is a threat that they will erode a large part our achievements of the last ten years,” the prime minister said.