The must-have newsletter about Hungary



Europe is paying a “sanctions surcharge” on energy, so the Hungarian government is working to ease “those harmful effects”, the finance minister said after a meeting of his European Union counterparts in Luxembourg on Tuesday. “A policy of sanctions is pointless unless it hurts the aggressor more [than the initiator] and helps to put an end to the war,” the finance ministry quoted Mihály Varga as saying. On that basis, “current sanctions can be declared a failure”, it added. European sanctions against Russia have resulted in a prolonged war and record-high revenues for Russia rather than meeting their original goal, Varga said. The Hungarian government does not support further sanctions that would jeopardise Hungary’s energy supplies and would do more damage to the European economy than to Russia, he said. Moreover, it rejects any further sanctions that would remove Hungary’s exemption from a ban on Russian oil imports, the minister said. Concerning the meeting, Varga said finance ministers had revisited a Czech proposal dubbed RePowerEU, adding that the Hungarian government supported the idea of granting member states aid for efforts aimed at reducing their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Hungary had indicated its support for the Czech proposal earlier, but declined to support a related EC proposal because it was not aimed at distributing the funds in proportion of the cost such efforts would incur for the given country, he said. “The Hungarian government will only support an equitable distribution of funds.” Meanwhile, Varga said Hungary’s border protection efforts had already cost the central budget a total 600 billion forints (EUR 1.4bn) while the EU had contributed less than 2% of that sum. He urged the EU to take on a larger share of the burden.