European Union heads of state and government agreed on the sixth sanctions package against Russia, including an embargo on the country’s oil, shortly before midnight on Monday, writes Népszava‘s correspondent in Brussels.
Under the agreement reached on the first day of the summit, EU Member States who receive oil through the “Friendship” oil pipeline will be exempted from having to stop using Russian oil, which will otherwise be mandatory by the end of the year.
Apart from Hungary, this group includes the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Slovakia.
As Poland and Germany have already announced that they would be weaning themselves off Russian oil within the next six months, the Hungarian, Czechs, and Slovaks, who consume only 10% of Russian imports to the EU, will not have to comply with the new sanctions. This satisfied one of the demands of Viktor Orbán, who insisted that shipments of pipeline-delivered oil be exempted from the embargo.
The final statement adopted at the summit does not specify how long the temporary exemption will be in effect, only stating that leaders will return to discuss the issue as soon as possible. The Hungarian Prime Minister also managed to receive a guarantee that if there is an interruption in the delivery of crude oil in the Friendship pipeline, the European Union will introduce emergency measures to ensure its supply.
As the statement read:
In the event of a sudden interruption of supply, security of supply shall be addressed through emergency solutions.
European Commission President Urusla von der Leyen stated in a press conference that the Adriatic oil pipeline would provide help to Hungary, which could expand its capacity relatively quickly along with converting its refineries to process non-Russian crude oil.
The political agreement on the oil embargo will soon be set in legal form by Member States’ representatives in Brussels, currectly expected to take place next week.
Viktor Orbán Hails Sanctions Agreement
Following the talks, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, “We have reached an agreement stating that countries that get their oil through pipelines can continue to operate under the old conditions.”
He claimed that “we have defended the utility price cuts, and we have succeeded in beating back the proposal by the European Commission that would have banned the use of Russian oil in Hungary.” [Népszava]