The head of the Russian Orthodox Church was removed from the European Union’s sanctions list after the Hungarian government strenuously objected to his inclusion, writes HVG.
It was reported on Wednesday that the Hungarian government had again rejected the sixth EU sanctions package. This time, it was not related to concerns over the country’s energy security, but because the EU was planning to freeze the assets of Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Brussels accuses Patriarch Kirill of actively supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine. In a sermon, Kirill said Russia had not attacked anyone and did not want a war, but was simply defending its borders.
Viktor Orbán apparently did not say anything about his intentions at the EU summit earlier this week, frustrating diplomats from several countries.
On Twitter, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács wrote that Hungary’s “position on the Patriarch ‘had been known for long,’ and no one in the Brussels summit stood up against it.”
Kovács’ position was not satisfactory for Michael Gahler, Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the EPP group in the European Parliament, who tweeted, “Shame on you! One day the Kompromat by which the Russians keep you compliant will be revealed. What an embarrassment for freedom loving Hungary!”