Fidesz parliamentary group leader Máté Kocsis announced at a press conference in Balatonalmádi that the government would be launching a new National Consultation survey on the sanctions levied against Russia. The announcement followed a meeting by ruling coalition Fidesz-KDNP’s parliamentary caucus in the resort town.
“It’s not right that only the Brussels elite have made decisions about the sanctions,” said Kocsis. “It is important to ask the people as well, because the longer this debate drags on, the more damage it will cause.”
István Simicskó, the leader of the KDNP group in Parliament, also said, “whenever important national issues have to be decided, we ask the people.” Kocsis later admitted that they did not consider the consultation a legal tool, but a political one that they can use in the EU debate on sanctions.
A previous National Consultation on the pandemic cost 11.5 billion Ft (US $27.9 million).
The thrust of the new consultation will be the sanctions on Russian energy products, Máté Kocsis said. According to 444, Hungary is the only country in Europe that wants to soften the sanctions imposed on the Russians.
The current EU sanctions package will expire on March 15, 2023, and the Council will have to vote on extending it before that time. Kocsis stated that everything possible must be done to get the European Commission to vote against further energy sanctions in November.
The European Union banned the import of Russian coal since this past August, but the ban on importing Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products will only come into force at the start of 2023. Since most of Russia’s income comes from oil, these sanctions will strike the country the hardest economically.