A proposal by the European Commission to phase in an embargo of Russian oil is “unacceptable” for Hungary, Zoltán Kovács, state secretary for international communications and relations, told the BBC.
Asked whether Hungary would veto the proposal on an episode of the BBC’s HardTalk aired Thursday, Kovács said: “Shortly, yes”.
He noted that
Hungary gets 65 percent of its crude from Russia at present, adding that the landlocked country relies on pipelines for delivery.
He said it would take 3-4 years and around half a billion euros of investment for Hungary’s oil industry to adapt to a shift in supply of crude.
Kovács stressed that the proposal on the oil embargo is coming from “the administrative and bureaucratic centre” of the European Union, not the member states.
“It is proposing something that is unacceptable. They exactly know the Hungarian position. They are familiar with the facts, they are familiar with the ratios of Russian gas and oil in our energy portfolio and the importance for our economic system. So they exactly know that what they are proposing is against Hungarian interests,” he said.
The proposal would “ruin the Hungarian economy”, he added.
A proposal by Brussels to ban oil imports from Russia by the end of next year is “against Hungarian national energy security”, Zoltán Kovács, state secretary for international communications and relations, told CNN on Wednesday.
“We have inherited a one-sided dependence on Russia after the fall of communism (1989),”
he said, adding that the government has been trying in the past 12 years to increase the diversity of energy supplies. Hungary will not be able to find an alternative source to replace Russian energy in the short deadline proposed by the EU, he added.
“We haven’t received much assistance on behalf of the European Union so far, beyond the energy terminal in Croatia. So simply neither resources nor capacity, nor alternative resources, are available for Hungary for the moment and for the foreseeable future,” he said.
In response to a question, Kovács denied reports that Hungary was pre-warned by Russia of the invasion of Ukraine.
Hungary has “received information and intelligence with the same pace and the same time as other NATO allies”, he added.
Source: MTI, BBC, CNN