Hungarian government: View of Russian sanctions has changed significantly

Budapest (MTI) – The view of sanctions against Russia, which have been in place for two-and-a-half years, has changed significantly, given that European Union penalties often have the opposite effect to the one desired, a government commissioner told MTI on Sunday.

Ministry of foreign affairs commissioner responsible for the measures relating to sanctions against Russia, Gyula Budai, said EU measures introduced in 2014 were not helping to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russian agriculture and its food industry have increased production, so there are more and more products which will quickly make Russia self-sufficient. For these reason, the assessment of sanctions has undergone a sea-change, he added.

Meanwhile, Russia itself has extended counter-sanctions, and Russian officials have indicated that the embargo against EU farm and food products could remain indefinite. EU businesses affected by the embargo are trying to adapt to the prevailing conditions, he said.

Further unintended consequences are that the pace of farm and food-industry investments in Russia has picked up, since many companies have outsourced production to joint ventures and the sanctions do not include transfers of technology, Budai said. Recognising this, several Hungarian companies have acted in a similar way, he added.