The decision made by European leaders on the EU embargo of Russian oil is a victory for common sense, Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communication and relations, told BBC Radio 4 late on Tuesday.
Hungary is not blocking further sanctions against Russia, but any that are imposed will have to be based on common sense and the recognition that there are limits to what can be done when it comes to sanctions on energy, Kovács said. This doesn’t just apply to Hungary, but several other European Union member states as well, he added.
Landlocked EU countries like Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic depend heavily on Russian energy supply and are simply not in a position to impose immediate sanctions,
He said the “golden rule” was that Europe should not impose sanctions that hurt it more than they would hurt Russia.
No one can ask Hungary to approve sanctions that would ruin its economy and Hungarian households, the state secretary said.
Put to him that Russian oil deliveries would not have been cut off overnight and that countries would have been given time to secure alternative energy supplies, Kovács said Hungary had made it clear that such a changeover could not even have been implemented over the next four to five years, let alone by the end of this year.