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Plans for an oil embargo without Hungary

May 25th, 2022

A pro-government columnist believes Hungary would be happy with a non-binding embargo on Russian crude oil, as suggested by the German Deputy Chancellor.

German Minister of the Economy and Deputy Chancellor Robert Habeck suggested that Hungarian opposition to an immediate oil embargo could be circumvented by the remaining 26 EU member countries if they opt for a voluntary ban on Russian oil imports. Meanwhile, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch claimed at least half a dozen other member countries tacitly stand with Hungary on oil. In another development, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, that Hungary will need a solution to its problems with energy supply if Russian imports are phased out. In the meantime, MOL, Hungary’s regional oil and gas multinational, is reported to be working on a 15 point project to replace Russian oil.

On Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán ridicules western politicians, including Mr Habeck and Katarina Barley, deputy speaker of the European Parliament, who believe they can punish Hungary by declaring an oil embargo on Russia without her. In fact, Kohán writes, “we would get exactly what we have been asking for”. He also suggests that in case of a voluntary boycott, Hungary may end up being followed by Slovakia, Czechia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Italy. He then remarks that by insisting on their intention to phase out Russian oil, EU leaders have created panic and, consequently, a sharp rise in the price of crude oil, thereby hitting their own economies while boosting Russian oil revenues. By ending the panic, on the other hand, he concludes, they would cut back Russia’s oil income by at least 30 per cent, without harming their own economies.

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