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EU brokers deal on oil embargo

June 1st, 2022

In a first swift reaction to news of an agreement on the partial ban of Russian oil by the EU, a conservative pundit praises the Hungarian government for defending Hungarian interests and securing cheap oil for the country.

On Monday night, the European Council announced a compromise agreement on the 6th package of Russian sanctions, including an oil boycott. The deal will immediately cut  two-thirds of Russian crude oil imports. The southern branch of the of Russian Druzhba pipeline, which delivers oil to Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia, will continue to operate for the time being, but the agreement stipulates that it should also be closed as soon as possible. In accordance with Prime Minister Orbán’s request, the agreement also ensures that the EU will introduce emergency measures in case the pipeline supply to Central Europe is cut off by third parties.

On Mandiner, Gellért Rajcsányi finds the deal a pragmatic and reasonable compromise, at least from the Hungarian perspective. The conservative commentator praises the Hungarian government for showing courage in defending the national interest and convincing the EU to accept Hungary’s opt-out from the sanctions which target the import of Russian crude oil. As Hungary has no way to replace Russian oil, it was crucial for the country to secure the continued operation of the pipeline, Rajcsányi emphasizes. As for the implications for other EU countries, Rajcsányi is less than confident that the deal also serves their interests. The EU now will have to replace cheap Russian oil with imports from non-democratic countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. Such alternatives will be more expensive and getting them delivered will also increase the EU’s ecological footprint, he writes.

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