July 06
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Hungary continues to press its demands for energy investment in order to agree to the Russian oil embargo, Reuters reported.

The European Commission proposed a new package of sanctions against Russia earlier this month, but no action has yet been taken, and Hungary is one of the plan's most vocal critics.

First decisions, then sanctions, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga told reporters before the talks in Brussels.

Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil, said it would need about 750 million euros in short-term investment to upgrade refineries and expand a pipeline that would bring oil from Croatia.

Budapest also pointed out that in the long term, shifting the economy away from Russian oil could cost up to 18 billion euros.

Last week, the Commission offered up to 2 billion euros to support the landlocked countries of Central and Eastern Europe that do not have access to non-Russian supplies, namely Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. These states have also been offered a longer transition period to move away from Russian oil.

To address long-term issues, the Commission has published a 210 billion euro plan to end Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, but has not indicated how the new investment will be shared among EU states.

One of the key stumbling blocks remains the amount that the EU is willing to pay Hungary to adapt two refineries that can currently only process Russian oil.

At a meeting of EU diplomats last week, several envoys, including those from France, Lithuania, Belgium and Ireland, called for a compromise before the EU summit next week to avoid political escalation, diplomats said.

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