Hungary needs 3.5 to 4 years to give up Russian oil and huge investments to adjust its economy, and until an agreement is reached on all issues, it can not support the proposed EU oil embargo, PM’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas told Reuters.
According to him, the transition period was not the biggest problem on the way to an agreement.
The European Commission this month proposed the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, but it requires unanimous support from all 27 EU member states, and landlocked Hungary, which depends heavily on pipeline imports of Russian oil, is blocking them.
“If all other conditions are there, then 3.5 to 4 years would be sufficient ... but until there is an agreement on everything, there is no agreement on anything,” Gulyas said in an interview.
Hungary said it would need about 750 million euros in short-term investments to upgrade refineries and expand a pipeline that would carry oil from Croatia.
The EU still hopes it can agree on sanctions on Russian oil before next week's European Council meeting, President Charles Michel said Wednesday.
Orban urged EU not to try to agree on an oil embargo when EU leaders meet next week in the absence of unanimity, in a letter seen by Reuters.
Gulyas also said negotiations about the release of funds to Hungary from the EU’s Recovery Fund could be wrapped up “in an hour” as there was an agreement on all significant aspects.