Hungary still has to “play its part” and decide whether it wants to display unity with the European Union in sanctioning Russia as the bloc works on its sixth round of proposals, a senior EU diplomat said on Friday.
Speaking during a news briefing in Brussels to journalists, the diplomat said the proposed sixth round of sanctions would include an oil embargo with the purpose of “having a lasting impact on Russia’s capacity to earn money and to inflict the heavy costs.”
The diplomat said the proposal still needed to be fine-tuned, as most European countries “need to phase out from oil, and obviously there are realistic economic considerations that should be taken into account and the availability of alternatives are obviously different from member state to member state.”
“So, we need to solve … these concerns one way or the other,” the diplomat added.
The diplomat said they understood that there is an “existential oil dependency on Russia as far as Hungary is concerned.”
“The commission is coming up with proposals, and at a certain point, you have to bite the bullet, you know, and see where you want to be in this, and we hope Hungary will be more forthcoming,” the diplomat said.
Hungary has been offered “reasonable proposals,” the diplomat said, adding that the country will have to decide where it stands “so that we can continue to have this important EU unity and send out the same signals to Russia that it should stop the war effort,” the diplomat said.
“Negotiations are ongoing every day, including the weekends. So I don’t know where this will end,” the diplomat said.
On Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Hungary will only vote for EU sanctions on Russian oil if the bloc comes up with solutions to issues it would start.
“We have made it clear to the European Commission that we can only vote for this proposal if Brussels offers a solution for the problems Brussels would create,” Szijjártó said in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday.
“We are expecting a solution not only relating to the transformation of our refineries that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, not only relating to the capacity increase of the oil pipeline [that runs] across Croatia to Hungary that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars but also with regard to the future of the Hungarian economy, as, like I said before, this current proposal is like ‘an atomic bomb’ for the Hungarian economy,” Szijjártó continued.
CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Boglarka Kosztolanyi in London and Mayumi Maruyama in Tokyo contributed previous reporting to this post.