If the EU is going to embargo supplies of Russian oil that would be the equivalent of “committing harakiri,” French lawmaker and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told the France-2 TV channel.
“Trying to harm Russia by committing harakiri is a poor method,” she said, commenting on the EU’s proposal to impose an embargo on the deliveries of Russian oil. “In this case, our economy is running the risk of dying first and it seems like nowadays that’s what we are aspiring to do,” she insisted.
“The use of this instrument would mean sanctioning the French people, French enterprises, the French economy which would need years to recover,” the French presidential candidate cautioned. In her opinion, “the repercussions of this move may turn out to be worse than the consequences of the pandemic.” “The best way to settle the crisis is to use diplomatic tools,” Le Pen stressed.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people “who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Following this, the US, the EU, the UK and a number of other countries announced the introduction of sanctions against Russian legal entities and private individuals. US President Joe Biden signed a decree banning the import of energy products from Russia and new investments in Russia’s energy sector. The UK also announced that it would stop importing Russian oil and petroleum products by the end of 2022.
Hungary’s economy would stop without Russian gas
Hungary opposes the EU’s energy sector sanctions against Russia, because Hungarian industry would come to a grinding halt without Russian oil and gas, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a video conference with European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday, as part of preparations for an EU summit in France.
Bertalan Havasi, Prime Minister Orban’s spokesman, told the Hungarian news agency MTI that Orban emphasized in his conversation with Michel that Hungary condemns Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but does not want “to pay the price for it.”
“We have to take into account that most of the oil and natural gas imports to Hungary come from Russia, 90% of Hungarian households heat their homes with gas. The prime minister pointed out that the Hungarian economy would stop without gas and oil,” he said.
According to the spokesperson, Orban pointed out that “the reverberations of economic sanctions are felt by everyone in Europe, including Hungary.”
“Viktor Orban made it clear that the extension of sanctions to the energy sector is going to put a disproportionate burden on people, households and companies,” the spokesman said.
Orban recalled that “Hungary is interested in having peace” in Ukraine and has called for ceasing hostilities as soon as possible through negotiations, Havasi said.
Last September, Hungary struck two long-term contract deals with Russia’s major gas company Gazprom, which provides for the deliveries of 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas via pipelines in Serbia and Austria, bypassing Ukraine. The agreement is for 15 years and may be reviewed after ten years of its implementation. In addition, Budapest wants to increase gas deliveries through Serbia by one billion cubic meters per year, and this issue was brought up by Orban during his visit to Moscow in early February.
As MTI reported, besides Orban, the prime ministers of Slovakia, Spain and Ireland attended the video conference with Michel. France, which is holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2022, is organizing an informal EU summit in Versailles on Thursday.
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