Hungary: Viktor Orban votes in election amid pro-Ukraine protests

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The central European country declared a state of emergency over the war in Ukraine in a bid to be more responsive to challenges created by the war. Yesterday [May 24], Mr Orban announced the new “state of danger”, adding the war in Ukraine represents “a constant threat to Hungary” which was “putting our physical security at risk and threatening the energy and financial security of our economy and families.”

The PM has held firm in demanding energy investment before it backs an EU wide embargo on Russian oil.

The Russian oil ban comes as an attempt to cripple Vladamir Putin’s economy following his invasion of Ukraine, with a six-month phase out of all Russian oil supplies in the EU.

But it has now been revealed Mr Orban gave a “wish list” of demands to Ursula von der Leyen before backing the move.

Mujtaba Rahman, director at Eurasia group, tweeted: “Senior EU official tells me on @vonderleyen recent visit to Budapest, PM Viktor Orban passed on a “wish list” of demands he wants met to support [EU] oil sanctions on [Russia].”

Mr Rahman said the list included money, unblocking the Recovery and Resilience Facility, swapping lines with the European Central Bank and ending Rule of Law Article 7 and “conditionality mechanism” procedures.

The Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga proclaimed a “solutions first, sanctions afterwards”, indicating Budapest will need help from Brussels to wean itself off its dependency on Russian oil.

Opposition to the sanction means the ban has yet to be confirmed as unanimous support is required from all 27 member states.

The EU is currently dependent on Russia for 25 percent of its oil supplies.

Hungary is heavily reliant on crude stocks from Russia.

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Last week the European Commission offered up to €2billion (£1.6billion) in order to support EU countries which are landlocked and reliant on Russian supplies.

They include Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

On Monday, the German Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned Hungary against blocking efforts to impose an EU embargo on Russian oil imports.

Mr Habeck said at the World Economic Forum: “There are different solutions for different countries. I expect everyone, including Hungary to work on a solution.”

The Commission has proposed phasing out Russian oil imports by the end of the year in most EU member states, while Hungary and others could be given more time.

According to Reuters, Budapest has said it “wants hundreds of millions of euros from the bloc to mitigate the cost of ditching Russian crude”.

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