Orbán: “Families can sleep well tonight, we defended the utility bill cuts!”

May 31. 2022. – 09:15 AM


“We have successfully defended the cuts on utility costs, as we stood up against the European Commission’s proposal which would have banned the use of Russian oil in Hungary”

- declared Viktor Orbán late Monday evening in Brussels, following the first day of the EU leaders’ summit. The announcement was made after the leaders of the 27 member states spent hours discussing the sanctions and an agreement was made about the sixth sanctions package against Russia.

In order to convince the Hungarian government to approve the package, a provision was added to the text, stating that the embargo only applies to Russian oil arriving via tankers, while oil arriving via pipelines is exempt from the import ban. Shortly before the summit began on Monday afternoon, Orbán came up with a new demand, requesting that Hungary be given guarantees that in case anything should happen to the pipeline’s Ukrainian section, Hungary would have access to the oil shipments arriving by sea. According to Politico this was solved by stating that “in the event of a sudden interruption in supply, emergency solutions are put in place to ensure the security of supply".

In his celebratory post announcing the agreement, Orbán added:

“We have enough trouble as it is. Energy prices have skyrocketed, inflation is increasing, and as a result of the sanctions all of Europe is teetering on the brink of a global economic crisis. Under such circumstances, we would not have been able to continue running the Hungarian economy, it would have been equal to a nuclear bomb thrown at our economy. But we managed to avoid this.” – the Prime Minister stated.

He further said: “We managed to work out an agreement which states that the countries which receive their oil through a pipeline may continue managing their economies under the old conditions. So tonight, families may sleep peacefully: the most audacious idea has been thwarted”.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council announced the success of the negotiations shortly after midnight. He said that the sanctions will immediately affect two-thirds Russia’s oil export to the European Union, while according to French experts, 90 percent of the Russian oil imports will disappear by the end of the year.

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The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.