EU warns Viktor Orbán – “Stop Immediately”

Written by Henrik Rothen

Nov.15 - 2023 9:21 AM CET

The European Union is exerting significant pressure on Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

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The Russian malign influence is too great in Hungary – due to the country's insufficient efforts to stop purchasing energy from Russia.

This is stated by the EU's Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, as reported by Politico.

She also issues a stern warning to Hungary if they continue to rely on Vladimir Putin.

"Even Hungary knows that by continuing this activity, they give Russia the right to manipulate their market," says the EU chief at a summit.

"It is not in their interest to continue such dependence."

"War criminal"

Last month, Russian gas export giant Gazprom announced it would increase its natural gas deliveries to Hungary during the winter.

This followed an agreement between Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin at a highly publicized meeting in Beijing.

"I know a political leader in Europe who shakes hands with this war criminal," says Kadri Simson.

She refers to the images broadcast showing a smiling Orbán shaking hands with Putin – which has sparked disgust in much of the Western world.

Deviant member

The agreement marks the second time Hungary and Russia have agreed on increased gas deliveries since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

The actions of the EU member stand in stark contrast to the rest of the bloc, including countries like Slovakia and Bulgaria, which have at least taken some steps to phase out Russian energy imports.

In total, the EU has reduced its dependence on Russian gas from 40 to less than ten percent, writes Politico.

"Our clear request to them is that, like other member states still using Russian technology, they must find a plan to diversify," says Kadri Simson.

Promises to resist

The energy chief also expresses regret that Hungary continues to build the Paks II nuclear reactor, which relies on both support and nuclear fuel from the Russian dictatorship.

Hungary has previously promised to resist any sanctions that would include the issue of nuclear energy.

The EU is currently drafting its twelfth sanctions package against Russia since the invasion in February 2022.

It is not yet clear whether the package will include any significant restrictions on purchases of Russian liquefied natural gas.

"The moment we have unity with Hungary, then we will have a collective position," says Kadri Simson, however.