As a result of the war, the leaders in Brussels decided to impose economic sanctions. They promised that these sanctions would bring Russia to its knees and end the war. It is now clear that the Brussels’ sanctions adopted in June are not working. Energy prices have soared, food prices are rising and inflation is at its highest level in decades. The sanctions are thus destroying the economies of Europe and Hungary. Meanwhile, Russia has even managed to increase its revenues.
Instead of changing its misguided decisions, Brussels is now extending sanctions further. This is an irresponsible policy that will exacerbate the current economic woes.
As Prime Minister Orbán said in his interview on Kossuth Rádió just this morning, no country in Europe has so far asked its citizens for their opinion on the EU sanctions against Russia. “Hungary leads the way in this because we regularly consult the Hungarian people on the most difficult European issues and even involve them in the decisions,” PM Orbán said, recalling previous national consultations such as on migration and COVID-19.
Without further ado, the questions from Hungary’s upcoming national consultation.
1. Brussels has decided to introduce oil sanctions
After the war broke out it was agreed that sanctions against Russia would not cover energy. Despite this, in June Brussels decided to ban imports of oil and oil products from Russia. Hungary successfully fought for an exemption to this, because replacing Russian crude oil would take several years and cost hundreds of billions of forints in investment. An oil embargo related to our country would lead to serious supply problems for Hungary, and would be a huge burden on our economy.
Do you agree with the Brussels oil sanctions?
2. Sanctions would be extended to natural gas supplies
Brussels leaders want to extend sanctions to natural gas supplies. The European economy is heavily dependent on Russian gas (which represents 85 per cent of Hungary’s supply). The suggestion of imposing gas sanctions has been a bigger cause of higher energy prices than the war itself. The consequences are already severe. Household utility bills across Europe have risen to record levels. In response to the sanctions, Russia is threatening to cut off gas supplies. This is endangering supplies for home heating and the viability of the European economy.
Do you agree with the sanctions on natural gas supplies?
3. Brussels sanctions also relate to raw materials
Brussels has also banned imports from Russia of solid fuel (such as coal). The ban also applies to steel and wood, and they want to extend it to other raw materials. This measure has led to large price rises, further increasing the burden on families. As a result of the energy crisis, Europe needs more solid fuel than ever, but its own production capacities are incapable of meeting this demand.
Do you agree with the sanctions on raw materials?
4. Sanctions would be extended to nuclear fuel
The European Parliament and several Member States want to extend sanctions to nuclear fuel. Nuclear power plants play an indispensable role in Europe’s electricity supply. A significant proportion of them are powered by Russian fuel, the replacement of which is impossible in the short term due to technical factors. Extending sanctions to nuclear fuel would thus jeopardize the stability of electricity supply, and increase prices.
Do you agree with sanctions on nuclear fuel?
5. Expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant is also a target for the policy of sanctions
The Paks Nuclear Power Plant is a guarantee of cheaper electricity in Hungary. Its expansion is being carried out with cooperation from Russian companies. There are many who want to extend nuclear sanctions to the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. The European Parliament and some opposition parties in Hungary also say that development cooperation with Russian companies should be terminated. Suspending the expansion could lead to further price rises and supply disruptions.
Do you agree that the Paks investment should be covered by the sanctions?
6. The sanctions policy does not exempt tourism
Sanctions are also damaging European tourism, which was already in a difficult situation after the pandemic. Due to entry restrictions, the number of tourists from Russia has dropped significantly. This measure also affects Hungary, especially as the numbers of visitors from abroad are still below pre-pandemic levels. This sector provides work for hundreds of thousands of people in our country.
Do you agree with sanctions which have the effect of restricting tourism?
7. Sanctions are increasing food prices, and could lead to another wave of immigration
Sanctions also have a major impact on food supplies. The increase in natural gas prices will greatly increase the cost of agricultural production, and the sanctions also extend to some ingredients for artificial fertilizer. The increase in food prices in developing countries is increasing the risk of famine. This will lead to waves of migration even larger than those seen so far, and to increasing pressure on Europe’s borders.
Do you agree with the sanctions that are causing rising food prices?
Hungarian citizens will have to return the questionnaire by December 9, 2022.