Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in Brussels on Monday that rather than adopting a 12th sanctions package against Russia, the European Union should evaluate the “failure” of the policy it has pursued and the damage caused by the sanctions it has imposed so far.
Addressing a news conference during a break in a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Minister Szijjártó said Monday’s meeting had also been attended by his Ukrainian counterpart via a video call, to seek more support for Ukraine’s fight. Hungary’s stance is that it is time for the EU to confront the outcome of its political decisions on Ukraine, Minister Szijjártó said, according to a ministry statement. The EU, he said, should assess the extent to which its policies had achieved their intended goals, as well as their impacts on the bloc and its foreign relations, the member states, Russia and Ukraine. “If we took a look at what this enormous financial support of more than 80 billion euros has been spent on so far … we’d see that only a small fraction of the goals of these decisions can be said to have been achieved,” Minister Szijjártó said. “The fact is that the sanctions have, at the very least, shot the European economy in the foot…” he said. “It has also become clear that this war can’t be resolved on the battlefield, because there are only casualties and destruction there. And it’s also clear that the hopes of a breakthrough success for the Ukrainian counter-offensive have by today become an illusion.” Minister Szijjártó said the EU will this week put forward a proposal on its 12th package of sanctions. “I think it’s totally fair to ask how we can have a meaningful debate on a 12th sanctions package when there hasn’t been any kind of comprehensive analysis on the first 11 packages,” the minister said. He said Brussels and certain member states were not prepared to confront the damage the sanctions had done to the European economy and how they had failed to fulfil their purpose. The sanctions have failed to achieve their main goals of bringing the Russian economy to its knees and bringing about peace, he said. “And we also don’t see a possibility for a meaningful debate on transferring tens of billions of euros more to Ukraine when the EU and its member states haven’t received any kind of briefing or account of how the 80 billion euros approved so far has been spent,” he added.