Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in Brussels on Monday that the European Union’s economy today is characterized by “failure” due to “ideologically and emotionally driven policies”, insisting it was now clear that the sanctions imposed on Russia had failed.
“The sanctions policy has failed, and the trouble and damage it causes outweighs the … benefits,” Minister Szijjártó told a press conference after a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. “The mere fact that sanctions are being massively evaded is further proof” of their failure, he added. According to a ministry statement, the minister said common sense would dictate that there was no sense in carrying on with sanctions, adding that those who approached the issue on the basis of ideology believed the restrictions should be tightened even further. “Now that we’ve discussed the twelfth sanctions package, we again have to ask the fundamental question of where the analysis on the first eleven packages is,” he said. “Where’s the report on their effect? Who can say how much damage the first ten sanctions packages have done to the European economy?” “It was said again today that the sanctions are working because Russia’s revenues are diminishing,” Szijjártó said. “That’s what the European Commission’s extremely thorough, multifaceted and data-heavy report sounds like today.” He lamented that certain member states had put forward proposals that would present a danger to the energy security of other countries, including Hungary. He cited the example of the proposed sanctions on nuclear energy, saying Hungary’s government would never approve such a measure because it would hurt the country’s short-, medium and long-term energy supply. “Whose interests would such a sanction serve? Because it’s certain that it wouldn’t be Europe’s or member states’ interests,” he said. Szijjártó said certain member states also favoured scrapping exemptions to sanctions on Russian oil in 2025, adding that Hungary would not support such a step, either. He noted that the EC is set to send the proposal on the new sanctions package to member states on Monday evening or Tuesday. “We made it clear that we refuse to work under any kind of time pressure, meaning that we won’t give our opinion on the sanctions until we’ve analysed their effect on the economy,” Szijjártó said. Meanwhile, the minister said the EU’s competitiveness was “at its worst level in decades” due to “an economic policy driven by emotions and ideology”. “Fortunately there are counterexamples of this,” he said. “If economic policy is based on rationality, common sense and the national interest, as it is in Hungary, it can be successful, which is why the national economy’s indicators are breaking records each year." Minister Szijjártó said Hungary was set to double last year’s record investments this year, and exports are also seen rising by 6-8%. He said efforts to sever cooperation between East and West and rebuild geopolitical blocs were causing “operational problems” in the global economy. Severing ties between East and West would “deal a knock-out blow to the European economy”, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs in jeopardy, he warned. “We therefore ask those here in Brussels and EU governments not to interfere with the natural course of business operations,” he said.