Speaking with CNN's Eleni Giokos on Wednesday, Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations, said Hungary won't get on board with the European Union's plan to ban Russian oil imports in its current form because it is "against Hungarian national energy security."
"The proposal on behalf of Brussels is suggesting that it should be done by the end of next year. The shortest period — we've been clear on that, our oil companies have been clear on that — is three to five years," Kovács said. "The very essence of decision-making in Europe is consensus ... We maintain and we've been telling Brussels and all the European states, that on Hungary's behalf, it simply cannot be done as they require."
The European Union is proposing to ban all oil imports from Russia by the end of the year and remove the country's biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT international payments network. Following the announcement on proposals, Kovacs tweeted that Hungary does not see how an oil embargo transition would be manageable.
Kovács told CNN that the differences have "nothing to do with emotions, political like or dislike." "We haven't received much assistance on behalf of the European Union so far, beyond the energy terminal in Croatia. So simply neither resources nor capacity, nor alternative resources, are available for Hungary for the moment and for the foreseeable future," he added.
When pressed on any energy alternatives Hungary may have at its disposal, Kovács said that "it's a matter of hard physical fact on the ground." "Hungary is a landlocked country. We have inherited a one-sided dependence on Russia after the fall of communism."
Photo credit: Facebook/Kovács Zoltán