Briefing notes

FM Szijjártó: EU sanctions policy a complete failure

Sanctions are damaging Europe and have not brought Russia to its knees.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told local radio that the European Union’s sanctions so far because of the war in Ukraine have caused sky-high inflation in Europe, rising utility bills, and higher natural gas prices and food prices, and the continent’s economy is in recession. 

It is now clear that these sanctions have hurt Europe much more than Russia and are causing huge damage to the EU economy, he said.

Szijjártó called the agreement on the eighth sanctions package at the EU leaders’ meeting in New York a wrong course; he stressed that no final decision had been taken and no proposal had even been made.

The minister also pointed out that he had met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the UN General Assembly in New York, with whom he had discussed the security of energy supply for Hungary and the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant.

Speaking about the country’s energy supply, he said that Gazprom would continue to supply natural gas to Hungary, delivering an additional 5.8 million cubic meters of gas every day, on top of the previously contracted volume. This means that so far Hungary has been able to store 41 percent of its annual consumption, compared to the 23 percent of annual consumption in Europe that can be covered by the natural gas stocks currently accumulated and in reserve, he said.

On the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant, he said that they could speed up the work after the installation license; it is still realistic to expect construction to start next autumn and the new reactor unit to be completed by 2030.

Szijjártó regretted that the assembly did not result in negotiations and discussions that could have brought the war in Ukraine closer to an end.

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