While most of Europe and the Anglosphere is fully dedicated to fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian and sanctioning Russia to the last European with five euros in his pocket, Hungary has stuck out like a sore thumb in trying to ease tensions between the European Union and Russia.
Now, Hungary appears to be throwing a wrench in the EU’s plan’s to economically debilitate Russia, and by extension, hurt its own citizens by making energy prices go through the roof. In an announcement Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas made on HirTv on May 1, 2022, he stated that Hungary would veto any move by the European Union that restricts Russian energy imports.
“We’ve made it clear that we’ll never support” Gulyas declared.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the EU has plans of rolling out a ban on Russian oil by the end of 2022 over its military incursion into Ukraine. For the time being, restrictions on oil imports will be gradually introduced.
Hungary relies heavily on Russian energy. According to a report by Deutsche Welle, Hungary imports roughly 80% of its gas and 65% of its oil from Russia.
As a result, Hungary is one of the strongest opponents of stiff energy sanctions on Russia among EU member nations.
“Since such decisions require unanimity, it makes no sense for the Commission to propose sanctions affecting natural gas and crude oil that would restrict Hungarian procurements,” Gulyas stated.
The government of Viktor Orban has come to an agreement with Russia to facilitate the conversion of their gas payments to rubles. In the past week, Russia has played hardball on energy politics as evidenced by its decision to cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on April 27, 2022. Countries that don’t make energy payments to Russia in rubles will face similar fates.
Again, Hungary demonstrates its willingness to use a multi-vector foreign policy that plays off the West against Russia. Of all the EU countries, Hungary’s foreign policy is the most rooted in pragmatism. As time goes on, the EU’s patience with Hungary will grow thinner. It remains to be seen what will happen to the Central European country.
If Hungary continues deepening its ties with Russia and even China, it should expect stronger responses from Brussels and even Washington in the form of color revolutions and other subversion efforts. As long as the US and Europe (a de facto satrapy of the former) remain geopolitically strong on a relative basis, countries that go off script will still be punished. In Hungary’s case, it should mind its Ps and Qs.