Budapest has reiterated its resistance to an automatic extension of EU sanctions on Russia. It comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited his Hungarian counterpart to talk economic cooperation.
Hungary is opposed to the sanctions imposed over Russia’s actions in Ukraine which could be renewed from July. Lavrov did not speculate on an end to sanctions saying, “We have everything we need to solve the objective difficulties caused by the sanctions, to depend less on the current political conditions, especially when it’s caused by anti-Russian moves from some Western leaders.”
Russia is Hungary’s largest trading partner outside the EU and supplies 80 per cent of its natural gas needs, but Hungary has said it will respect the decision of the EU.
Euronews spoke to András Deák, an expert from the Institute of World Economics:
“So far we couldn’t see Hungary objecting directly to this sanction system, although Budapest criticizes it very vocally and openly, but when it comes to voting, somehow we still vote yes or at least we don’t vote no. I think the Russians would like to change this situation a little bit towards a real (Hungarian) action on this topic.”
Andrea Hajagos – euronews, Budapest concludes:
“Sergei Lavrov met the Prime Minister here in the Parliament building. We don’t know what they were talking about during their private meeting, but according to some experts, it seems that this visit is even more important for the Russians now, a few weeks before the EU’s decision on sanctions.”