No progress on oil embargo after Von der Leyen’s surprise visit to Budapest –

Progress has been made in efforts to convince Hungary to lift its veto on the sixth sanctions package that would see the EU quit Russian oil, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after her meeting with the Prime Minister. Hungarian Minister Viktor Orbán on Monday evening.

The previously unannounced visit took place ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels.

After the meeting in the Hungarian capital, the European Executive President Tweeted that the meeting was “useful” but “further work is needed”, promising to convene a video link “with regional actors to strengthen regional cooperation on oil infrastructure”.

The meeting was also attended by Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, according to images posted on social media, Telex reported,

The foreign minister also said after the meeting that progress had been made, but there was still a lot to discuss before reaching an agreement.

In a video shared on his Facebook page, Szijjártó said during the working dinner that the President of the European Commission had been informed of the effects and problems that the sanctions package would cause to Hungary.

Hungary could not support this sanctions package unless the European Commission offers a solution to these problems, the foreign minister added.

This sanctions package amounts to “dropping a nuclear bomb on the Hungarian economy”, Szijjártó said, echoing Orbán’s remarks in a interview last Friday.

Under the Commission’s proposal tabled last week that would see a ‘comprehensive ban on all Russian oil’ within six months and refined petroleum products by the end of the year, Hungary and Slovakia would be allowed to continue to buy in Moscow until the end of 2023 under existing contracts.

However, Hungary was fast to reject the plan and requested a complete exemption from the embargo.

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