EU’s €2billion bombshell plan to support nations with oil ban may not sway Hungary

Russian oil ban not enough to stop them funding war says expert

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The funds will come from the RePowerEU package to cut ties to Russian fuels through saving energy, exchanging Russian imports with others, encouraging renewable energy and financing new infrastructure. The €300billion (£254.5billion) RePowerEU plan was announced by the European Commission on Wednesday in an attempt to cut off Russian fossil fuels “well before 2030”.

At a press conference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Ninety-five percent of overall financing will go into speeding up and scaling up the energy transition.”

She added that also included “up to €2billion for oil infrastructure in view of stopping the shipment of Russian oil”. 

The member states in the European Union have been at loggerheads over sanctions on Russian oil imports as Hungary refused to accept sanctions and have been accused of “holding the EU hostage”.

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis said: “Unfortunately the whole union is being held hostage by one member state.”

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has objected to the sanction saying it will destroy his country’s economy as they nearly entirely rely on Russian oil.

On Monday Mr Orbán said that Hungary would not prevent the EU sanctions against Russia so long as there was no threat to Hungary’s energy security. 

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó declared that a “complete modernisation of the Hungarian energy infrastructure” to break from Russian oil will cost €15billion (£12.7billion) and €18billion (£15.2billion).

The minister had previously said that the necessary infrastructure would cost €750million (£636million).

While the €2billion (£1.7billion) announcement on Wednesday has been seen as a step forward for getting Hungary in on the oil ban, it is uncertain if the country will have access to the funds.

The bloc’s €300billion (£254.5billion) package is due to be made up with €225billion £190.8billion) in unused loans from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) with the leftover €75billion (£63.6billion) in grants from sales of additional CO2 emissions permits or from countries’ existing agricultural and cohesion funds provisions.

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Budapest has not finalised its agreement with the EU on its RRP plan to open access to its recovery funding over issues surrounding anti-corruption protections. 

A second Commission official said: “Indeed the RRP of Hungary is not approved yet, and we are in discussions with the Hungarian government – we have made very focused requests on what Hungary could do and should do in order for…the approval of the Hungarian RRP.

“We are continuing that dialogue, and the possibility for funding to be RRF, or additional funding, may be an additional element in this dialogue.”

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