January 28, 2023

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Brussels is already preparing for a new pro-Russian veto of the Hungarian government

The bloc is drawing up new economic sanctions over the war in Ukraine, and EU member states are calling for tougher measures against Russia, including the exclusion of several banks from the SWIFT financial messaging network and a ban on diamond imports. While an eighth set of punitive measures has been under discussion for some time, the event has now accelerated after Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that he would order a partial demobilization and move 300,000 reservists to the Ukrainian front. Regions of eastern Ukraine, the largest part of which the international community has declared no advance.

New measures are being demanded by countries such as Poland and the Baltic states, which have banned luxury goods and merchandise in response to his military expansion this week. Russia IT, cyber security and software sectors will also be targeted (Later in the article, we will present in detail what it is all about – Ed.) However, according to officials, it is difficult to find consensus among all 27 member states, and Hungary has said it does not want new sanctions. In a Financial Times analysis.

They target oil, not diamonds

The European Commission’s main goal is to pass the G7’s tough deal on capping Russian oil prices after months of US-led negotiations. Already the European Union Introduced the oil embargoIt is only valid from January 2023, and Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria are partially exempted from it: they only have to stop buying crude oil by pipeline until 2024.

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On the other hand, price range is a new tool Will: It will determine the maximum price at which individual countries can buy Russian Urals crude oil, which is already sold at a discount. They will restrict who can take out insurance for shipping, as well as ban EU companies from shipping contracts. These last two steps were already part of the oil embargo agreement earlier this summer, but the restrictions still require additional regulation.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen said on Wednesday that the new sanctions were needed in response to Russia’s regional mobilization and annexation of parts of eastern Ukraine. But some officials believe it will be difficult to get more than the limits set in all EU member states. It was not even discussed at Friday’s meeting of EU and member state officials.

Hungary could veto the new one Obstacles

According to media reports, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the Fidesz party conference on Wednesday that the EU’s “Existing barriers should be removedThe ruling party announced on Thursday Planning a national consultation On whether Hungarians support EU sanctions.

On the other hand, the Financial Times reminds us: despite these signs of internal resistance, diplomats in Brussels believe that Budapest has so far supported every round of restrictions against Moscow, and that the eighth will have significantly little impact on the Hungarians. Economics rather than the oil embargo.

The fact that Hungarian Foreign Policy Chief Petar Szijardo held talks with a member of the Russian government as the sole EU representative speaks against their confidence when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dramatically walked away from the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Among other things, the two politicians spoke about the fact that as Ukraine’s neighbor, Hungary would see every consequence of the war immediately and most severely. He cited runaway inflation and the influx of refugees as examples of this. According to Szyjardo, “negotiations and dialogues are necessary”, and only by making peace can the problems be solved.

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“Of course, now at home mainly opposition representatives, informants or representatives of the opposition press will say why I met with Sergey Lavrov, but I think that peace cannot be achieved without negotiations. If there are no peace negotiations in the coming period, the world will face even more serious consequences, it is better to prevent it,” said the politician, and then talked about the fact that “the Hungarian economy cannot”. Russian energy will operate without carriers, they will not be able to heat, use hot water or cook.”

“Russia plays a very important role in the infrastructure aspects of Central Europe, both in crude oil and natural gas,” the minister said, according to MTI. Szijjártó stressed that Gazprom will continue to supply our country without interruption and, thanks to the contract volume agreement, will supply an additional 5.8 million cubic meters of gas every day. The Turkish Stream gas pipeline has now become the most reliable transport route between Russia and Europe, while there is no supply from the north and west.

The prospect of a veto, expected to sway the Hungarian leadership toward the Russians, was only heightened by the meeting with Peter Szijardo.

The Baltics and the Poles are already bombarded with sanctions

Countries that have been most pressing for the EU to increase pressure on Moscow, including Poland and the Baltic states, have put forward detailed measures they say the group should support. Their ideas include hitting Belgium with a ban on diamond imports, excluding many Russian banks from the global SWIFT network, limiting access to information technology and other services to Russia, and applying the same sanctions to Belarus, Moscow’s ally in the war.

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But officials have downplayed the likelihood of agreement on some of the more ambitious ideas, with some countries arguing that existing sanctions need more time to take effect. The Polish-Baltic list will be shortened as the EU’s unanimous consent is required to implement sanctions.

“The more you add, the more you give some member states a reason to resent,” said one EU diplomat, who says the other side’s problem is that the sanctions list has too few items.

A thin list of obstacles may follow

According to another diplomat, the new round should continue to focus on the oil price ceiling and closing loopholes. “Because we’re largely cut off from the Russian economy, there aren’t many products to attack,” the person said.

EU diplomats are due to discuss a draft of the new sanctions next week, with Brussels responding, two people briefed on the talks said. Putin’s decision is Wednesday, with which he called up the reserves on Wednesday and threatened nuclear war in a speech. A spokesman for the commission said on Thursday that EU foreign ministers had discussed the next possible control measures that could be used, at the UN in New York.

The spokesman added that the new round would focus on additional sanctions against Russian individuals and companies and additional export restrictions on “civilian products”.