Central Europe

Hungary Opposes EU Sanctions On Russia, Calls For Negotiated Settlement In Ukraine

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó via Wikimedia Commons

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Speaking at a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó declared that “Sanctions have taken the EU to a dead end. Sanctions harm us Europeans more than the Russians. Everyone can see that. This is not a political statement, it’s a fact.”

He stated that Hungary will not support any EU sanctions that restrict Hungarian-Russian nuclear cooperation. “We will not support any step, no matter how small, that restricts Hungarian-Russian nuclear cooperation,” Szijjártó said, criticizing a new proposed EU sanctions package against Russia.

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungary’s only nuclear plant, produces half of the country’s electricity needs, meaning that the country is dependent on nuclear power to meet its domestic consumption needs. In 2022, Hungary signed a deal with Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom to build two new nuclear reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant.

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The Hungarian Foreign Minister explained, “As immediate neighbors of Ukraine, we Hungarians are experiencing the immediate and severe effects of war first-hand, which is why we are focusing on peace-building and creating opportunities for peace. Any decision that could lead to the prolongation of the war is contrary to our interests, and therefore we do not consider it right or a good idea to increase arms transfers, but we do not prevent the implementation of the EU’s decision in this regard.”

Szijjártó warned that Budapest is reassessing its position on support for Ukraine, saying that Zelensky’s “decisions diminishing the rights of the Hungarian national community will make it more difficult to make sacrificial decisions in support of Ukraine in the coming period.”

Hungary’s position with regard to promoting a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Ukraine is overwhelming supported by citizens in the European Union. A new survey by the Századvég Foundation Project Europe found that “Europeans would expect their leaders to work towards a peace agreement as soon as possible and a quick end to the war.” Support for a peaceful settlement to the war stands at 88% in Hungary.

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