Hungary PM Orban condemns EU sanctions on Russia

Hungary PM Viktor Orban - file pic It is not the first time Mr Orban has rejected the majority view of EU partners

Hungary's conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the EU is harming itself by imposing sanctions on Russia, describing the measures as "shooting oneself in the foot".

He was speaking after his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, had also criticised the EU sanctions.

Russia is Hungary's main trading partner outside the EU. Both Hungary and Slovakia depend on Russian gas.

The EU says Russia must stop supporting armed separatists in Ukraine.

Speaking on Hungary's Kossuth Radio, Mr Orban said "the sanctions policy pursued by the West... causes more harm to us than to Russia.

"In politics, this is called shooting oneself in the foot."

EU sanctions are now restricting Russian state access to Western loans, and blocking exports of defence-related equipment to Russia. EU exports of oil industry technology to Russia are also banned, but not gas-related equipment.

The EU, US and several other Western countries have also blacklisted dozens of senior Russian officials - many of them close to President Vladimir Putin - and firms accused of helping the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia retaliated by banning a wide range of imported Western food.

French meat on sale in Moscow For years Moscow supermarkets have been selling a wide range of Western food
Call for sanctions review

Mr Orban said it was not just European farmers who would need compensation from the EU for lost exports to Russia. "The entire sanctions policy should be reconsidered," he said.

In January Russia signed a major deal to provide Hungary with two new reactors at a nuclear plant generating some 40% of the country's electricity.

Both Hungary and Slovakia share a border with Ukraine. For decades all three countries were in the Soviet bloc, their former communist leaders allied to Moscow.

Mr Orban previously clashed with EU partners over his constitutional changes in Hungary, which critics said undermined civil liberties.

Mr Fico called the EU sanctions against Russia a "meaningless" gesture on Thursday.

"Why should we jeopardise the EU economy that begins to grow?" he told a news conference.

"If there is a crisis situation, it should be solved by other means than meaningless sanctions."

More on This Story

Ukraine crisis

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StudentsBull market

    Employers are snapping up students with this desirable degree

Programmes

  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.