The EU dismisses Hungary’s nationwide consultation on Russia sanctions

The European Commission dismissed the results of Hungary’s contentious government consultation on EU sanctions on Russia, which were disclosed on January 16.

According to the results of the month-long survey, around 97% of respondents rejected numerous components of the EU’s sanctions policy towards Moscow for its war against Ukraine, particularly energy-related measures.

97.5% of respondents stated they oppose EU sanctions on Russian oil, with 97.6% opposing restrictions on Russian gas and other energy imports.

Observers previously criticized the questionnaire as misleading due to the labeling of the bloc’s retaliatory measures as “Brussels sanctions” or imposed by “Brussels leaders,” even though all EU member states, including Hungary, had agreed on them.

The European Commission, on the other hand, has observed the “shallow involvement of the consulted citizens,” according to the EU’s chief foreign affairs spokesperson, Peter Stano, Euractiv reported..

According to official figures, less than 1.4 million of Hungary’s 8.2 million registered voters participated in the consultation from October 14 to December 15.

The approach of organizing a referendum that lacks legal force and trustworthiness reminded the phony voting that Russia used to organize in illegally captured territories.

Balázs Orbán, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s principal advisor, remarked that the “results speak for themselves.”

“Brussels must reassess its sanctions policy and devise a new strategy. “What we need is peace, not further sanctions,” the counselor said.

Hungary has already raised a question about the possibility of EU leaders and the European Commission reviewing the impact of the EU sanctions against Moscow on individual member states in December, particularly in light of the energy crisis.

“Before we agree on the tenth or eleventh package, we need to sit down and have a meaningful conversation about the impact of sanctions,” said Hungarian’s PM advisor Orbán, adding that the next EU summit should do this.

However, the EU’s position towards Russia’s war of aggression remains strong.

“Member states are continually examining the sanctions to determine if we need to respond to further escalation by Russia in this illegal war against Ukraine and obvious violation of the UN charter and international law,” said Stano.

It is unlikely that the EU leadership will conduct new research in response to Budapest’s request.

“When a decision is made about the next package or amendments to existing packages, it will be made unanimously by 27 member states,” Stano stressed.

Despite many attempts to weaken the sanctions packages and remove specific individuals and businesses from the EU’s sanctions list, Hungary has not blocked any prior EU sanctions packages.

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