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Brussels will impose sanctions on Russian gas imports, and the Hungarian government will not use its veto power either

Brussels will impose sanctions on Russian gas imports, and the Hungarian government will not use its veto power either

Some European Union countries, such as Germany and Poland, have decided to completely cut off their imports of Russian gas, but only for pipelined gas supplies. However, LNG is still being purchased via Belgium, France and Spain, pushing EU imports of Russian LNG to record levels.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck recently pointed out this dilemma, noting that if Germany is able to stop using Russian gas, other EU countries should be able to do so. Italian Energy Minister Gilberto Bechetto Frattin also stated that his country is capable of dealing without Russian liquefied natural gas.

Spanish Environment Minister Teresa Ribera urged a “joint approach” to resolve the issue, as Madrid would find it difficult to ban Russian LNG if it can continue to enter through other EU countries. Ribera stressed the need to solve the problem quickly.

The purpose of the Commission's proposal is to ban the resale of Russian LNG from EU ports in order to prevent evasion. In addition, according to diplomats, he also plans to ban the import of three new Russian LNG terminals. However, the proposal only addresses half the problem, as current LNG imports will continue due to concerns about rising energy prices in some EU countries.

“We have vetoed it so far,” Gergely Gulyás, head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, said at a government briefing last week on the new sanctions plan. “If the sanctions directly harm Hungarian interests, it does not harm them.” In other words, Hungary can now support the new sanctions package.

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A ban on transshipment and resale at EU ports could increase pressure on those still buying Russian gas and could be the first step towards a complete withdrawal. This week, the Commission intends to submit a written proposal on the new sanctions package, which the EU permanent representatives will discuss at their weekly meeting in two weeks.

Cover image source: Getty Images

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