Orban said he “shot himself with his lungs” in Europe with sanctions against Russia


Budapest — The European Union has “rushed” with careless economic sanctions against Russia. This risks destroying the European economy unless rolled back, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and subsequent sanctions, gas supplies to Europe have been tight, fuel costs have skyrocketed, and countries have struggled to replenish storage and diversify supply channels.

With soaring gas and electricity prices, Oban lowered the long-standing cap on utility prices for high-use households on Wednesday, rolling back one of the 59-year-old Prime Minister’s signature economic policies.

“Initially we thought we were just shooting ourselves with our feet, but now it’s clear that the European economy is shooting lungs and coveting the air,” Oban told public radio in an interview. Told.

Mr Oban said Ukraine needs help, but sanctions have caused widespread damage to the European economy without weakening Russia or bringing months of war closer to resolution. Leaders need to rethink their strategies.

“Sanctions do not help Ukraine, but they are bad for the European economy, and if it continues this way, they will kill the European economy,” Oban said. “What we are seeing now is unbearable.”

“The Moments of Truth must come in Brussels, when leaders admit that they made a miscalculation, the sanctions policy was based on false assumptions, and it must be changed.”

Mr Oban, who was reelected in April, said that without Wednesday’s restraints, it would cause a surge in energy costs for households consuming more than the national average and would need to abolish the entire utility bill cap.

Morgan Stanley economists say curbs could add 1.5 percent points to inflation, already the highest in 20 years and worsened by weak forints.

Prior to the April vote, economists estimated the cost of the utility’s price cap at up to 1.5 trillion forint ($ 3.71 billion), a budget deficit, along with numerous measures to support Oban’s election bid. Caused a surge in.

Orban has faced the most difficult challenges ever since he came to power in the 2010 landslide. Inflation has been at its highest in 20 years, forint plumbing has hit record lows, and European Union funding is at a loss in the debate over democratic standards.

Orban’s other decision to urgently move on a bill to raise tax rates for hundreds of thousands of small businesses this week, as part of a broader impetus to curb the swelling budget deficit, has sparked several protests in Budapest. rice field.

($ 1 = 404.59 forint)