Despite Initial Hungarian Opposition to Sanctions, the EU Approves 9th Round of Sanctions Against Russia
Initially, Hungary was against the European Union imposing additional sanctions on Russia.
Hungary stood in opposition to a new sanctions package against Russia during a meeting of EU ambassadors on December 7, 2022 per reports by diplomats who preferred to remain anonymous.
“They are being difficult wherever they can. It is becoming rather predictable,” a senior EU official said to the Financial Times.
The Hungarian government also stood against an EU proposal to double the EU’s fund for sending weapons to Ukraine and other countries.
Several diplomats were anxious that Hungary would use its veto powers against any EU decision that requires unanimous votes. One senior EU diplomat told the Financial Times that “radical moves” are to be expected. Another move Hungary was feared to pull off was a potential veto of the expansion of the border check-free Schengen area to Croatia, and possibly Bulgaria and Romania.
On December 7, the European Commission put forward another package of sanctions against Russia. Nearly 200 individuals and legal entities, three banks, four TV channels and defense industry companies are expected to be blacklisted.
Despite these fears, the EU was able to approve a ninth round of sanctions against Russia as EU leaders greenlit an €18 billion aid package straight to Ukraine.
Hungary backed away from its veto threat after EU member nations agreed to allow the total EU funds that were frozen from Hungary per the new rule of law mechanism to go down from €7.5 to €6.3 billion.
While Hungary relented here, it is still playing a clever geopolitical game of hedging, where it’s willing to entertain all options on the world stage. This is what political realism looks like and all Western countries should take their notepads out and take notes
Ideologically fanatic foreign policies are a non-viable option in these times of great geopolitical tumult.