Breaking ranks with EU, Hungary able to pay for Russian fuel in roubles – EURACTIV.com

Hungary mentioned on Wednesday (6 April) it was ready to pay roubles for Russian fuel, breaking ranks with the European Union which has sought a united entrance in opposing Moscow’s demand for cost within the forex.

Hungary can pay for shipments in roubles if Russia asks it to, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán informed a information convention on Wednesday in reply to a Reuters query.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Europe it dangers having fuel provides reduce except it pays in roubles as he seeks retaliation over Western sanctions for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

With weeks to go earlier than payments are due, the European Commission has mentioned that these with contracts requiring cost in euros or {dollars} ought to follow that.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto mentioned earlier that EU authorities had “no role” to play in its fuel provide cope with Russia, which was based mostly on a bilateral contract between models of Hungarian state-owned MVM and of Gazprom.

Hungary has been one of some EU member states which have rejected vitality sanctions towards Moscow in response to the invasion, which Russia phrases a “special military operation”.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose authorities has pursued shut enterprise relations with Moscow for over a decade, swept to energy for a fourth consecutive time period in elections on Sunday, partly on a pledge to protect safety of fuel provide for Hungarian households.

Reliant on Russian fuel

While Putin’s demand has raised hackles in lots of Europe’s capitals, its governments – which on common depend on Russia for greater than a 3rd of their fuel – are discussing the problem with vitality firms.

On Monday, Slovakia mentioned it’ll act in unison with the EU, whereas Poland’s dominant fuel firm PGNiG has maintained that its unique contract with Gazprom which expires on the finish of this 12 months is binding on each events.

In Austria, vitality agency OMV mentioned on Friday it had had preliminary contact with Gazprom about paying for pure fuel in roubles, although the federal government in Vienna mentioned there was no foundation for cost in any forex apart from euros or {dollars}.

The European Union to this point has not imposed sanctions on oil and fuel from Russia however is getting ready to suggest a ban on coal imports and different merchandise.

The European Commission’s intention “that there should be some kind of common response from countries importing Russian gas” was not thought-about mandatory, Szijjarto mentioned, including that international locations had individually signed bilateral contracts.

“And … no one has a say in how we modify our own contract.”

Hungary, which is closely reliant on Russian fuel and oil imports, signed a brand new long-term fuel provide deal final 12 months underneath which Gazprom is predicted to ship 4.5 billion cubic metres of fuel yearly.

Meanwhile, Putin has mentioned increasing Moscow’s financial cooperation with Belgrade, together with within the vitality sector, together with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić on Wednesday.

Serbia’s contract for Russian fuel expires on May 31. “Talks about the new contract need to be launched as soon as possible,” an announcement from Vučić’s workplace mentioned.

Russian fuel deliveries to Europe by way of three key pipeline routes had been broadly regular general on Wednesday morning, with eastbound flows into Poland from Germany falling again to zero after briefly resuming in a single day.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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