Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is threatening to veto the extension of EU sanctions against Russia, which must be renewed every six months, Politico reported on Feb. 22, citing three unnamed diplomats familiar with the matter.
One of the reasons is that Hungary wants four individuals to be removed from the list.
According to the report, Hungary is also opposing a proposal, backed by all other member states, to prolong the extension period from six to 12 months, which would give Budapest fewer opportunities to torpedo the sanctions and derail EU decisions.
So far, EU ambassadors have not reached a compromise with Hungary, despite the EU being ready to comply with demands to remove the four people from the sanctions lists, two diplomats said.
On Feb. 22, the officials are set to discuss a “tentative compromise” that involves moving to 9-month renewal periods rather than the current six months, according to the diplomats.
The EU has sanctioned over 1,400 people in relation to Russia’s war in Ukraine, including oligarchs, members of Russia’s parliament, military and security officials, and Russian administrators in Ukraine’s occupied territories. If Hungary continues its veto, all of them would have to be de-listed, the report reads.
At the same time, the EU is close to agreeing on the tenth sanctions package against Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the next sanctions package would help restrict 11 billion euros worth of multiple electronic components used in Russian weapons - such as drones, missiles, and helicopters - via trade bans and technology controls.
The EU aims to adopt the package this week, before the one-year mark of the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24.