Macron and Orbán explore by phone the options to unblock the sanctions against Russia


The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, held a telephone conversation on Tuesday that is part of the European efforts to unblock the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, in particular due to the doubts that it arouses in Budapest the veto to Russian oil.

A spokesman for Orbán, Bertalan Havasi, has confirmed to the Bloomberg news agency that, together with Macron, “they have discussed issues related to European energy security”, hours after the surprise visit to Budapest by the President of the Commission European, Ursula Von der Leyen.

The Hungarian Prime Minister has defended in the last week that the oil embargo would be an “atomic bomb” against his country’s ability to obtain energy and has even threatened to veto the measure. After Monday’s meeting between Orbán and von der Leyen, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto nonetheless acknowledged “some progress.”

A telematic meeting was also scheduled for this Wednesday to which, in addition to Macron and Orbán, the countries neighboring Hungary and Von der Leyen herself were summoned. In said meeting, postponed for the moment, it was planned to talk about “the security of (energy) supply and the mechanisms of solidarity” due to the sanctions on oil, according to French diplomatic sources.

Asked about the videoconference, a spokesperson for Von der Leyen has indicated that it has been decided to postpone it until “progress” has been made at the technical level to ensure that the remote meeting of the leaders will have “the best results”.

In addition, the spokesman explained that the trip that the head of the Community Executive made to Budapest the day before allowed him to listen to Orbán’s “legitimate” concerns regarding how to ensure that Hungary will continue to have sufficient supply when the flow with Russia is cut off.

“It was not a meeting to make promises, but to ensure adequate understanding at a political and technical level” about the situation and seek “joint solutions”, added Von der Leyen’s spokesman at a press conference in Brussels.

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