Hungary, EU foreign ministers failed in an attempt to pressure country to lift its veto on a proposed oil embargo against Russia

, SEE Energy News

EU foreign ministers failed in an attempt to pressure Hungary to lift its veto on a proposed oil embargo against Russia, with Lithuania saying the union is held hostage by a member state.

The European Commission’s ban on crude oil imports in early May will be its toughest sanction to date in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine and includes compensation for EU countries that are most dependent on Russian oil.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the meeting that it was not possible to reach an agreement today, adding that Hungary had made its argument based on economic rather than political concerns.

Some diplomats now cite the 30-31 May summit as a key moment in an agreement to phase out Russian oil, probably within six months, with a longer transition period for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Hungary, Russia’s closest ally in the EU, has said it wants hundreds of millions of euros from the EU to mitigate the damage from the embargo on Russian oil. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sijarto said that the Government had not received a new serious proposal from the European Commission on oil sanctions since Ursula von der Leyen visited Budapest a few days ago. He said that the EU must propose a solution: to finance investments and compensate for the rise in prices, which requires a complete modernization of Hungary’s energy structure, and would amount to 15-18 billion euros.

The oil embargo, which is already imposed by the United States and the United Kingdom, is considered the best way to reduce Russia’s income from the war in Ukraine. The EU has already banned Russian coal imports.