Budapest, Hungary –
Hungary’s ruling party said on Thursday it wanted to poll its citizens on whether they support European Union sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine. .
Fidesz plans to call for a “national consultation” on energy sanctions that he says have been decided by the EU’s “Brussels elite”, the party’s caucus, Mate Kocsis, said at a news conference on Thursday after the caucus.
“Sanctions are damaging. They are destroying Europe’s economy,” Kocsis said. “We have to convince the decision-makers in Europe, members of the elite, that they shouldn’t maintain energy sanctions because if it were there would be big problems.”
The poll, which the government calls a “national consultation,” is an informal survey of all adults in Hungary. This survey can be mailed back or filled out online.
Such surveys, which have been launched several times by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government since he came to power in 2010, have been criticized by pollsters and opposition parties for containing The question is biased and led, and has no binding legal relevance.
During the press conference, Kocsis acknowledged that the consultation was a “political tool” that the government could use in its debates with the EU on whether to extend or impose more sanctions against the EU. Russia or not. He said the government will decide the timing of the survey.
The Hungarian government has voiced opposition to EU sanctions against Moscow, arguing that they are doing more damage to European economies than Russia. Budapest has also refused to supply arms to neighboring Ukraine, or allow the transfer of its weapons across the border with the troubled country.
Pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet reported on Wednesday that Orban – who has for years cultivated a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin – had told the Fidesz conference that sanctions against Russia should be abolished, and doing so would limit and cut gasoline price inflation in half.