Hungary: Sanctions on Russia more damaging to West

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister said the West is "shooting itself in the foot" with inadequately thought through economic sanctions against Russia.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday that the European Union's sanctions policy needed to be reassessed and that Russia's response was hurting Hungary's export-based economy. Orban said he was looking for allies within the bloc to change the policy.

Hungary has warned that its agricultural sector will incur annual losses of 80 million euros ($107 million) as a result of Russia's retaliatory measures that ban food imports from those countries that have imposed sanctions. Orban said EU compensation was needed to cover the shortfall.

In January, Hungary signed a deal for Russia to build two reactors at the country's only nuclear power plant in the southern city of Paks. Russia will give Hungary a loan of up to 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion), or around 80 percent of construction costs.

Orban said a summit meeting between the EU and Russia was needed to discuss their future cooperation and long-term relationship on "strategic, economic and territorial issues." He also said his country "defends the territorial integrity of Ukraine and considers it necessary,"

Hungary was one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU during the second quarter, when it saw output increase by 0.8 percent on a quarterly basis.