Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban is one of the most prominent faces in the European Union that have attacked and pressurized European Union over its decision and orders. Recently, Orban declared a state of emergency in reaction to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine blaming the EU for the aggression.
Viktor also said that the conflict is threatening the energy and financial stability of the country’s economy and households. The nation has till now denied supporting the EU’s sixth package of sanctions.
Now, another new decision has been taken up inside Hungary that has sent its own bordering and supportive Slovakia into chaos. When it comes to gas and fuel, Orban has sent a clear message that oil and gas are for Hungarians first.
Subsidy to just Hungarians
The Hungarian government has announced to provide fuel at reduced prices to cars with Hungarian registration plates, this means subsidies to only registered Hungarian cars. According to Hungarian public broadcaster- Hirado, these new orders will be applicable at all fuel centers in Hungary.
According to the Hungarian government, the decision was taken to protect the country’s security and economy.
Viktor Orban’s office states that the Hungarian economy needs to be made crisis-resistant during the war and every effort must be made to reduce overheads, support families, and preserve the value of pensions.
But, Orban’s decision has sent Slovakia into trouble. After Budapest’s announcement, at the country’s petrol stations, motorists from neighboring Slovakia rushed across the border in the hope of capped fuel prices.
Shortly after the announcement, there were reports that cars with Slovak plates queued up for petrol in Hungary at several petrol stations alongside the border. They were waiting to fill their cars with fuel at the official price. Meanwhile, the station workers had no idea how they would technically manage the two prices.
Later on, the officials clarified the offer is for only Hungarians. The nation will be banning “petrol tourism” in which people are coming from neighboring countries to take advantage of the European Union’s cheapest gas stations.
Setback for the neighbors
This move indeed is a major setback for the neighboring EU nations as it has the potential for violating rules governing the EU’s single market, which prohibits discrimination based on nationality or country of residence.
This restriction is also done to restrict additional burden on the Hungarian government because there is spiraling inflation.
The EU bloc is inching to secure alternative supplies to Russian energy and pushing more sanctions on Russia. But, till now, Hungary and Slovakia were reluctant to allow it. In recent times, Slovakia has started easing up to the EU after a few exemptions were given.
But, Hungary which holds the Druhzba pipeline has control of Slovakian gas right now and with Druhzba Supplies secured by the EU, Orban has indicated Slovakia to stop looking for more exemptions and start paying the cost.
This move has sent Slovakians into a dilemma as they were enjoying Hungarian fuel. When the reduced rates were announced, Slovakians rushed to Hungary for refills. But, Hungary made it clear that it will push its own citizens first and no privilege will be given to others.
Hungary’s decision has pushed the EU’s core values at stake. Viktor Orban believes that such steps are necessary for the country to prevent itself from going into a catastrophe. Now, how will the Bloc react to this remains to be seen.