EU 'shot itself in foot' with Russia trade sanctions: Hungary PM
BUDAPEST - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoThe EU "shot itself in the foot" by imposing trade sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a radio interview Friday.
The European sanctions over Moscow's perceived role in separatist violence in eastern Ukraine "hurt us more than the Russians," Orban said during his weekly interview spot on state-run radio.
"The EU should compensate not only producers suffering now but should rethink the whole policy," Orban said.
The sanctions, coupled with Russia's retaliatory ban on most EU food imports, mean some EU countries are suffering a trade blow. EU member Hungary is also reliant on Russian gas.
Russia is former communist Hungary's largest trading partner outside the EU, and in 2014 it granted a multi-billion-euro loan to Budapest to expand the country's only nuclear power plant.
"For an export-dependent economy, trade sanctions are always against the national interests," Orban said.
Orban said he would look for partners to convince the EU to change tack on sanctions, and urged a summit meeting to discuss future trade cooperation between the EU and Russia.
The European Commission said Thursday it would take exceptional measures to support growers in the EU affected by Russia's ban on food products.
EU Agricultural Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the measures would be unveiled "early next week" and would aim to support sellers of fruit and vegetables that are "clearly in trouble".