EU Russian oil ban held up because Hungary objected to sanctioning Patriarch Kirill

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Hungary receives exemption from EU’s Russian oil embargo

After long negotiations, the European Union finalized its decision to ban purchases of all seaborn Russian oil and refined products for six to eight months on Monday. The deal exempts Hungary from the embargo, allowing it to continuously purchase crude from Russia, which has invaded the neighboring country, Ukraine. Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban celebrated the outcome of the negotiations on his Facebook page: “Hungary is exempt from the oil embargo!”

Since Hungary accounts for only a fraction of the flow of Russian oil to the European Union, the ban means billions of dollars in loss for Russia.

But on Wednesday, Hungary was holding up the finalization of the package, insisting on removing the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill from the list of sanctioned individuals. „Hungary's position on the EU sanctions against Patriarch Kirill has long been known," Orban said on Thursday." However, Hungary is abiding by the agreement reached between the EU heads of state and government at the European Council meeting, and these decisions are binding on everyone."

UPDATE 16:59: According to Euronews Patriarch Kirill, one of Vladimir Putin's most fervent supporters will be excluded from the latest package of EU sanctions against Russia after Hungary's objection. 

The Hungarian forint is recovering after a sharp fall

Hungarian currency reached a record low at the end of May. On Tuesday, it was almost at its all-time low when the euro was more than 390 forint - it fell 396 at midday. The fall came after PM Viktor Orban announced his plan for extra taxes and Hungary's opt-out from the Russian embargo. Bank of Hungary's interest rate hike and its justification has failed to reassure markets, and the forint further weakened reaching 397 by late evening.

The forint has scope to recover much of its losses and gain more than 7% in the next year - Reuters reports. Reuters' poll's median forecast saw the forint at 370 to the euro, up 7.4% from Tuesday's closing levels. Analyst Peter Virovacz (ING) forecasts the forint would stay under pressure in the coming months, especially as the global mood sours, before some space for gains opens up as worries ease.

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Hungary

Hungary has confirmed the country's first case of monkeypox in a 38-year-old man. Health authorities are still investigating whether the patient has traveled abroad recently, Surgeon General Cecilia Muller told MTI, Hungary's state news agency.

The health officer said that the monkeypox does not spread easily, only through close contact. It lasts about 2-4 weeks and can spread more easily in immunocompromised and pregnant patients.

Monkeypox is a rare African disease, which has now been detected in Europe and North America. Patients usually recover spontaneously. The virus is transmitted from animals to humans. Monkeypox was first identified in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, and it is now considered endemic in dozens of African countries.

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