EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell sees increasing doubts about the sanctions policy against Russia in European capitals. “Some European heads of state and government said the sanctions were a mistake,” said the Spaniard on Monday on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. There is a big debate about whether the sanctions are effective and hit the EU more than Russia.

At the same time, Borrell made it clear that he considered the discussion to be wrong. He accused critics of the sanctions of false information. For example, there are people who have claimed that the oil embargo has caused the price of oil to rise, the EU chief diplomat said. The price of oil fell after the embargo was passed and is currently at the same level as before the start of the Russian war against Ukraine.

“I wish people would put a number after each of their arguments,” Borrell said. The Russian economic data showed how the sanctions worked – for example those on the production of cars and machines since the beginning of the war.

Borrell received support from the German Minister of State for Europe, Anna Lührmann, who represented Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the EU meeting. “We see very clearly that the Russian economy has been hit very hard by the sanctions,” said the Greens politician. For example, Russia is no longer making progress in the aviation industry.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was one of the loudest critics of the EU’s sanctions policy. He said in a radio show late last week that the sanctions policy not only failed to live up to the hopes pinned on it, but had the opposite effect. At first he believed that they had only “shot themselves in the foot”, but now it is clear that it was a shot in the lungs of the European economy, which is now struggling for air everywhere.