Hungary's energy security must be guaranteed, foreign minister says
The Hungarian foreign minister on Thursday met in Moscow with Alexander Novak, the Russian deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, Denis Manturov, the Russian deputy prime minister of industry and trade, and Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. The government has an obligation to fully ensure Hungary's energy supply even amidst the European energy crisis, Mr Szijjarto underlined at thr joint press conference held with Mr Lavrov.
The current visit to Russia has two goals, one is to fully ensure Hungary’s energy supply, and the other is to declare that our country wants peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, stated Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto on Thursday in Moscow. At a joint press conference held with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the head of the Hungarian ministry underlined that the government has an obligation to fully guarantee Hungary’s supply even amidst the European energy crisis.
That is why Hungary decided to purchase an additional 700 million cubic metres of natural gas over and above the amount stipulated in the long-term contracts, which “whether one likes it or not, would not be possible without sourcing from Russia.”
“You can sell vain hopes, you can daydream, you can blow empty bubbles of communication, but a fact still remains a fact, the physical reality remains the physical reality, that without Russian resources it is simply impossible to buy so much additional natural gas in Europe today,”
Peter Szijjarto pointed out.
He added that Hungary’s gas reserves – the levels of which are currently at 27.3 per cent of annual consumption – are being replenished according to schedule, while the European average level stands at 17.3 per cent. “In normal times, this would be sufficient and would provide security, but we all know that we are not living in normal times, so we have to double down on ensuring more certainty,” he emphasized.
Foreign Minister Szijjarto said that all the necessary measures have been taken in Hungary to receive the additional amount and to secure the financial resources. In the coming weeks, approximately 20 million cubic meters of delivery capacity per day will be available for this purpose on the southern route and on the interconnectors in Slovakia and Austria.
He also mentioned that the negotiations have been going on for some time at the expert and corporate level, but a political agreement is also needed. The meeting with FM Lavrov aimed at completing the process as quickly as possible and to start the delivery at the earliest possible time.
“Despite the various circumstances, we want to ensure that no one in Hungary ends up in an unworthy or vulnerable situation because there is not enough natural gas for every individual, family and business in the country,”
The second aim of his visit is to make absolutely clear that Hungary wants peace in Ukraine, for the war brings tragic consequences, Minister Szijjarto said, stressing that
“We ask everyone to do everything in order to end the war and for peace to be established as soon as possible. We would like an immediate ceasefire and peace talks.”
In conclusion, he stated that it would be contrary to the Hungarian national interests if the world reverted back into separate political blocs again.
“We do not want a world order where we again find ourselves on the periphery of one bloc, in a conflict zone or in an area adjacent to a conflict zone,”
At the press conference, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the meeting was substantive and useful. According to the video posted by Mr Szijjarto on Facebook, and the report by the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, they reviewed the progress made and current standing on the implementation of the bilateral tasks agreed upon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban back in February. Hungary and Russia have achieved success in the implementation of joint energy projects, and despite the pandemic, last year’s bilateral trade increased by 25 per cent, Mr Lavrov stated.
Regarding the extension project of the nuclear power plant in Hungary, dubbed Paks II, the Russian foreign minister said,
“We would like to continue the Paks II project, together with Rosatom which we consider a strategically important project.”
He also confirmed that Russia is upholding the agreement on natural gas delivery signed last year.
Mr Lavrov emphasized that they would examine the Hungarian request for more gas purchased from Russia.
The Russian foreign minister indicated that they are looking for ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation with Hungary despite the sanctions.