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Hungary repels attacks endangering energy supply, minister says

Hungary has staved off threats endangering its energy supply, having obtained exemptions to provisions in the new European Union sanctions package, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, said in Brussels on Monday.

In the press conference held during the break of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, which discussed the twelfth sanctions package against Russia, Hungary quashed a deadline for ending the exemption it has enjoyed to buy Russian crude oil through the Druzhba Pipeline.

Without the pipeline, Hungary and Slovakia would not be supplied adequately since Croatian transit capacity was too limited, he said.

As well as defeating “this hostile step”, Hungary appeared to have secured the extension of the rule which expired on Dec 5 enabling Hungarian oil and gas company Mol to continue exporting refined Russian crude oil to the Czech and Croatian markets.

Szijjarto said the sanctions package would not be vetoed if the important economic interest of Hungary were not undermined.

“It appears that the European Commission has accepted this and the draft of the sanctions proposal will include it; we’ll see,” he said.

Further, all sanctions proposals relating to the nuclear industry were rejected, he said. Such proposals would have rendered the expansion of Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant, which was crucial to the country’s energy security, impossible, he added.

Also, regarding financial transactions outside the European Union, the adoption of restrictions that would harm national interests were abandoned, he said, adding that the government did not support the addition of either Chinese or Turkish companies to the sanctions list.

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