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Kovacs: Hungary cannot replace Russian energy in short term

Hungary cannot find alternative energy supplies to replace Russian imports in the short term, Zoltan Kovacs, state secretary for international communications and relations, told the BBC on Monday evening.

Kovacs said in his interview that any of the current proposals aimed at banning Russian imports would bring the Hungarian economy to a halt and render the everyday lives of Hungarians untenable.

Kovacs noted that 65 percent of Hungary’s oil supplies and 85 percent of its gas came through pipelines from Russia. Hungary is “tied to Russia” by those pipelines, he said, adding that the country would not be able to secure alternatives in the next 3-5 years.

Asked if the Hungarian government was eyeing some form of preferential treatment within the European Union should the bloc impose a ban on Russian oil, Kovacs said the government had not seen the final plans, but added that the government’s position against any such embargo had not changed.

Put to him that Hungary’s position could impact the EU’s uniform stance against the war in Ukraine, Kovacs said a reasonable compromise must be reached which is acceptable to all parties, based on a pragmatic approach. The economy cannot be fuelled, vehicles driven, or homes heated by ideology, he insisted.

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