Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: War, sanctions could trigger European energy shortage

The war in Ukraine and related sanctions risk triggering an energy shortage in Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Budapest on Thursday. Addressing the inauguration of the Bosch Budapest Innovation Campus, the prime minister said that although there were some 11,000 sanctions in place against Russia, the war had not abated and attempts to weaken Russia had failed. At the same time, the "brutal level of inflation" and energy shortage caused by the sanctions could bring Europe to its knees, he warned.

Orbán said he did not know how long Brussels would stick to its current sanctions policy, but “the problems keep mounting”.

Hungary will not see plants stopped or closed due to energy shortages, Orbán said. “We will have enough gas and electricity.”

“We will not face energy shortages, and that’s not a promise but statement of fact,” Orbán said.

Companies planning to invest and manufacture products in Hungary will always have enough energy to do so, he said.

One of Hungary’s strategic aims is to become one of the most innovative countries in the European Union, and programmes and developments furthering that goal will always be supported, Orbán said. This was the aim behind the creation of the new foundational model for Hungary’s universities, he said, adding that the government was spending more on higher education each year.

Unless Europe changes its policy of sanctions, its situation “won’t be easy”, Orbán said. He added, however, that in spite of global challenges, investing in Hungary will remain worthwhile because “Hungary has national and local authorities, as well as universities, that have an interest in finding the solutions the best solutions for the future.”

Despite ongoing challenges, Hungary is building Europe’s largest battery plant and the machinery, vehicles and technologies of the future, and the country hosts “a lot of innovation”, Orbán said. The researchers and scientists who constantly develop new solutions will continue to move Hungary forward in the current difficult situation, too, he added.

“As things stand right now, Europe has run out of energy,” the prime minister said. The energy it does have is imported and expensive, he said. “Despite all this, a battle must be fought against green fundamentalists and the bureaucrats who get involved in geopolitical games,” Orbán said. They need to be persuaded not to rule out the use of certain types of energy sources, he added.

“We’re gradually giving up a range of energy sources for political reasons, and by doing so we’re making our own lives more expensive and making things more difficult for our own industry in the global competition,” Orbán said. Few continents are in as difficult a position as Europe, but this continent is the only one making its own life quite so hard, he added.

Orbán congratulated the Hungarian engineers, developers and researchers working at Bosch, thanking them for their work on Hungary’s behalf. “It’s clear that your talent, level of preparedness and performance was the number one reason why Bosch decided to build its centre here,” he said.

The prime minister also thanked Bosch’s German leaders for “considering Hungary a friend”.

“We want to see Bosch do the most significant part of their work here in Hungary so that we can say that Bosch is building the future in our country, meaning the future is being built in Hungary,” Orbán said.

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