Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Competitiveness crucial factor when pursuing green goals, minister says

Szijjarto: Hungary fulfilled tasks to combat consequences of energy crisis

Hungary has fulfilled all tasks to prevent suffering serious consequences from the energy crisis, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday. Szijjarto told a panel discussion focusing on the future of traditional energy during an event dubbed Russia Energy Week in Moscow that "it is not an exaggeration to say that the European energy market is in crisis". He said the crisis had been caused by three factors: political issues being confused with energy issues, a hostile approach to natural gas and a further cooling of Europe-Russia relations.

“Could the European Union make an improvement correcting these mistakes, we would get closer to a solution,” he added.

“Hungary has fulfilled its tasks in order to prevent suffering serious consequences from the crisis” by creating an opportunity for Hungarian consumers that the price of gas will not increase regardless of global market trends, he said. “We can continue preserving the achievements of the public utility fee reduction scheme,” he added.

Hungary has signed a long-term gas purchase contract with Russia and gas storage facilities in Hungary are 82 percent full, far above the European average, he added.

Other European countries could have also made the strategic decisions to fill storage capacities but they failed to do so, which has contributed to the development of the current difficult energy market situation in Europe, he said.

Szijjarto met Russian energy minister Alexander Novak and Serbia’s deputy prime minister in charge of energy affairs Zorana Mihajlovic in Moscow on Thursday, as well as Azeri energy minister Parviz Shahbazov and United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei. Szijjarto also held talks with Russia’s Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin.

Competitiveness crucial factor when pursuing green goals, minister says

Environmental protection and economic competitiveness must go hand in hand when pursuing green goals, the foreign minister said in Moscow. Hungary believes that green goals must be pursued on the basis of common sense so that environmental protection coincides with economic growth, Peter Szijjarto told a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Week International Forum.

Szijjarto noted that Hungary was the first European Union country to ratify the Paris climate accord and was one of the few countries that has been able to increase its economic output while reducing its harmful emissions.

The minister criticised what he called a competition around the pursuit of green goals, saying that certain players, including green political parties, were hurting the cause of climate protection by “trying to one up each other” in their communication.

As regards Europe’s energy crisis, Szijjarto said many in the EU were conflating the issue of energy with ideology. He said it was a mistake to shut down nuclear power plants, to reject cooperation with Russia, “to be against natural gas” and for the bloc to limit itself to “short-term thinking”.

As a central European country, Hungary has an interest in East-West cooperation, Szijjarto said, arguing that Hungary had always lost out in conflicts between East and West.

He highlighted Hungary and Russia’s new 15-year gas supply deal and the expansion of Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant as two factors contributing to the country’s energy security.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the current energy crisis showed that the transition to renewable energy would take longer than many had hoped. He said economic decisions concerning energy markets should be left to professionals rather than politicians.

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