Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary won’t discuss possibility of gas embargo

Hungary's government refuses to even discuss the possiblity of introducing a gas embargo against Russia, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Parliament on Monday.

Szijjarto said that in addition to the serious security threat to Europe posed by the war in Ukraine, ensuring energy and economic security also presented a challenge.

The question of whether Europe would have a sufficient supply of energy was first raised at the end of last year, “and this was the first time that the main issue wasn’t price” but rather volume, the minister said.

“Unfortunately, we’re again in a similarly difficult situation” because gas deliveries from Russia to Europe have fallen significantly, and the rate at which the price of natural gas is rising “could bring European economies to their knees”, Szijjarto said.

Meanwhile, the European Union has failed to steer the conflict towards a resolution, while Europe’s competitiveness has fallen considerably in the recent period, he added.

Concerning gas deliveries to Hungary, he said most of the gas flows would be shifted to the southern delivery route. Hungary imports roughly 30 million cubic metres of gas each day, more than half of which is delivered via the southern route passing through Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia, Szijjarto said.

He said the government has decided to increase Hungary’s gas imports beyond the volume specified in the country’s long-term gas purchase agreements. The extra gas will be stored in Hungary’s gas reservoirs for the heating season, he added.

Asked about migration pressure on the southern border, Szijjarto said the Hungarian authorities have prevented some 114,000 people from crossing the border illegally so far this year, compared with less than 48,000 at this point in 2021. The migrants on the southern border are getting increasingly aggressive, Szijjarto said, adding that they “are arming themselves and are using those weapons sometimes against each other and at other times to threaten the Hungarian police officers and soldiers protecting the border”.

“This is unacceptable,” the minister said. “These people have no business being in Hungary. We won’t let them in regardless of how badly Brussels wants us to or how strongly the NGOs tied to [US financier George] Soros are pushing them onto us.”

“We’re at the eleventh hour,” he said. “It’s time Brussels changed its migration policy.”

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said Hungary has so far taken in more than 833,000 refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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