Szijjarto: Hungary ‘won’t even discuss’ possibility of gas embargo
A Russian gas embargo would hobble the economy and the country’s ability to function, the foreign ministry cited Szijjarto as saying ahead of a meeting of European Union energy ministers in Luxembourg.
The meeting will also cover the establishment of a joint platform for energy procurement, the minister noted.
“We don’t have a problem with the European Union seeking new sources of gas, but participation must be voluntary,” Szijjarto said. “No obligations related to procurement can be imposed on member states.”
Szijjarto also noted the technical issues on the gas supply routes between Russia and western Europe. Hungary expects the European Commission to investigate whether these are indeed caused by a delay in the return of equipment needed to operate the pipeline system which had been sent to Canada for maintenance, he said.
“If this is true then we expect the European Commission to take some form of action to prevent a short-term crisis in Europe’s gas supply,” Szijjarto said. Several western European countries have had to declare an emergency, he noted.
“The war in our neighbourhood and the sanctions imposed because of it have led to serious price increases on the European energy market,” Szijjarto said. There is also “a very serious problem” with regard to volume “which got thrown into a vicious cycle, and the volume-related challenges led to more price increases”, he added.
Meanwhile, Szijjarto said Hungary’s gas stores were at three-quarters of the EU’s mandatory gas storage levels.