Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto urges pragmatic approach to energy security

The issue of energy security requires a pragmatic approach and "common sense" instead of philosophical and ideological debates, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Baku on Thursday.

Energy security is the most critical issue on the international political stage today, but the topic is now “absolutely overpoliticised” and being turned into an ideological question, Szijjarto told the 27th Baku Energy Forum, according to a ministry statement.

The security of energy supply should be “a matter of physics and mathematics” that concerns resources, supply routes and the calculation of energy needs, Szijjarto said. Ideological statements cannot heat homes or run the economy, he added.

“The most important duty of all right now is to bring back normality, pragmatism and common sense,” Szijjarto said.

The minister said countries’ access to energy sources was determined by historical and geographical aspects. Changes to a country’s energy mix require investments in infrastructure, he added.

Concerning the situation in Europe, Szijjarto said the continent was focused solely on how it can “get rid of Russian sources of energy”, but there was “no practical dialogue on how to replace it”.

He said the Hungarian government would not agree to any sanctions on Russian natural gas imports, as some 85 percent of the gas consumed in Hungary comes from Russia.

Hungary is committed to diversifying its energy sources, for instance by buying gas sourced from a field in the Caspian Sea, the minister said, adding, however, that this required an increase in production and expanding the capacity of the Trans-Anatolian pipeline.

Hungary will be able to rely on gas delivered from Azerbaijan in the future, but this will only be realistic once supply routes between the Caspian region and Europe are expanded, Szijjarto said. This requires European Union resources, commitment and specific programmes, he added.

The minister said that instead of putting pressure on countries dependent on Russian energy to cut off those supplies, the EU should focus on finding ways to incorporate new sources into its energy mix.

Szijjarto said that words and actions on energy diversification were not lining up, arguing that the Nabucco and South Stream pipeline projects had been dropped and the extraction of the Black Sea gas field was not moving forward.

Hungary will not give up its existing energy supply system if that means higher energy prices, he said, adding that energy prices had a significant impact on people’s living conditions and economic competitiveness.

Szijjarto held talks with the Azeri, Bulgarian, Kazakh and Romanian energy ministers, as well as the first vice president of Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company on the sidelines of the forum.

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