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Energy security must not depend on political, ideological whim, minister says

Hungary refuses to imperil its energy supply by giving in to any kind of political or ideological whim, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Tuesday.
13. March 2024 5:33

Addressing the Budapest Balkans Forum, Szijjarto said the Balkan region was vital to Europe’s energy security, adding that supply should be regarded as a physical rather than an ideological issue.

He said diversification would remain a pipedream unless words were followed by action.

Hungary would gladly buy crude oil or natural gas from new sources, he said, but the infrastructure had yet to be built, so existing suppliers and transit routes must be relied on.

Existing suppliers should be supplemented by new sources in the process of diversification rather than replaced, the minister said.

Szijjarto praised the price and predictability of current gas supply and expressed appreciation for Serbia and Turkiye as “reliable transit countries”.

He said it would be necessary to add European infrastructure on the South-East axis, but the European Commission “doesn’t want to provide financial support for this”, arguing that gas would no longer be part of the energy mix in 15 years’ time.

“Who knows what will happen in fifteen years?” he said. But in the meantime “we don’t want to freeze and we want to keep our industry going,” he added.

Szijjarto said increasing LNG imports did not depend on Hungary alone but also on the expansion of Balkan capacities.

Regarding sustainable energy production, he said Hungary favoured protecting the environment but rejected any attempt to form a political or ideological monopoly over green policymaking. Preserving the planet for future generations should be treated as a practical matter rather than approached ideologically, he added.

Also, protecting the environment must go hand in hand with boosting competitiveness, he said.

Szijjarto said Hungary was focusing on developing solar and nuclear energy. The government wants to double the 6,000 MG of solar capacity that is now available while the Paks nuclear plant expansion would entail reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by 17 million tonnes, he said.

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