Szijjarto: Brussels ‘must do its homework’ to ensure diversification
Szijjarto told a conference on the Southern Gas Corridor and green energy in Baku that the most realistic screnario for diversification in central Europe was the involvement of gas extraction in Azerbaijan without delay. Hungary and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding on this earlier this week, he added.
At the same time, he warned that certain infrastructure preconditions existed, and even if the capacity increase of the trans-Anatolian gas pipeline was good news, significant network development is needed in south-eastern Europe.
Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia will ask the European Commission to handle the issue as a priority and support developments needed to guarantee energy security in central Europe, he said.
“If the European Union is not only using diversification as a tool for political communication, then it is high time that Brussels act and finance the necessary infrastructure development in south-eastern Europe, enabling the involvement of Azerbaijani gas extraction,” he added.
He told the panel discussion that this was currently the only possibility to enable diversification.
Hungary, as a landlocked country, greatly depends on others for its energy supplies, including on neighbouring and other transit countries carrying out the necessary investments, he said.
Energy security, he said, was a matter of national security, and the government would continue to resolutely dismiss any attempt to interfere in this area. Hungary’s energy supply continues to be secure, he added, thanks largely to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline which is operating at 100 percent capacity.
Szijjarto said attempts had been made to prevent construction of the pipeline but the project went ahead “thanks to the brave decisions of the participating countries”. “Had we not built it, today we’d face very serious problems,” he said.
During the green transition, he added, natural gas is indispensable for meeting climate and environmental protection goals.
The minister noted that Hungary has used nuclear energy for more than forty years. It is safe, cheap, and a sustainable way of producing energy, helping the country to stay relatively independent of the fluctuations of international energy markets, he said, adding that Hungary rejects any attempt to discriminate against nuclear energy.