Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: EU gripped by ‘atmosphere of war’

The European Union is dominated by "an atmosphere of war", with the vast majority of member states in favour of a faster delivery of even more weapons to Ukraine, while "pro-peace players are under serious attack", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Luxembourg on Monday.
24. April 2023 18:31

Several EU member states believe the bloc still has not done enough to support Ukraine, Szijjarto told a press conference during a break in a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, according to a ministry statement.

“If we wanted to summarise the position expressed by the majority of European countries here, then we could say that we should spend more on sending even more weapons to Ukraine even faster,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, those who speak out in favour of peace face “serious political and verbal attacks”, he added.

Concerning Ukrainian grain exports, Szijjarto noted that the government had agreed to set up so-called solidarity corridors with a view to easing the global food crisis, “but reality turned out different”.

Most of the grain and agricultural products exported by Ukraine got stuck in central Europe, “and clearly this wasn’t the agreement”, he said.

The European Commission had a duty to remedy the situation immediately and make it clear that the agreement between the EU and Ukraine applied to transit deliveries, Szijjarto said.

Hungary is keeping to the original concept by banning direct grain imports from Ukraine while allowing transit shipments, he said.

On another subject, Szijjarto criticised planned sanctions on the Russian nuclear energy sector, saying Hungary was already paying the price of war when it came to energy supply.

Hungary can buy oil either via Croatia or Ukraine, and transit fees have increased significantly in both directions, the minister said.

“And now they want to force through measures that would put Hungary in a difficult situation not just in terms of . energy prices, but also in terms of supply security,” he warned.

Hungary needs 2,400MW of new energy sources by the beginning of the next decade, which can only be produced in an eco-friendly way with nuclear reactors, he said.

If the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant is rendered untenable, then Hungary will not be able to produce the electricity needed for households and for the economy to function for the beginning of the next decade, Szijjarto said.

He noted that the contract for the expansion of the Paks plant had been signed over nine years ago and approved by Brussels.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said another Hungarian citizen had been rescued from Sudan amid the civil war there. The individual and their spouse have safely made it to Ethiopia where they are receiving assistance from the Hungarian embassy staff, he said.

He added that because phone and internet services in Khartoum are currently down, the government has been unable to make contact with the five other Hungarians in the Sudanese capital. The ministry will update the public on any developments in the matter, he said.

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