Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary not to sacrifice energy security for ‘war we are not part of’

Hungary will not sacrifice its energy security for a conflict "that is not our war", the foreign minister told the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on Saturday.
3. March 2024 6:10

Speaking at a panel discussion of the forum, Peter Szijjarto regretted that the European Union approached the issue from an ideological standpoint, adding that optimal solutions for member states could be found only if the issue is “considered a matter of physical reality”.

Energy supply needs infrastructure, and the procurement of energy resources will always be determined by the delivery routes at hand, he said.

Hungary’s government sees energy supply as a priority, he said.

Noting that Hungary had been granted exemption from implementing certain EU sanctions on the Russian energy sector, Szijjarto said the country’s supply would be impossible without cooperation with Russia.

Replacing Russian energy deliveries with European ones would be realistic only if Europe could supply resources at the same price, quantity and schedule, Szijjarto told EU foreign ministers, according to a ministry statement.

Hungary would be “in grave danger” if ideological considerations were to “cast a shadow” over energy policy, he said.

On the matter of nuclear energy, Szijjarto said it was the only cheap, safe and sustainable way to produce large amounts of electricity. Hungary finds it “unacceptable” that the EU is considering excluding nuclear energy from the category of “clean” energy, he said.

Hungary has been cooperating with Russia on nuclear energy production for nearly 50 years, he said. At the same time, the Russian contractor working on the revamping of Hungary’s nuclear plant is employing US, French and German subcontractors, he said. “That goes to show that economic players are ready to think more realistically than certain governments.”

Hungary also stands for member states to be allowed to determine their own energy mix.

The government has also been working on “a sensible” energy diversification. Turkiye is expected to deliver 275 million cubic meters of gas this year, he noted.

Szijjarto also touched on the Green Energy Corridor, a delivery route planned to deliver green energy from Azerbaijan and Georgia. The planned 1,100 kilometre pipeline connecting Georgia and Romania would be the longest underwater pipeline in the world, he added.

Increasing capacity is all the more important as Hungary is set to become the second largest battery manufacturer in the world, and the sector is extremely energy-hungry, he said.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto also called for expanding the natural gas infrastructure in south-east Europe, which is key to drawing new resources, he said.

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