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Szijjarto: Hungary, Serbia, North Macedonia take joint action against Bulgarian transit fees

Hungary, Serbia and North Macedonia are taking joint action against Bulgaria in connection with the hike in its fee to forward natural gas, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign affairs and trade minister said in Belgrade on Friday.
17. November 2023 17:50

At a joint press conference with Serbian energy minister Dubravka Dedovics, Szijjarto said Serbia helped to undergird Hungary’s energy security, while some EU countries did the opposite.

He said no one had the right to threaten the security of another country’s energy supply. Bulgaria’s “hostile” measure was, he said, “unacceptable”.

“We’re ready to give a sufficiently weighty response to this hostile Bulgarian step within the framework of the European Union,” he said, noting their request for an infringement procedure.

He said North Macedonia was also “on board”, referring to “tight” cooperation and coordination with the country.

Bulgaria’s move, he said, put European solidarity in doubt. “Allies don’t do this to each other.”

Also, Bulgaria was going against EU rules by levying what amounted to a customs duty, he said, adding that it hindered the free movement of goods and undermined common EU trade rules.

“We expect Bulgaria to withdraw this hostile decision,” he said. Also, the EU should enforce its own rules should Bulgaria refuse, he added.

Szijjarto called Serbia a “reliable ally” in helping Hungary to ensure the security of its energy supply.

Fully 4.7 billion cubic meters of gas was piped to Hungary via Serbia this year, he said, while Serbia currently stored more than 200 million cubic meters of gas in Hungary.

The minister said that work was progressing well on preparations for a new oil pipeline connecting the two countries, while electricity transmission capacity would be doubled by 2028.

“This is hugely important for us as we’ll need a large amount of new electricity to supply investments related to the electric car industry,” Szijjarto said.

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