Hungarian FM: EU should be truthful about its gas supplies
Russian gas dependency in Europe is not an ideological matter according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
On a trip to Moscow, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told reporters that the EU should be truthful about the realities of the gas supply from Russia rather than treating it as an ideological matter.
“It has been proven that the purchase of natural gas is not an ideological issue, but a physical issue that can’t be solved by talking,” Szijjarto said.
The EU has been urging member states to decrease dependence on Russian gas as a response to Moscow's military operation in Ukraine.
On Thursday, Germany triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency gas plan, while the European Commission called on its members to slash their gas use by 15% from August 2022 till March 2023.
Hungary, on the other hand, plans to buy an additional 700 million cubic meters of gas from Moscow to ensure that the country has enough for the winter. The necessary volumes to sustain the country, according to the Hungarian FM, can only be obtained from Russia.
“I’ll be frank: I’ve been hearing from leading politicians in Western Europe in recent months that they’ve gotten it all sorted out. They have found alternative sources, they have bought gas from elsewhere, they have gotten rid of their dependence on Russia. So why the alarm?” Szijjarto said.
“After a while, the heating season will arrive and politicians would have to say if there is gas or not,” he said, adding that politicians should not “hide the truth” regarding energy supplies.
On Thursday, Russia's gas giant Gazprom resumed gas deliveries to Germany through Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline after a maintenance period that lasted for 10 days. This sparked European anxieties that Russia will cut the gas deliveries for good.
German officials have warned that a stop on Russian gas deliveries can seriously hurt the German economy.
Last September, Hungary signed two long-term contracts with Gazprom. Via gas pipelines passing through Serbia and Austria and bypassing Ukraine, Russia will supply Hungary with a total of 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas.
This agreement is scheduled to last for 15 years, but it may be reviewed within 10 years depending on the start of its implementation.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said this month that Brussels “shot itself in the lungs” by imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Europe "dancing" on brink of economic crisis
Last month, Orban said that Europe is "dancing" on the brink of a global economic crisis because of sanctions against Russia.
The Hungarian PM praised the European Union's plan to exclude Russia's pipeline oil supply from the sixth round of sanctions.
According to Orban, "The pipeline solution is not bad. It’s a good approach, but we need a guarantee that in the event of an accident with a pipeline going through Ukraine, we will have to have the right to get Russian oil from other sources. If we get it, it’s fine."