Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, said on Wednesday that the government’s agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom would ensure that the achievements of government-mandated utility cuts were preserved. Thanks to the 15-year agreement signed earlier this week, Hungarian consumers will continue to pay one of the lowest gas prices in the European Union, he told a weekly government press briefing. The current deal is much better than the one it is set to replace, signed in 1995, in terms of the Hungarian state’s liabilities, he added.
Gulyás noted that the annual 4.5 billion cubic metres of gas to be received under the new deal will be delivered via two routes: 3.5 billion cubic metres from the south, through a new Serbia-Hungary interconnector, and one billion cubic metres through Austria. He said the deal was of great significance in view of unprecedented natural gas and electricity price hikes on the global market.
Gulyás highlighted government measures made in recent years which curbed the price of household utility bills by 25% since 2013 irrespective of inflation. Currently Hungarians pay 40% of the average European electricity price, he added. Concerning Hungary’s gas reserves, Gulyás said that the country had the seventh largest amount stored in the EU, with 83% of all storage facilities full.
Gulyás said that should the opposition make good on their proposal to unfreeze energy prices, an average Hungarian household would have to pay 386,000 forints (EUR 1,070) more in energy bills annually.