Hungary will not make “any concessions” when it comes to the country’s energy security, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Tuesday. Addressing the inauguration ceremony of ExxonMobil Hungary’s new Budapest offices, Péter Szijjártó said it was too soon to say whether rising energy prices could be curbed in the short to medium term. The whole of Europe, he noted, saw a doubling of vehicle fuel prices and gas prices “increasing four or five-fold” due to the war in Ukraine and Russian sanctions. But Hungarians “must not be made to pay the price of the war,” a foreign ministry statement quoted the minister as saying.
The government is trying to ensure that the country is as independent as possible from the uncertainties of global energy markets and its “extreme price swings”, Szijjártó said, mentioning the project to upgrade Hungary’s sole nuclear plant at Paks and the long-term gas purchase agreements signed with partners “from the East and West alike” as examples. It has also tried to secure fuel supplies “from as many sources as possible” and build related physical infrastructure. “We’re ready to negotiate with anyone with a good offer,” he said.
ExxonMobil’s Hungary unit, which is geared towards accounting and auditing, is receiving a government grant of 108 million forints (EUR 272,300) to co-finance a 216 million forint course for 500 employees improving their digital skills. ExxonMobil’s development projects have helped Hungary become a business services market leader in central Europe, he added. Hungary is home to 156 business centres, employing a total 70,500 people, a 50% increase during the past five years, Szijjártó said. He added that US companies employed as many as 105,000 people in Hungary, accounting for the third largest investment community in the country. The turnover of US-Hungary trade exceeded seven billion dollars in 2021, a record high, Szijjártó said.