When it comes to European Union proposals on energy supply, the government bases its position entirely on Hungarian interests and it has nothing to do with considerations related either to Ukraine or Russia, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said after meeting his Finnish counterpart on Thursday. At a joint press conference held with Pekka Haavisto in Budapest, Szijjártó welcomed the withdrawal of the EU gas price cap proposal, saying Hungarian energy security would have been compromised since Russian gas supplies to the country were at stake. He said the government backed European attempts to reduce energy consumption but purely on a voluntary basis. Energy taxes should only be levied at national level, he added. The minister said European proposals should treat energy supply as a pragmatic rather than a “political or ideological issue”. Meanwhile, Szijjártó noted that a Finnish foreign minister had not visited Hungary in the past twelve years, and friendship and kinship between the two nations warranted more intensive relations. He praised bilateral relations and cooperation in UN organisations, as well as the increase in trade turnover, which reached 650 million euros last year. Around 70 Finnish companies employ more than 5,000 in Hungary, he added. Responding to journalists’ questions, Szijjártó said he had met the new US ambassador the previous day for a “pleasant” 90-minute conversation. Whereas neither attempted to resolve differences of opinion, they looked at ways each country could count on the other to improve relations, he said, adding that they made a personal commitment to work towards this.
Commenting on the European Parliament’s report on Hungary and the rule of law, the minister said “well-paid EP representatives” should address real European problems instead of “repeating all kinds of false accusations” against Hungary. “We wonder whether some people in Strasbourg and Brussels actually think that Hungarians are not sufficiently mature to decide on their own future,” he said. On the topic of the expansion of Hungary’s Paks nuclear power station, Szijjártó said the EU had made clear there were no restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Notwithstanding attempts to hobble the project, “whoever hinders … [it] breaks European rules and violates our national sovereignty.”