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Hungary’s natural gas supplies are secure thanks to reliable transit states like Bulgaria, as well as its suppliers, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Sofia on Monday, after talks with Nikolay Milkov, his Bulgarian counterpart. Hungary received 4.8 billion cubic meters of gas through Bulgaria last year, Szijjártó told a joint press conference. The double threat of the war in Ukraine and migration pressure from the south is making liable cooperation between the countries even more valuable, he said. Hungary counts on further reliable deliveries, he said. The strategic goal is to access new resources for projects such as infrastructure development to increase the role of Azeri gas in the region, he said.
“This is a European issue; I think we central Europeans are right to expect the European Union to support pipeline construction and infrastructure development to secure future gas supplies for central Europe,” he said. Szijjártó thanked Bulgaria for fuel rod deliveries to the Paks nuclear plant via Bulgarian ports on the Black Sea since December, “when EU regulations made avian deliveries from Russia impossible”. Meanwhile, Szijjártó said the Western Balkans had become part of the most important continental route for migrants. “Due to Brussels’ pro-migration stance, central European countries have to make greater efforts to stop illegal migration,” he said. Bulgaria and Hungary both “performed beyond their abilities” by building border fences and employing “enormous human resources” to stop illegal migration, he added. “It is unacceptable and very dangerous to the EU’s security that Brussels refuses to support real border security and does not fund … border protection infrastructure,” he said. He called it “shameful” that Bulgaria was “still not member of the Schengen Area”. Hungary will not accept “double standards where clear and objective requirements set down in contracts are replaced by subjective criteria,” he said. Bulgaria has fulfilled the former, and so deserves Schengen membership, he said.