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Europe must accept that energy security is a physical rather than an ideological or political matter, Péter Szijjártó, told a conference in St Petersburg.

Europe must gain access to as many energy sources and delivery routes as possible to guarantee its energy security, the minister of foreign affairs and trade told the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. This is how Hungary’s government defines diversification, he said, rather than the replacement of one reliable supplier with another. Whether or not Hungary buys gas from Russia “is not a matter of political taste”, Szijjártó said, according to a ministry statement, adding that it would be impossible to secure Hungary’s energy needs without Russian energy. The minister also emphasised the need to prepare for the next heating season, warning that “preparation for the next winter will be much more complicated and much more challenging” than last year. He argued that while Europe had received significant volumes of Russian gas up until last September, with the exception of Hungary, Russian gas imports had since been reduced to “basically zero”. He added that there was no guarantee that the coming winter would be as mild as last year’s.