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The government considers all measures that could jeopardise the security of Hungary’s energy supply as “attacks on our national sovereignty”, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said in at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The minister noted that Hungary was among the European states whose energy supply was hit the hardest by the fallout of the war in Ukraine. In the long term, this has also had the effect that “the issue of energy supply has become a hostage of political and ideological debates,” he added. Szijjártó said that “regardless of all the pressure” Hungary still refused to consider energy “a political or ideological issue”. “For us energy supply is a practical question,” he said, adding that the government would not give up well-functioning partnerships, and “based on the physical reality and based on the infrastructure”, Hungary would not be able to import enough energy without Russian oil and gas.
The minister said Hungary had not received “any offer from anyone who would deliver the same volume of gas or oil according to the same schedule on the same level of reliability at the same price”. “And as long as there’s no such offer, no one has the moral right to put pressure on us to cut our relationships and change to other sources,” he said. Szijjártó pointed out that all projects that would have allowed such a switch-over have been cancelled or postponed, citing the cancellation of Western companies’ plans to start extracting natural gas from offshore fields in Romania. Meanwhile, Croatia, instead of expanding the capacity of its gas pipeline, has increased transit fees fivefold, he said.
He emphasised that the matter of the composition of the energy mix was one of national sovereignty, and the Hungarian government’s decisions on energy matters were determined solely by its aim to guarantee the country’s secure energy supply. He noted that Hungary needs 8 million tonnes of crude a year, 90% of which is covered from imports, and 70-80% of this comes from Russia. For natural gas, Hungary’s annual demand is 8.5 billion cubic metres, 80% of which comes from imports, including 70-80% from Russia. “And the stability of this delivery is a core national interest of ours,” Szijjártó said. “Therefore we reject all international proposals, actions and decisions which would limit or restrict or worsen the security and the stability of these deliveries.” He said this was why the government did not support the European Union’s energy sanctions and rejected all customs duties on energy resources.