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Hungary’s government continues to reject any interference in issues connected to the country’s energy supply, which it considers a matter of national sovereignty, the foreign minister said in Baku on Wednesday. Speaking at the Baku Energy Forum, Péter Szijjártó said recent crises had led to a tendency to create blocs in world economy. That would put the security of energy supplies at risk, he said, lamenting that the issue had become a battleground of political conflicts and ideological debates. Meanwhile, supplying energy is a “physical and mathematical problem rather than a philosophical one”, he said. Szijjártó said ensuring a secure and sustainable energy supply hinged on eliminating the “discrimination” against nuclear energy.
The world’s electricity demand is set to double by 2030 in the wake of the green transition of industry and transport, and the only cheap and sustainable way to meet that demand will be through nuclear reactors, he said. Another task in terms of a safe supply is to “resist the extremely aggressive pressure” in the European Union aiming to phase out natural gas from the national energy mix, he said.
That “artificially created, unrealistic, ideological” aim would severely harm countries’ competitiveness, he said, calling for an alternate course of upgrading energy infrastructure to enable diversification. Hungary had been “working hard” to diversify its energy supply, he said, “meaning the involvement of more resources, not replacing already existing ones.” He slammed the EU’s decision to withhold support from network expansion in south-eastern Europe, on the grounds that natural gas would be phased out of the energy mix in 15 years. “Even if that were true, we still have 14 years.” The third step to secure energy supplies, Szijjártó said, was to eliminate all steps curbing “free, fair and uninterrupted international energy cooperation.” The EU sanctions imposed on Russia after the start of the war in Ukraine had led to skyrocketing energy prices. Hungary was obliged to pay 10 billion euros more than expected for its energy imports, he said. Therefore, Hungary rejects all sanctions on energy and considers attempts to impose tariffs on energy resources “unacceptable and outrageous”, Szijjártó said. Hungary’s government, he said, did not choose its energy suppliers on a political basis. “This is not a political declaration but a matter of national sovereignty and rationality.”