Gas Supply ‘Not Political Issue’


“Hungary sees energy supply as a matter of national security, sovereignty as well as an economic issue rather than a political one. Family homes can be heated by gas and not by political statements; and the same goes for industry,” Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said at the signing ceremony of a long-term gas supply agreement with Gazprom.


A long-term agreement with Gazprom is currently the most secure and reliable way to ensure Hungary’s energy security, he said. “We can make resounding statements about diversification … and whereas Hungary has already done its homework, many players are yet to provide infrastructure for that,” he said.

Gazprom deputy chairman Elena Burmistrova welcomed the agreement, saying that the use of a safe and reliable energy resource such as natural gas was “especially important in fulfilling climate goals”.

In response, the Ukrainian foreign ministry issued a statement saying it would turn to the European Commission and postpone a meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian economic committee in response to the move. The ministry said Hungary’s decision on delivery routes shunning Ukraine was “surprising and disappointing”. The ministry said the decision violated the principles of the Hungarian-Ukrainian basic treaty which the two countries signed in 1991. The decision was “purely political, and to the detriment of Ukrainian national interests and Hungarian-Ukrainian relations,” the ministry said.

Commenting on the statement, Szijjártó lamented Kiev’s move to postpone the committee session and said he failed to see “the connection between ensuring Hungary’s energy supply and decent cooperation with our neighbours”. “I reject the attempt to interfere with Hungary’s affairs; ensuring winter heating for Hungarians is our job, and no other country can interfere in this,” he said. He also said that Gazprom deliveries bypassed not only Ukraine but Hungary, too, and it had supplied gas to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia via Hungary, generating transit revenues, “but now the reality has changed and another route has been built”. “Since Gazprom has gas and we don’t, the situation is rather unequal. So along whichever route they deliver the gas, we’ll buy it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister said Hungary would respect the decision of German voters and cooperate with the government formed as a result of Sunday’s elections. In response to a question at the Gazprom signing ceremony, Szijjártó said Hungary was ready to strengthen ties with Germany, as the two countries “have important roles in each other’s lives.”

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