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Jun 06, 2017

Hungary resumes talks with Russia and Serbia on the construction of a new gas pipeline

Hungary's foreign minister said the pipeline will have a smaller capacity than the abandoned South Stream project but will take a similar route

Hungary has resumed talks with Russia and Serbia on the construction of a gas pipeline that would mirror elements of the abandoned South Stream pipeline route.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the pipeline will have a smaller capacity than the South Stream but will take a similar route.

Minister Szijjártó discussed the project with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, CEO of gas giant Gazprom Alexei Miller and Russian and Serbian Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Ivica Dacic within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

According to MTI, the minister said the quick construction of another gas pipeline was a fundamental interest of Hungary, as it would allow the country to receive gas through at least one other route.

Szijjártó said Hungary’s government would begin talks on the project with the vice-president of the European Commission in charge of energy policy and Bulgaria as soon as possible.

According to the minister, Russia is prepared to carry out the project and everything is in place for construction work to begin in Hungary and Serbia, as the joint ventures set up in the two countries to oversee the construction of the South Stream pipeline are still active.

“The European Union can have no realistic argument against such a pipeline, seeing as how the concerns it had expressed over the South Stream pipeline could also be said for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. And in that case, the European Commission has not brought up any concerns,” Minister Szijjártó said.

The minister noted that Russia has already started laying the pipes for the Turkish Stream pipeline on the Black Sea en route to Turkey. Russia abandoned plans to build the South Stream pipeline in 2014 because of opposition in Europe. The pipeline would have delivered Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine.