Speaking in Paris on Tuesday, the foreign minister has revealed that the German government is continuing to block Siemens Energy from delivering to Hungary the control system it is supplying for the new reactor blocks of the Paks nuclear plant, while the company’s French partner, Framatome, has already approved it.
Following talks with French Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the upgrade of the Paks plant is crucial for Hungary’s energy security. The control system for the new reactors is being supplied by a German-French consortium, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that because this was legally considered dual-use technology, European regulations demand that their civilian use be approved by the national export authorities. While France’s authority has approved it, Germany’s has yet to do so, the minister said. He praised France’s “pragmatic approach” to that matter, saying that nuclear energy was a sustainable, cheap, environmentally friendly and efficient way of producing energy. In contrast, the German government is continuing to block Siemens Energy from delivering the control system to the Paks plant in line with its contract, Minister Szijjártó said. This, he said, could be considered an “attack” on Hungary’s sovereignty, arguing that energy security was an issue of sovereignty and determining a country’s energy mix was a national competence. Minister Szijjártó said Germany’s foreign and economy ministers had no legal basis for blocking the delivery of the system and thereby endangering Hungary’s future energy security. Hungary and France are in a strategic agreement about the importance of nuclear energy, he said, adding that this was currently the most successful area of their bilateral cooperation. He noted that the two countries had fought together against the discrimination of nuclear energy and had pushed for the European Union to recognise nuclear energy as sustainable. “We succeeded, and today we agreed to carry on with this strategic cooperation on nuclear energy,” the minister said. He said they were also in agreement that there was no point in imposing sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry. Hungary would not have approved potential sanctions on nuclear cooperation anyway, Minister Szijjártó said. “We’re glad that France, too, believes that these types of measures would be pointless,” he added. Minister Szijjártó called for maintaining professional cooperation with Russia on nuclear energy. Countries that can produce a major portion of their energy needs will have an advantage, “and for us, this option is nuclear energy and the Paks upgrade”, he said.