The foreign minister said Hungarian-Greek cooperation will have an important part to play in managing the global crises stemming from the war in Ukraine, and Greece has a key role in diversifying Hungary’s natural gas supply.
Speaking in Athens, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the armed conflict may trigger global crises in food and energy supply, and Greece is playing an important role in handling both shortages. The Hungarian government considers energy supply a “matter of reason, physics and mathematics” rather than “an ideological or philosophical issue”, he said. For this reason, it does not support any proposal that would jeopardise Hungary’s energy supply, Minister Szijjártó said. “We have insisted on the right to purchase oil from Russia and rule out the chance of being not allowed to buy Russian natural gas. Simultaneously, it is in our interest to have access to gas from several sources and on several routes, which, of course, requires investment, as well as plenty of money and time,” he said. Hungary has two viable scenarios for diversification; it may purchase gas from Azerbaijan and the eastern Mediterranean via an exclusive route through Greece, which would involve major investment in infrastructure, he said. Szijjártó welcomed the expansion of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector but added that this was still not sufficient. To establish a direct gas supply link between Hungary and Greece, other countries “should also do their homework”, he said. “As long as there is no such link, there will be no alternative for Hungary purchasing Russian gas through pipelines,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó said the failure of efforts to increase Russian and Ukrainian grain exports would trigger disastrous famine in several unstable regions of the world, which are already major sources of migration. As the number of immigrants keeps growing on the western Balkan route, both Hungary and Greece have to make great efforts to defend the European Union’s external borders, the minister said. Minister Szijjártó praised bilateral relations as “excellent” and announced that the Hungarian government supported Greece’s quest to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter