FM: Hungary interested in importing green electricity from Southern Caucasus

Minister Szijjártó said the current geopolitical crisis had laid bare the vulnerability of European supply lines.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary has an interest in importing green electricity from the Southern Caucasus, and a transmission line linking Georgia and Romania under the Black Sea is key for that transaction.

Speaking at a meeting on the Green Energy Corridor in Tbilisi, Minister Szijjártó said the current geopolitical crisis had laid bare the vulnerability of European supply lines. The price of natural gas had risen to ten times its pre-crisis price at one point, and European states have struggled to fill their reserves, he added. Minister  Szijjártó called the sabotage of the NordStream pipeline a “terrorist attack on critical European infrastructure” and called for an independent international investigation on the matter. Had winter not been so mild, Europe would have faced much more serious problems, he added. Regarding mid- and long-term challenges, Minister Szijjártó said that besides the “tens of billions of cubic meters of Russian gas” missing from European supplies, the reopening of the Chinese economy is expected to hike up demand. While Hungary sees the protection of the environment as key, the government handles the issue rationally rather than as a “dogmatic or ideological issue”, and so tries to diversify its energy supply with environmentally friendly resources, he said. The most realistic scenario to do that is by drawing on resources in the southern Caucasus, he said. Hungary has already concluded a political agreement with Azerbaijan on importing some 100 million cubic meters of natural gas this year. That amount could grow to 2 billion cubic meters with a long-term agreement in the future, he said. Importing green electricity from the region would be another chance to diversify Hungary’s energy resources. The underwater delivery line between Georgia and Romania would be the longest in the world, some 1,200km, he added. Szijjártó called for the feasibility study for the entire project to be extended, and said Hungary was ready to split the costs and set up a four-state economic entity, he said. The line should be bi-directional and end in Romania, he said. He noted Hungary supported Bulgaria’s interest in joining the project.