FM: Hungary sees development of south-east European energy infrastructure as priority

The foreign minister said energy connectedness was a regional interest also supported by the European Union.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary sees the development of south-east European energy infrastructure as a priority, and Bulgaria as a reliable partner.

Minister Szijjártó told a press conference, held jointly with Rossen Hristov, Bulgaria’s energy minister, that energy connectedness was a regional interest also supported by the European Union. Without such alternatives, Hungary shouldn’t be expected to diversify its energy mix, he said. Hungary is focusing on Azerbaijan gas production as the most important alternative, and capacity expansion in the Balkans is key in that project, too, Szijjártó said. Bulgaria and Hungary also have similar interests in nuclear energy, which they have both long used as a safe, cheap and environmentally friendly resource, he said. Hungary’s government refuses to support proposals to place sanctions on nuclear energy, and such attempts are seen as attacks against the country’s sovereignty, he added. The minister praised Bulgaria as a reliable partner in energy transport and as an EU member state where “politicians have kept their common sense.” Hungary is ready to continue cooperation with Bulgaria as an important partner, he added.

Hristov agreed with Szijjártó on the importance of investments in energy diversification and called on the EU to contribute to the project to transport Azeri gas to Europe. Similarly to Hungary, Bulgaria would not support sanctions on nuclear energy, which they see as key to green transition, Hristov said. Responding to a question, Szijjártó said Hungary was ready to cooperate with the new Slovak government on a foundation of mutual respect, and sees the country as of special importance, “connected to Hungary in a thousand ways”. Ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia are the bridge in that relationship, he said, adding that stability in its northern neighbour was in Hungary’s interest. Regarding an attack on the Druzhba pipeline, Szijjártó expressed hope that the attack on NordStream would not be repeated. “It is scandalous that we still don’t know who was responsible, as if the will was missing to clear up the case.” Hungary hopes that important energy infrastructure is not threatened, as energy security is a matter of national security, he said.

Photo credit: MTI