Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said nuclear energy can serve as a platform for pragmatic cooperation between East and West based on mutual interests.
Speaking at the 8th Central and Eastern Europe Nuclear Industry Congress held in Prague, Minister Szijjártó said that even in times of conflict, rational thinking must be maintained. Europe had been hit by the gravest economic and security challenges of the past decades, with the energy crisis posing a major problem, he said. The continent has not given appropriate answers to the war in Ukraine, the EU’s policy of sanctions has failed, energy resources have diminished while energy prices have soared which all have led to Europe losing competitiveness, he said, adding that “without nuclear energy, the continent would be unable to regain its competitiveness”. He called nuclear energy important in achieving environmental protection goals. Szijjártó hailed the establishment of a nuclear alliance led by France which already has 16 European member states, and he pledged support for its plan to develop an integrated European nuclear industry reaching 150 GW of nuclear power capacity in the EU by 2050. This means building 30-40 new reactors while extending the life cycle of some operating power plants, he noted.
The foreign minister added that Hungary would reject any “attempt to approve sanctions on the nuclear industry” as this would seriously hurt the country’s national security and economic interests. Regarding Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks, Minister Szijjártó said the government’s aim with its expansion was for the country to achieve “climate neutrality” by 2050. He noted that the new blocks to be built as part of the international project would have a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts and pre-empt the emission of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Szijjártó said the expansion of the nuclear project, Europe’s largest, was progressing well with all permits obtained in the EU. He pointed out “attempts made regularly by certain players to stymie the projects”, adding however that for Hungary “the security of energy supply is a matter of sovereignty”. “We view attacks on the project as attempts to violate our right to make sovereign decisions about our national energy mix,” Minister Szijjártó said.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter