The foreign minister has called for the international community to approach energy supply issues realistically rather than through political or ideological considerations, to have a better chance of finding solutions to the challenges in the sector.
Speaking in Zagreb, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told a meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation that energy security faced major challenges because of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed in response to the conflict, and due to a tendency to make the issue increasingly a subject of political and ideological considerations. Solutions would be easier to find with a more realistic approach, he said. “Ideologies do not heat houses or flats, and dreams do not create energy resources,” he added. Political and ideological debates have already cost European supply lines “tens of billions of cubic meters” of natural gas, he said. “Hungary does not want to sacrifice nuclear energy and other resources to those artificial debates,” he said. Environmental protection goals are faced with the same problems, he insisted. “The debate on energy should return to normality and common sense,” he said. To do that, national competencies should be respected more, he said. Each country has the right to set up its own energy mix. Energy supply security is also an issue of sovereignty, he added. Physical characteristics of the region are also key, as energy security hinges on safe resources and transport lines, he said. “If any of those are missing, then we don’t have a realistic solution, and ideology cannot override that,” he added. Energy diversification is also a key point, Szijjártó said. While other countries see diversification as “merely changing the geographical direction of energy dependence”, Hungary does not want to give up energy resources but wants to acquire new routes, he said. Green goals should also be discussed with common sense, and environmental protection should go “hand in hand with economic development”, he said. Environmental goals cannot be reached without nuclear energy, which is key to long-term energy security, competitiveness and the green transition, he said. Nuclear energy is safe, cheap, sustainable and reliable, and Hungary will continue to fight against its “discrimination”, he said. “We reject all measures curbing nuclear cooperation — with Russia for example. That would put global nuclear security and energy supply at risk,” he said. Szijjártó insisted that movements opposing nuclear energy were “well-funded and well organised, and we will have to prepare for further attacks, mostly on an ideological basis, because none of them is based on physical or realistic arguments,” he said. European energy security can be guaranteed only if it is considered a “physical issue” and will not be sacrificed to political and ideological debates, he said.