Hungary’s energy security must be guaranteed, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday in Moscow, adding that Hungary would acquire an extra 700 million cubic metres of natural gas above the contracted volume.
Szijjártó said his current visit to Moscow had a dual purpose: to fully guarantee Hungary’s energy security and to express that Hungary wants peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, the ministry said in a statement. Szijjártó told a joint press conference with counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the government had an obligation to secure energy supplies to Hungary even in the ongoing European energy crisis.
This is why Hungary wants to acquire an extra 700 million cubic metres of natural gas above the contracted volume and “whether we like it or not, this isn’t possible without Russian sources”, he said. “Some may sell empty promises and chase daydreams, others blow up communication balloons, but the fact of the matter is that physical realities cannot be changed, and it is currently simply impossible to buy this much extra natural gas in Europe without Russian sources,” he said.
Gas storage facilities in Hungary are being filled up according to schedule and they currently stand at 27.3 percent of annual consumption, as against the European average of 17.3 percent, he said. “In normal times, this would be enough and it would provide security, but as we all know, we don’t live in normal times and we have to go for extra security,” he added.
Hungary has taken all the necessary measures to receive the extra volume and to make the financial resources available, he said. In the upcoming week, around a daily 20 million cubic metres of inflow capacity will be available on the southern route and on interconnectors from Slovakia and Austria, he added. Talks have been under way for some time on professional and company levels, but a political agreement is also required, and the current meeting aims to enable the sides to complete the transaction and for transfers to start as soon as possible, he said.
“Despite all the circumstances, we want to ensure that nobody in Hungary enters into an undeserved or vulnerable situation, and there should be enough natural gas for every Hungarian person, for every Hungarian family and for every Hungarian company,” he added. He said the other purpose of the visit was to make it clear that Hungary wants peace in Ukraine without delay because the war has tragic consequences.
“We are asking everyone to make every effort to ensure the war ends as soon as possible and for peace to return. We would like to see an immediate ceasefire and peace talks,” he said.
He also said that the return of spheres of influence around the world would go against Hungary’s national interests. “We don’t want a world order where we again find ourselves in the periphery of a bloc, in a buffer zone or in an area next to a buffer zone,” he added.
Szijjártó also held talks in Moscow with Alexander Novak, deputy prime minister for the fuel-energy complex, and with Denis Manturov, deputy prime minister and trade and industry minister.