Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding on natural gas deliveries to central and eastern Europe through the so-called Solidarity Ring — a transport route planned for delivering natural gas from Turkey via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Slovakia — and on improving the region’s energy infrastructure, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Sofia.
At the signing ceremony, Szijjártó said Hungary, which has little natural gas of its own, is striving to diversify its energy resources “rather than just changing the geographical direction of the dependence”. “The best solution to the current energy crisis would be if we could bring more gas into Europe from more sources and via various routes,” he said. Natural gas from Azerbaijan is the most realistic option for central and eastern Europe, but this will need adequate transport routes, he said. Organising and preparing infrastructure development should be a task of eastern and south-eastern European governments, while the European Union should play a role in financing the investments, he said.
“The integration of new energy resources is a truly European cause, and so a European duty,” he said. The region’s countries “would be right to demand” that the EU finally take the issue seriously and support the diversification of gas supplies in central and southern Europe, he said. Failing to do so would further erode the credibility of EU energy policy, he added. Hungary’s network operator is prepared, and the government is willing to undertake further developments to raise the capacity of the Hungarian stretch of the Solidarity Ring, to transport 5 billion cubic meters of gas a year between Romania and Slovakia, he said. “We who live in the heart of central Europe can’t purchase significant amounts of gas from Azerbaijan without the Solidarity Ring or without European funding,” he said.
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Rumen Radev of Bulgaria also attended the event, as did energy ministers Parviz Shahbazov of Azerbaijan, Rossen Hristov of Bulgaria and Virgil-Daniel Popescu of Romania, and Slovak economy minister Karel Hirman.
As we wrote before, a youth forum celebrated the legacy of Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s national leader in Budapest, read the details HERE.
Finance Ministry: Hungary, Georgia cooperation key to energy security
Georgia is a strategic partner of Hungary in the southern Caucasus and their cooperation is key to Hungary’s energy security, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said after meeting his Georgian counterpart, Lasha Khutsishvili, in Budapest on Tuesday. The two coutries are planning to hold a joint cabinet session this year, to boost ties based on shared values and interests, he said. Hungary also supports Georgia in its bid to become a candidate for European Union membership, especially since its views on geoppolitics, war and peace are close to Hungary’s, Varga said. A planned electricity line connecting Georgia and Romania under the Black Sea is key to ensuring European energy security, Varga said. The unique, 1,200km long line could deliver green electricity from Azerbaijan to Hungary via Georgia and Romania, he said. Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed an agreement on the investment last spring, and has supported Georgia in obtaining funding from the World Bank, he said.
Bilateral economic ties between Georgia and Hungary have grown by 40 percent last year, with Hungary exporting mainly pharmaceuticals, vehicles and machines there, he said. Khutsishvili was briefed on Hungary’s strategies to finance state debt and its bond programme. Hungary has successfully restructured state debt so a large part is now in domestic hands, and Georgia is working to achieve similar results in handling its own, the ministry said.
I thought our Politicians generally and Mr. Szijjártó in particular were very keen on Chinese and Russian financing?
Be it a railroad, a university, a nuclear plant… Just saying.