Hungary seeks talks with Austria on Paks project
Budapest (MTI) – A European Court suit Austria has launched over Hungary’s upgrade of the Paks nuclear power station is not expected to delay the project, government office chief János Lázár told a press briefing on Thursday.
Hungary accepts Austria’s decision to turn to the court over the Paks project, though it would prefer to handle the matter through a joint negotiating mechanism, he said, adding that the government is ready to hold bilateral talks with Austria and work out a way to give it access to all data and information in connection with construction and capacity maintenance of Paks 2, Lázár said.
Lázár expressed optimism that cooperation between the Hungarian and Austrian governments would be “good”. The Hungarian government respects the consensus formed by Austria’s political parties concerning nuclear energy, he said.
Lázár noted that the European Union had recently dropped an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the Paks project. Another procedure concerning state financing could also be concluded in December, he said. Actual construction of the new blocks planned for Paks could start in 2017-2018, Lázár said.
Concerning Hungary’s deal with Russia to finance the Paks upgrade, Lázár said Russia had tendered the best bid. He added, however, that Hungary insists on an opportunity of early repayment and that interest paid on the Russian loan should be reviewed at regular intervals.
“We need to monitor the competitiveness of the Russian loan,” he said. In light of Hungary’s recent upgrade by rating agencies, the government needs to asses “how the interest on the Russian loan relates to changed market conditions,” Lázár said. “We will consider whether the loan would still be competitive if we were to take it out now”, he added.