Caps on household utility bills in Hungary would not be possible without the import of Russian gas, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Thursday.
Maintaining dialogue with Russia is in the interest of Hungary and of Europe as a whole, as much as it is in their interest to strengthen economic ties as far as possible within the current framework, Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing. He added, at the same time, that Europe must do everything in its power to prevent any conflict, violence and war in Ukraine and the region.
Hungary is “aware of its position and weight”, Gulyás said, adding that it was therefore not likely to be up to Hungary “whether the United States and Europe wish or want to give Russia the guarantees it is asking for”. He added, however, that the issues of energy security and relations with Russia were as inseparable for Hungary as they were for Europe.
Hungary’s gas supply from Russia is secure until 2036, Gulyás said.
He noted that at their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that Russia would consider Hungary’s request to increase the volume of gas deliveries to the country by one billion cubic metres a year.
Hungary’s annual natural gas consumption is 9-10 billion cubic metres, Gulyas said. Under the long-term gas purchase agreement signed with Gazprom last September, Hungary has pledged to buy 4.5 billion cubic metres of gas each year from the energy giant, he noted. Gazprom will deliver one billion cubic metres via Austria and 3.5 billion via the Serbian-Hungarian interconnector, he said.