The Hungarian-Russian gas deal has come under attack from Germany. The Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orbán, has been criticised internationally for striking new deals with Russia at a time when the European Union is trying to reduce its dependence from the aggressive country, risking an energy crisis.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached with Russia’s Gazprom on additional gas supplies. This – understandably – provoked strong reactions from EU countries, like Germany.
Gazprom is constantly restricting gas supplies to the European Union, writes napi.hu. The Nord Stream pipeline was shut down in May, then in mid-summer, the Russians reduced the amount of gas supplied to 20 percent. On top of that, from Wednesday, transit on the pipeline to Germany will be halted for three days.
Russia supplied more than 40 percent of the EU’s gas last year. This exposure has prompted member states to cut Russian purchases in the wake of the war in Ukraine. Although this could lead to energy supply disruptions in the EU, most countries are looking for other gas suppliers.
Viktor Orbán, however, did not consider negotiations with President Vladimir Putin’s leadership to be taboo, as napi.hu puts it. Although a five-year gas contract with Gazprom is in place, Hungary will buy additional gas from the Russians to ensure security of supply, Péter Szijjártó announced on Wednesday.
The Hungarian decision to buy 5.8 million cubic metres a day has not gone down well with EU politicians. Polish and Baltic leaders criticised the government – as reported by Polish biznesalert.pl – for using this deal to finance the Russian army in the war in Ukraine. The most critical was Daniel Freund, MEP for the German Green Party, who said:
“Orbán’s political survival depends on gas shipments from Putin. Keep that in mind the next time the Hungarian Prime Minister enters the EU Council building,” he wrote on Twitter.
Orban’s political survival depends on gas shipments from Putin. Keep that in mind the next time the Hungarian Prime Minister enters the EU Council building. https://t.co/xs6sDgXMBQ— Daniel Freund (@daniel_freund) August 31, 2022
Zoltán Kovács, Minister of State for EU Communication, has not failed to respond. “Germany’s economy and stability depends on gas shipments from Russia b/c German greens like Daniel Freund helped kill nuclear power. Keep that in mind the next time Green’s ask for your vote.”
The politician referred to Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power by 2022, increasing its dependence on gas, but added that the energy crisis is pushing them to consider keeping the last three plants online for an extended period.
Hungary has blocked the toughest sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine, and has even supported Gazprom’s action in the event of a gas disruption. Germany reversed course after the Russian attack on Ukraine and intends to stop Russian supplies as soon as an alternative is prepared.
Source: napi.hu, biznesalert.pl, twitter.com