The Hungarian Foreign Minister firmly rejected proposals for a mandatory joint EU gas procurement and a solidarity mechanism at the Energy Council in Luxembourg.
“It is clear that the European Commission has not learned from its mistakes in the past and does not want to face reality, even though the measures taken by Brussels have so far only exacerbated the energy crisis,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference following the EU Energy Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.
According to Szijjártó, at the meeting “some quite crazy ideas were put forward,” with one participant suggesting, for example, that a bottom price cap should be introduced alongside the top one, to prevent the low gas price from jeopardizing energy-saving efforts.
Speaking of Hungary’s red lines, Szijjártó said that a common gas procurement platform can only be set up on a voluntary basis. He stressed that price cap measures should in no way affect long-term contracts.
The minister called the proposal that Member States should inform the Commission in advance if they intend to conclude a contract for the purchase of more than 472 million cubic meters of gas “nonsensical and unacceptable.”
On the issue of solidarity mechanisms, he said it was unthinkable that natural gas bought with Hungarian taxpayers’ money and stored in Hungary should be given to other countries:
“European bureaucrats and a number of Member States are currently trying to ban natural gas from Russia from the European market, but in case of an emergency, would they accept it from Hungarian storage?”
Finally, he said that Hungary’s experience does not necessarily coincide with that of Western European countries regarding which suppliers are reliable. As he recalled, Russia’s Gazprom is delivering the contracted volume without any problems, while two Western companies have already let Hungary down in the extraction of Romanian offshore fields.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter