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Hungary Threatens Veto on Bulgaria over Punitive Gas Tax

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.12.18.

Hungary has made it clear to Bulgaria that it will veto the country’s Schengen accession if it maintains the punitive tax on natural gas supplies for a longer period, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Saturday.

The Minister called Bulgaria’s move “scandalous and hostile,” as it endangers the transit of gas destined for northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary.

Given the current geopolitical and security situation, much of the gas needed to supply the country comes through this pipeline and Bulgaria’s decision is

totally contrary to European legislation and risks, among other things, the closure of gas supplies to Hungary,”

he stressed.

He pointed out that Bulgaria’s Schengen membership will be decided next week, “so they (the Bulgarians) are suddenly trying to abolish this law.

If they do, we will also withdraw our veto decision,”

said the Foreign Minister.

In mid-October, Bulgaria’s neoliberal government introduced a special duty on Russian gas flowing through its territory to Serbia and Hungary. Observers speculate that this decision is the political price of the U.S. government’s contribution to the electoral victory of Bulgaria’s left-liberal forces.

Nikolai Denkov via Twitter / BTA News

On December 11, Bulgaria announced the lifting of the tax, as Sofia feared it would veto its Schengen accession bid. According to Euractiv, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov has put it on record: “Hungary has sent a formal, although low-threshold message that it will veto Schengen accession unless the gas tax is abolished. Therefore, we have decided that there is no reason to put up obstacles at the moment.”

Obviously, this half-hearted promise to withdraw the controversial measure did not fully convince the Hungarian government, and Péter Szijjártó was obliged to reiterate Hungary’s determination to use its veto if the punitive duty is not effectively lifted.

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Via MTI; Featured Image: fgsz.hu

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