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US Embassy Chief Criticizes Hungary’s Energy Policy

By Tamás Székely // 2014.12.08.

While noting the close alliance between Hungary and the United States, US chargé d’affairs André Goodfriend has expressed criticism of the government for its steps to achieve energy independence and for its relations with regard to good governing. Goodfriend declined to assess PM Viktor Orbán’s earlier comment that Hungary’s independence in energy policy, financeand commerce was under attack by those who benefitted from the country’s dependence in these areas before 2010.

But he said in an interview to daily Népszava that Hungary’s energy independence was threatened by the plan to build a second gas pipeline from Russia, as well as by the aim to boost the role of nuclear energy. “The United States is working on helping Hungary to create energy independence,” he said, adding it would be necessary to build up infrastructure in Europe, so countries could get their oil and gas supplies from a number of sources, not just from Russia.

Existing pipelines are unidirectional, which makes Europe, and Hungary, too, extremely vulnerable. If this changed, energy could be delivered from the Middle East or even from the US, he added. Asked if he saw a change in the government’s attitude toward diplomatic quarrels between Hungary and the US, Goodfriend said “an exchange of opinions is ongoing”. We are able to speak about good and bad things, and that shows this is a strong relationship, he added.

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