EU criticizes new Russian-Hungarian gas deal
The Russian-Hungarian gas agreement is attacked by Germany. Hungary’s government, led by Viktor Orbán, has come under international criticism for striking new deals with Russia at a time when the European Union is trying to reduce its dependence on the aggressive country, risking an energy crisis .
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached with Russian Gazprom on additional gas supplies. This has – and understandably – provoked strong reactions from EU countries, such as Germany.
Less gas from Gazprom to the EU, more to Hungary
Gazprom is constantly limiting gas supplies to the European Union, writes napi.hu. The Nord Stream gas pipeline was shut down in May, then in mid-summer the Russians reduced the amount of gas supplied to 20%. In addition, from Wednesday, transit on the pipeline to Germany will be interrupted for three days.
Russia supplied more than 40% of EU gas last year. This exposure prompted member states to reduce Russian purchases following the war in Ukraine. Although this may lead to disruptions in the energy supply in the EU, most countries are looking for alternative gas suppliers.
Viktor Orbán, however, did not consider negotiations with the leadership of President Vladimir Putin taboo, because 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 deal was not left without criticism
The Hungarian decision to buy 5.8 million cubic meters per day was not well received by European politicians. Polish and Baltic leaders have criticized the government – as Polish reported biznesalert.pl – for using this deal to finance the Russian army in the war in Ukraine. Most critical was Daniel Freund, MEP for the German Green Party, who said:
“Orbán’s political survival depends on gas supplies from Putin. Keep this in mind the next time the Hungarian Prime Minister enters the EU Council building,” he wrote on Twitter.
Orban’s political survival depends on Putin’s gas shipments. Keep this 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 European Communication, did not fail to respond. “Germany’s economy and stability depend on gas shipments from Russia because German environmentalists like Daniel Freund helped kill nuclear power. Keep that in mind the next time Green asks you to vote.
The divergent opinions of Hungary and Germany
The politician spoke of 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 blocked the harshest sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine, and even backed Gazprom’s action in the event of a gas break. Germany backtracked 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