Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has stated that Budapest will not support further sanctions on Russia’s energy sector imposed by the European Union (EU). In an interview with RIA Novosti, Szijjarto emphasized that any restrictions on Russian energy would directly contradict Hungary’s national interests. He made it clear that if the next round of sanctions includes measures that harm Hungary’s economy, particularly in the areas of energy, gas, oil, and nuclear energy, the country will not agree to their adoption.
Szijjarto also expressed his belief that the current sanctions policy is ineffective. He argued that while sanctions may cause some harm to Russia, they inflict greater damage on the European economy and individual European countries. As such, he questioned the purpose of continuing with a policy that harms those imposing the sanctions more than those targeted by them.
Furthermore, Szijjarto highlighted the long-standing energy relationship between Russia and Hungary. Under a 15-year contract with Russian energy major Gazprom, Russia has been consistently supplying Hungary with natural gas. Despite concerns over the transit contract between Russia and Ukraine, through which Hungary receives the fuel, Szijjarto stated that Budapest expects to continue buying Russian gas. He affirmed that Hungary is prepared to explore alternative routes if necessary, as the priority is to ensure the stability of energy supply and not the specific delivery route.
In addition, Hungary’s cooperation with Russia extends to the nuclear energy sector. Szijjarto revealed that Hungary recently received its third shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia this year for the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. The plant is undergoing expansion with the construction of two new power blocks by Russia’s Rosatom, set to be operational by 2032. The Foreign Minister commended the “excellent” cooperation between Hungary and Russia in nuclear energy, praising the quality of Russia’s nuclear fuel and Rosatom’s adherence to delivery deadlines.
Szijjarto reiterated Hungary’s stance against EU sanctions on organizations and enterprises linked to Russia’s nuclear energy industry. Budapest firmly believes that political statements should not interfere with the operation of a nuclear power plant, stressing the significance of fuel cells over politics, geopolitics, or sanctions.
Concerns have emerged that the EU is finalizing its 12th sanctions package against Russia, potentially including restrictions on the country’s nuclear industry and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. However, the approval of all EU member states is required for the European Commission to include such measures in the package.
In conclusion, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has expressed Hungary’s refusal to support any further EU sanctions on Russia’s energy sector. He emphasized that such measures would be detrimental to Hungary’s national interests, particularly its economy. Szijjarto also criticized the effectiveness of the current sanctions policy and highlighted Hungary’s ongoing energy cooperation with Russia in both natural gas and nuclear energy. Budapest firmly believes that politics should not interfere with the operation of a nuclear power plant and opposes EU sanctions on organizations linked to Russia’s nuclear energy industry.