EU energy chief tells member state to ditch Russian gas

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Budapest openly opposes sanctions and has continued energy cooperation with Moscow

Hungary should end its dependence on Russian energy, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said during POLITICO’s Sustainability Future Week summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

According to the bloc’s energy chief, it is “not [in Hungary’s] interest to continue this dependence.

“Even Hungary knows that by continuing this activity, they grant Russia the right to manipulate their market,” Simson stated.

Hungary continues to buy Russian gas under a 15-year contract with Gazprom, with supplies covering 85% of the country’s needs. It also still buys Russian oil, which it gets under an exemption from Brussels’ sanctions. Budapest and Moscow are also working closely on new reactors for Hungary’s Paks-2 nuclear power plant.

Our clear request to [Hungary] is that like other member states, who are still using Russian technology, that nuclear fleet, they have to prepare a plan how to diversify,” Simson urged.

Her statements are only the latest in a long line of similar calls. Hungarian officials have noted on more than one occasion that the country’s close relationship with Russia has been met with opposition and criticism in the bloc. However, Budapest has resisted pressure from EU peers to cut ties with Moscow and vowed to oppose any sanctions that would impact gas flows and atomic energy.

Speaking to RT on the sidelines of the annual Russian Energy Week forum last month, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that his country would always put its national interests first, stressing that energy cooperation with Russia is among its key priorities in that regard.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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