Hungary FM Speaks to Russian State News Agency

In an interview with the Russian news agency TASS following the Atomexpo-2024 forum, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto outlined Hungary’s stance on resolving the Ukrainian crisis and addressed rumors about postponing the construction of the Paks 2 nuclear power plant.

Forrás: TASS2024. 03. 28. 11:54
ATOMEXPO-2024 Forum in Russia's Sochi
At the international ATOMEXPO-2024 in Sochi, Russia, on March 25, 2024. (Photo: Ercin Erturk/Anadolu via AFP)
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In the interview with TASS, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto emphasized the effective cooperation between Hungary and Russia in the energy sector, stating:

Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that without Russian supplies, Hungary would not have a stable energy supply. Without Russian energy carriers, we would not be able to adequately cover the country's gas, oil and nuclear fuel needs. We are extremely satisfied with the reliability and efficiency of energy cooperation with the Russian Federation,

he added.

ATOMEXPO-2024 Forum in Russia's Sochi
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto at the international Atomexpo 2024 in Sochi, Russia (Photo: Anadolu via AFP/Ercin Erturk)

In light of this, Peter Szijjarto noted, there is no reason not to continue further efforts aimed at expanding cooperation. The minister said he held substantive discussions with the management of Rosatom, reviewing the biggest and currently perhaps the most important investment project in Hungary, the construction of the Paks-2 nuclear power plant. This will allow Hungary to increase the share of nuclear power to 70 percent in the country's energy consumption, he added.

The minister highlighted that the production of the components for the power plant has been underway for a long time. Work is continuing on the construction site, with the facility's level of readiness reaching approximately 12 percent.

In general, we are completely satisfied with the cooperation with the Russian side and interested in developing it further,

he emphasized.

On the side of peace

In response to a question, Peter Szijjarto stressed that the Hungarian government's position on the war in the region is very clear. 

We believe that Russia cannot be defeated in this war. But at the same time, as arms shipments from the West continue, Russia cannot win big either. This means that negotiations must take place. So, when it comes to troops entering Ukraine on behalf of some NATO member states, it is indeed dangerous,

highlighted Minister Szijjarto, who believes that Sweden's accession to NATO will lead to increased tensions, but expressed hope that the European Parliamentary elections and some upcoming national elections will strengthen the position of pro-peace politicians.

Let's hope that in the European Parliamentary elections the right will be successful and that the right-wing parties will strengthen their position and thus have more seats in the EP. There will then be a much better chance of a more pragmatic, more sober approach to European politics, and this will increase the chances of a more peaceful atmosphere.

A diverging Europe

The minister expressed his disagreement with the seizure of Russian assets, saying that a court decision without legal basis would lead to difficult dilemmas.

Those opposing asset confiscation are worried about how it will affect the credibility of the European economy and the impact on Europe as an investment destination. I believe that is causing the concern.

On a possible visit of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Russia, the FM stressed the diplomatic necessity of a meeting, despite the lack of agreement between Moscow and Budapest on a number of issues.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto while at the 30th OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia (Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/AFP Handout)

It is obvious and self-evident for us that we need to keep in touch with the Russian leadership. I myself am in contact with my colleagues: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Alexander Novak and Deputy Prime Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov. So when high-level talks are needed, we are absolutely open,

confirmed Peter Szijjarto.

In the interview, the Foreign Minister said that Hungary has not changed the methodology behind the visa issuing process for Russian tourists the FM said, adding that "We do not discriminate against Russian citizens in this way. Hungary is a wonderful place. We have a long tradition of welcoming Russian visitors in the areas of health, tourism, sports and various conferences. There is nothing in the way, so of course Russians are welcome," the FM said. 

Cover photo: International Atomexpo-2024 Forum in Sochi (Photo: Anadolu via AFP/Ercin Erturk) 

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