Will Sanctions Be Extened to Paks? - Hungary FM Responds + Video

"We will protect our energy security," Hungary's minister of trade and foreign affairs said in Luxembourg.

2024. 06. 25. 14:29
MVM's Paks Nuclear Power Plant building, December 5, 2023 (Photo: MTI/Daniel Kiss)
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We have managed to protect Hungarian interests in the face of the European Union’s latest sanctions package against Russia, as the Paks nuclear power plant has received full exemption from the punitive measures, allowing the expansion to accelerate, Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto said in Luxembourg on Monday. During the recess of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Mr Szijjarto underlined that the adoption of the 14th sanctions package was “the continuation of an utterly failed strategy,” according to a foreign ministry statement.

Hungary had to engage in sharp debates during the preparation period “to protect ourselves, our national interests and energy security”, FM Szijjarto emphasized. 

In this context, FM Szijjarto called it a "blessing in disguise" that Hungary's national interests and energy security have been protected. “Moreover, we’ve reached the objective of having it stated in this directive that the construction of the new Paks nuclear power plant and all its processes, stages and elements are completely exempted from sanctioning measures,” he said. “This means that the European companies participating in the investment — and we have many French, German and Austrian companies — will not have to apply for permits from the authorities of member states”. According to Mr Szijjarto, this means that the possibility of over-performance or political malpractice has been eliminated from the system.

No EU government can block the participation of European companies in the expansion of the Paks power plant. This means that we've removed many obstacles and complexities from the system and that we can speed up the investment,

– he said.

In reality, “this general exemption has created a situation regarding the Paks investment as if there was no war in Ukraine, and the war did not entail sanctions or economic restrictions,” he said. In a bid to illustrate the prevailing war hysteria", Mr Szijjarto pointed out that during the debates "not only have his colleagues stopped talking about peace, but they've used the word as somewhat of a curse, identifying it with a pro-Russian position". "They falsely portray peace as Ukraine's capitulation, when peace alone can save lives," he said. "The election results in Hungary have also given a clear confirmation and commitment to the government to stand up for peace, and we continue to call for a ceasefire and peace negotiations instead of more weapon deliveries," he stressed. 

He also underlined that one of the main focuses of the Hungary's upcoming EU presidency will be to accelerate the enlargement process of the Western Balkans, as the candidate countries in the region have been waiting for membership for more than fifteen years on average

"The reason they have to wait so long is because some Western European countries are constantly putting obstacles in the way of the enlargement process, citing so-called merits. These same countries, on the other hand, consider these merits to be less important for Ukraine," he said. He called this a mockery of the enlargement policy and underlined that the performance of the Western Balkan countries should be judged realistically, pragmatically and not on ideological-political grounds.

Cover photo: MVM's Paks Nuclear Power Plant building, December 5, 2023 (Photo: MTI/Daniel Kiss)

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