Hungary issues ‘state of danger’ over energy crisis

A natural gas storage facility in Zsana, Hungary. (Attila Volgyi/Xinhua/Getty Images)

The Hungarian government on Wednesday issued a “state of danger” due to the country’s ongoing energy crisis, setting out a seven-point plan to prepare for the next government measures in August, according to Zoltan Kovacs, spokesman for the Hungarian Prime Minister. Victor Orban.

Quoting Gergely Gulyás, who heads the office of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Kovacs said government measures would include increasing domestic natural gas production to two billion cubic meters, exporting a ban on energy sources, and increasing domestic lignite production.

Other measures include reviving a power plant, expanding nuclear plant operations, soliciting market prices from consumers with above-average energy consumption, Kovacs said on Twitter.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is also responsible for securing additional gas supplies, Kovacs added.

Natural gas supply through Europe has suffered since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has countries scrambling as they try to preserve supplies in case Russia turns off the taps.

In 2021, Hungary signed a 15-year natural gas supply deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom to supply gas to the country, in a move criticized by Ukraine.

So far, Gazprom cut at least 20 billion cubic meters of its annual gas supplies to customers in six European countries – Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands – because they failed to make payments in rubles, a request made by President Vladimir Putin in March.

In an interview with CNN in April, Szijjártó confirmed that Hungary would use the payment system put in place by Moscow to pay for its oil and gas.

Szijjártó said there are no alternative sources or routes for them to stop importing Russian energy in the next few years.

Previous reporting by Pamela Boykoff and Anna Cooban.


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