Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said his country has a “major problem” with Brussels because of the European Commission’s plans to set up an Energy Union, which in his words hinders national sovereignty.
Orbán, who two days ago hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin from whom he obtained major gas price discounts, said his country does not agree that he must inform the Commission of his gas supply agreements with Russia.
One of the key elements of the Energy Union is that member states’ energy deals with non-EU nations should be scrutinised by the European Commission before they are signed. Russia has always insisted that those deals are confidential.
Orbán himself said that Hungary now receives Russian gas at $260 per 1,000 cubic meters, down from $500 in 2009. Also, Russia abandoned demands that Hungary should pay for unused gas under a “take or pay” clause.
The Hungarian Prime Minister also made it clear that Hungary would no longer reverse Russian gas to Ukraine. In recent months Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have reversed Russian gas, which those countries buy at lower price than Kyiv, back to Ukraine from where this gas has transited. The EU is supporting the initiative and helps finance the equipment which makes reverse flows possible.
“We have to promise [Moscow] that Russian gas won’t get in the pipeline under a reverse flow to Ukraine,” Orbán said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Hungarian Prime Minister added that his country can only sell gas to Ukraine that it has bought on the spot market, through Austria’s gas hub. “This provision,” according to the WSJ, he said, “ensures Hungary doesn’t reap any profits from the difference between the lower price it pays to Russia and what gas costs on the spot market.”
“Ukraine makes a political issue out of this, but this is a price issue,” Orbán added.