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Hungary and Slovenia pledge to connect their gas grids in two years

Hungary and Slovenia have signed an agreement today regarding the interconnection of natural gas pipelines within two years and a close cooperation in nuclear energy, announced Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó.

During a joint press conference with Slovenian Minister of Climate and Energy, Bojan Kumer, the minister highlighted that Hungary has already connected its electricity network with all seven neighbouring countries, while the natural gas pipeline systems have been interconnected with six countries, with the exception of Slovenia.

Today, the two countries signed an agreement, which states that within two years, they will build the interconnector connecting their pipeline systems, enabling the transportation of 440 million cubic meters of natural gas annually in both directions. The minister added that the cost of this investment on the Hungarian side will be 75 million euros.

“The connection of the Hungarian and Slovenian gas pipeline systems will significantly contribute to improving Hungary’s energy security and will provide us access to the Italian natural gas market, which has not been available to us until now. Besides the LNG terminal in Croatia, we will have other accessible LNG sources,” he pointed out.

The minister highlighted that ensuring energy security is not a simple national or even bilateral matter but a European issue noting that while Hungary is pressured from Brussels to buy less energy carriers from Russia, they do not provide financial support to purchase from other sources. He considers the EU’s argument which says that it does not finance the development of natural gas infrastructure because it will be outdated in fifteen years unacceptable.

“The solution to the situation fifteen years later is not our primary concern now, that’s why we insist that the European Union provide funds for this investment,” he said. “Of course, if they don’t, we will still build the gas pipeline, but then Brussels loses all right to intervene in any way regarding from where and from whom we buy natural gas or oil,” stated the minister.

He announced another important area where the two countries will cooperate; nuclear energy. Slovenia has decided about the extension of the lifespan of its nuclear power plant, just like Hungary, therefore they strongly cooperate on this matter. Hungary is in the process of building new reactors at its Paks nuclear power plant, which will be closely monitored by Slovenia.

Slovenian Minister of Climate and Energy, Bojan Kumer added that the next step of the energy cooperation between Hungary and Slovenia will be the connection of their energy stock markets.

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