Goodfriend: Hungary needs true energy independence


“Hungary's energy independence was threatened by the plan to build a second gas pipeline from Russia, as well as by the aim to boost the role of nuclear energy,” U.S. charge d'affairs André Goodfriend said according to Hungarian daily Népszava. He added that “the United States is working on helping Hungary to create energy independence”.

Goodfriend said he believes that it is necessary to establish an infrastructure in Europe that allows countries to get their oil and gas supplies from a number of sources, instead of solely from Russia. Existing pipelines are unidirectional, and that makes Europe, and Hungary, too, extremely vulnerable, he reportedly said, adding that if this changes, energy could be delivered from the Middle East or even from the U.S.

"There are also talks on the area of good governing, but we don't see that anything is happening, either on the issue of transparency or the matter of holding government officials accountable," Goodfriend added, probably referring to the recent issues of suspected corruption measures in Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority NAV.

Reflecting on NAV chief Ildikó Vida’s suggestion that she should sue for defamation because a U.S. travel ban implicates her in corruption – a plan that is supported by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – Goodfriend said that the only way to discuss Vida's entry ban is if she applies for a visa. "If an individual disputes the United States' decision to ban their entry, then they must resort to applying for a visa, and in this process, we can debate why we introduced the ban," he said.

Asked about U.S. Senator John McCain's recent remarks, in which he questioned the credentials of the new U.S. ambassador to Hungary and called Orbán a "neo-fascist dictator", Goodfriend said that, although he did not agree with all of the remarks, there were a good number of concerns voiced that had been raised earlier by other countries as well as the U.S., concerns that “they certainly share”.

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