Szijjártó backs Paks deal

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kormany.hu/Gergely Botár

Despite the launch of an infringement procedure by the European Commission, Hungary does not need to renegotiate its intergovernmental agreement with Russia on the expansion of Hungary’s sole nuclear plant in Paks, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview published by Hungarian daily Népszabadság on Saturday.

On Thursday the EC officially announced it had launched an infringement procedure on the expansion of the plant which the Hungarian government awarded to Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom without calling a tender. The EC claims Hungary did not act in compliance with public procurement rules.

Hungary remains committed to the expansion, as the country’s energy security is chiefly based on Paks, and the project will be completed, Szijjártó told the paper.

In response to a question on whether public procurements related to the project need to be suspended, the foreign minister said he had no knowledge of any government decision on “suspending anything”. Prior to the official announcement by the EC, reports suggested that until the infringement procedure is wound up, the expansion could be suspended.

Szijjártó also said in the interview that Hungary has not yet called down any of the Russian credit to be used for the expansion.

On Friday morning in his regular fortnightly interview with state-owned Kossuth radio, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that despite an EC investigation into the no-bid contract for the project, the Hungarian government is committed to having Rosatom implement the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks.

Rosatom said on Friday it is following the debate on Hungaryʼs planned upgrade of its sole nuclear power plant in Paks, Rosatom told Hungarian news agency MTI after the European Commission announced it had initiated an infringement procedure on the expansion.

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