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Hungary teams up with neighbors to integrate gas market

Energy Trade

Hungary and 14 other European Union and Energy Community countries in the Central Eastern Europe and South East European regions signed a memorandum of understanding in Dubrovnik on Friday on joint efforts to build up gas infrastructure links and resolve technical and regulatory issues in order to create an integrated energy market in the region, state news agency MTI reported.

The joint work under the European Commission initiative on Central Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) will not only focus on building new gas pipelines, but also on making the best use of existing infrastructure, such as by allowing reverse flow, the EC said in a statement.

The EC noted that an action plan annexed to the MoU identified projects such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), LNG terminal in Croatia and evacuation system, system reinforcement in Bulgaria and Romania, interconnectors between Greece and Bulgaria and between Serbia and Bulgaria as top priorities.

The MoU and its action plan were signed by EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, as well as by the energy ministers and their representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova will sign at a later stage.

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told MTI on Friday that the sides had agreed on the implementation, as soon as possible, of three energy security projects of key importance to Hungary: the construction of an LNG terminal on the Croatian island of Krk, and making interconnectors between Hungaryʼs gas network and those of Croatia and Romania bidirectional. Szijjártó called Zagrebʼs request of the EC to postpone the interconnector project an "unfriendly step". "We hope Brussels will not allow it," he added.

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