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PM says gas pipeline linking Hungary and Croatia to be in full operation by mid-2011

Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said following a meeting with his Croatian counterpart Jadranka Kosor in Zagreb that the gas pipeline being built between Hungary and Croatia should be done by the end of this year and operating at full capacity by the middle of 2011.

Bajnai told MTI that Hungary would spend €100 million on its portion of the pipeline, which will be capable of transporting 6 billion-6.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The prime minister noted that Hungary had received European Union funding for the pipeline, which would deliver gas from Hungary to Croatia only until the completion of an LP terminal on the Adriatic island of Krk makes transport in the reverse direction possible as well.

Bajnai said that Hungary hopes that the treaty regarding Croatia's accession to the European Union is concluded during Hungary's six-month presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2011.

The prime minister said that contrary to reports in the Croatian press, his information indicates that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL does not intend to shut down the INA refinery in Sisak after a blocked waste-water system caused a fire at the facility on Saturday. MOL owns 47% of INA, while Croatia's government owns about 45% of the company.

Bajnai said that he and his Croatian counterpart had also discussed possible means of boosting Hungarian tourism in Croatia, noting that the number of Hungarians who traveled to the country on vacation declined slightly last year as a result of the global economic crisis. (MTI – Econews)