Energy security was under discussion Tuesday as Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met his Hungarian counterpart László Sólyom and Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány in Budapest.
Hungary receives the majority of its gas from Russian, transited through Ukraine, and it suffered heavily when a dispute between Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine saw the taps turned off. Since then Hungary has been attempting to diversify its sources and build more storage, and Yushchenko said that Ukraine would help in this task.
“We can guarantee a section of land along the Ukrainian-Hungarian border that will be suitable for a large gas storage facility for Hungary,” Yushchenko told journalists after meeting Gyurcsány. Gyurcsány said that the nations were looking at ways to ensure the current energy supply. Expert talks were already underway, Gyurcsány said, noting the negotiation of a gas unit was among the top three energy issues on Hungary's agenda. “There are talks on a one billion cubic meter underground gas storage facility on Ukrainian ground for Hungary and we are in talks on securing gas transit,” Gyurcsány said. “Hungary further expressed its interest in a small, less than 20 megawatt-capacity hydroelectric station.” The two men also discussed cooperation in transport and logistics.
Earlier in the day, Yuschenko and Sólyom discussed cooperation in border and customs control. Many illegal immigrants from Ukraine attempt to enter Western Europe through Hungary by obtaining a short-term Hungarian visa and them attempting to smuggle themselves into Austria. Yuschenko is on a two-day visit, and on Wednesday will unveil a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in Budapest. (monstersandcritics.com, iht.com)