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Hungary presses EU to weigh energy security in sanctions decision 

EU

Hungary takes the position that energy security should be a "focus of attention" when deciding on sanctions against Russia, state secretary for energy policy Attila Steiner said after a meeting of European Union energy ministers in Brussels on Monday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Steiner, who is also in charge of developing the circular economy and climate policy, told MTI by phone that the energy ministers discussed the EU's energy supply situation and measures planned by member states at the meeting.

He outlined steps Hungary has taken in recent years to upgrade its gas network, adding interconnectors and giving it one of the largest gas storage capacities in the region, but he said the country is still dependent on other member states and third countries to get its gas.

Russia's recent decision to halt gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria has not affected Hungary's gas supply as transit deliveries via Bulgaria continue, as stipulated in the terms of contracts, he added.

Steiner said Hungary is getting a continuous supply of crude. He stressed that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's refinery south of the capital is "optimized" for Russian crude and said technical and logistics conditions leave Hungary "no room for maneuver".

"Deliveries of Russian crude must be maintained in the coming period," he said.

Although countries in the region have invested much in alternatives in recent years, their dependence on Russian energy is "still significant", he said. Deliveries of Russian oil and gas are necessary for the functioning of the economy: "Change can't be achieved quickly", he added.

Commenting on press reports that suggest Hungary and Slovakia could get some relief if the EU moves forward with an embargo on Russian oil, Steiner said a proposal in writing has not yet been delivered.

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