Szijjártó Calls EC Proposal on Russian Gas Price Cap 'Absurd'

EU

Péter Szijjártó

Photo by I T S / Shutterstock.com

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said the European Commission's proposal to put a price cap on Russian gas delivered to Europe is "absurd" after a meeting of European Union energy ministers in Brussels on Friday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Szijjártó said the proposed price cap would raise prices and put Hungary's energy supply at risk, adding that Gazprom had clearly indicated that gas deliveries would cease if the price cap is rolled out. He noted that gas accounts for 40% of the country's energy consumption.

He said the proposed price cap is "nothing more than a sanction" labeled a commercial measure to avoid the condition of unanimity required to push through a sanction.

Hungary will not accept a "political" measure that would leave its citizens lacking heat, gas to cook with, or warm water, he added.

Szijjártó said the proposal "flies in the face of European interests", adding that he had put the question to EC members of how long they plan to continue their sanctions policy.

He said altogether nine member states were opposed to or expressed reservations concerning the gas price cap at the meeting of energy ministers. 

Szijjártó said Hungary has enough gas in reserves to cover 38% of consumption, well over the 22% average ratio for the EU as a whole.

He added that the country is getting almost 5.8 million cubic meters of gas a day from Russia in addition to the amount in its long-term contract with Gazprom.

Szijjártó said other proposals by the EC discussed at the meeting were "of a technical nature" and "could be acceptable with minor adjustments". They included a proposal on saving electricity, that Hungary will only accept if savings are voluntary, another on limiting revenue of companies that generate electricity using resources other than gas, one on a "solidarity contribution" by fossil fuel companies, and one on improving energy market liquidity, he added.

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