Growing concerns over Paks upgrade


European officials have warned that the energy agreement between Hungary and Russia regarding the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks has numerous obstacles and could possibly violate European Union regulations, the Financial Times reported late yesterday.

"A veto or prohibitive fine from Brussels would be a bruising setback for Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, who has made the project the centerpiece of his strategy to forge deeper political and economic ties with Russia, despite the ostracizing of Moscow by the west over Ukraine," the Financial Times report said.

"Although the European Commission did not raise objections to an intergovernmental agreement signed by the two countries just over a year ago, the award of contracts for the Paks plant has thrown up thorny antitrust concerns," the paper added.

Responding to Hungarian news agency MTI’s query to comment on the Financial Times’ report, EC spokesperson Ana-Kaisa Itkonen said the review of the project is "in a very early stage" and that "no conclusion of any kind can be drawn as to whether the agreement is in harmony with EU rules on public procurements or state aid".

Following Putin's visit to Budapest last week, Orbán said that he was expecting "an escalating conflict" with Brussels, as Hungary is against the European Union's plan to oversee intergovernmental energy agreements created by member states.


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