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Orbán calls Putin after EC okays Paks expansion

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán initiated a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the expansion of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks the day after the European Commissionʼs Monday announcement that it had authorized Hungarian state funding for the project, according to reports.

Putin and Orbán discussed current issues in bilateral relations, including the progress of contracts that were agreed upon during the Russian leader’s visit to Budapest on February 2, said Bertalan Havasi, head of the Prime Ministerʼs Press Office, confirming reports appearing on the Russian president’s official website kremlin.ru. Orbán and Putin were also reported to have discussed “international topics of shared interest.”

One other topic was the satisfaction of both sides with the European Commission’s decision to greenlight expansion of Hungary’s Paks Nuclear Power Plant, which “has removed the obstacles to realization of the addition of two new blocks with the participation of Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom,” official Hungarian government website kormany.hu reported. 

The path may not be completely cleared, however, as the Paks expansion still faces potential popular opposition after Hungary’s green party LMP (Politics Can Be Different) announced last week it will initiate a referendum on the project.

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