Paks negotiations continue; left wing incensed; no stand taken by Brussels

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Though Russian and Hungarian parties have agreed in principle to a $16 billion contract which will see state-owned Rosatom construct an extension to the Paks nuclear power plant in hopes of doubling its capacity, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov informed international media yesterday that a truly final decision might only be announced in June.

Siluanov stated that the Russian government would lend up to €10 billion for the project over a 10-year period, with repayment due in 21 years; a credit line for the project would be established in 2014. Hungary would be the 14th country in which Rosatom has a presence; despite a recent announcement that the company would be scaling back in its plans for expansion in the home market, Rosatom has entered into 20 nuclear reactor erection contracts and has amassed a portfolio of foreign holdings of over $74 billion since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.  

Mesterházy: Orbán pulled a coup d’état on Hungary
Labeling the sitting government’s decision to have Rosatom finance the government-mandated Paks nuclear power plant extension as essentially a “coup d’état,” MSzP party president/left-wing coalition leader Attila Mesterházy called for a special session of Parliament to be called to investigate the matter of a tender-free contract.

At a press conference, Mesterházy blasted Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for selling out his country, saying that “no responsible politician would decide on the question of a nuclear plant alone, without seeking the opinion of the Hungarian people and civil organizations.” Mesterházy opined that “A mandate should be won through a referendum after canvassing the opinion of experts” on the Paks expansion.

The MSzP head will certainly have no trouble rounding up support from the opposition. LMP party co-president Bernadett Szél was quick to respond to announcements of a deal, threatening a lawsuit should the government not release details on the contract with Rosatom.

In describing the “decision which will influence the lives of even our grandchildren,” Szél characterized Orbán as having “agreed to hand over control of the entire country to Moscow.” Szél’s party mate Katalin Csiba went even further, emphatically declaring that “Viktor Orbán started joining the Soviet Union” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously has designs on empire.

A statement from the Democratic Coalition (DK) party backed LMP’s call for publication of contract details while calling Orbán’s move “a real betrayal” of Hungary.

Brussels: No stand on non-existent Paks tender (yet)
Despite the outcry from within Hungary and without, those opposing a ramrodded Paks extension deal won’t be getting any support from the European Union or European Commission just yet: EU Energy Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger told media yesterday that the EU has not taken a stand on whether a tender should be called for the project.

Berger went on to state that her commission had yet to determine whether the deal is within the parameters of EU regulations.

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