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PM expects 'escalating conflict' with Brussels

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Hungary is against the European Union's plan to oversee intergovernmental energy agreements created by member states, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told reporters yesterday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

"We will have a major problem. I am expecting an escalating conflict," Dow Jones and Reuters quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

According to Orbán, the EU’s plans to revamp energy policy, which requires preliminary notification on intergovernmental contracts, “shows that it's heading into an energy union that hinders national sovereignty”.

Orbán expressed his intention not to support the EU’s energy union, because the EU believes that the energy sector should become non-profit rather than for-profit as it currently is, and he urged the EU to become competitive with American energy prices, MTI reported. "If the retail and wholesale profit margin is dropped from the price, energy prices could fall for the manufacturing sector," the Prime Minister added.

Orbán said that Hungary is now relying chiefly on Russia for its gas imports, however by 2018-2019 the country could be in a “different situation” with more room for “maneuvering”, given that by that time gas is expected to flow from more than just the Slovak-Hungarian gas interconnector, as reverse flows from Croatia and Romania could also be resolved.

Orbán also said that he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Hungary should back the successor of the failed South Stream project: a plan to expand a Russian pipeline into Turkey and to include spurs that would take gas through Greece and the Balkans into Hungary.

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