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Varga: Cheapest credit line for Paks necessary

Hungary is negotiating with Russia to get the cheapest credit to finance an expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant, National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said on commercial television late Tuesday. Varga told HírTV that an agreement had still not been reached on financing for the project, but talks were underway to ensure the cheapest deal.

State-owned Rosatom will build two more blocks at the Paks plant, it was announced at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán yesterday. Eighty percent of the project’s cost will be financed with a €10 billion credit line from Russia.

Asked whether the announcement that a tender would not be called for the expansion could cause a problem in Brussels, Varga said that only if the project was being financed with European Union funding or from the market could the question of competition law be raised. The state of Hungary has the right, if it makes a bilateral agreement, to build the blocks without calling a tender, he explained.

Varga dismissed speculation that giving Rosatom the Paks expansion deal is somehow connected to Hungary long-term gas delivery contract with Russia. The contract expires in 2015.