Orbán has finally secured Hungary’s energy supply

If there is Russian gas, there will be a reduction in tariffs; if there is no Russian gas, there will be no reduction in tariffs, Viktor Orbán said during his trip to Moscow last week.

The prime minister announced that substantive negotiations could be held to increase the annual volume of long-term Russian gas supplies to Hungary by 1 billion cubic meters.

The prime minister met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin for more than five hours of talks. Afterward, he said that today the price of gas and electricity for households in Western Europe has increased by 2 to 3 times over the last period. Hungary is an exception to this, where cuts have been in place for years. However, this would not be possible without Russian gas.

With the agreement we have just negotiated, „we have finally secured Hungary’s energy supply.”

– said the prime minister.

The value of the long-term gas supply contract between Russia and Hungary will be particularly valuable in the future, so the volume should not be reduced but rather increased

– he stressed.

Putin said:

Russia is open to further cooperation; the Hungarian request will be examined, but the additional 1 billion cubic meters „will not be a big problem.”

He said that

there will be problems with gas supplies in Europe, but not in Hungary, thanks to the contract for 4.5bcm per year until 2036.

He added:

Hungarian consumers can buy gas well below the market price.

The Russian president underlined:

Hungary also continues to prove that it is a reliable partner for Russian gas transit.

He added that

energy plays an important role in Russian-Hungarian economic relations. Russia has supplied Hungary with energy for many years without interruption, accounting for 55 percent of Hungarian oil consumption and 80 percent of gas consumption.

He recalled that

MOL is also involved in oil production in Russia.

The Paks nuclear power plant was also discussed under the energy theme, with Orbán saying that

the preparation for the construction of the new units has entered its final phase; once the last permit has been granted, „the investment will automatically move to the next, so-called installation phase, and we Hungarians will take the decisive step to become self-sufficient in electricity supply.” The Hungarian power generation system could thus become climate-neutral by 2030.

Viktor Orbán also said:

A large vaccine factory will soon start operations in Hungary, which will also be able to produce the Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, Sputnik V. He expressed his hope that a final agreement could be reached on this as well.

In response to a question, he added:

Hungary is planning to buy the newer type of vaccine, Sputnik Light, and is ready to participate in its production, as the government’s goal is to make as many vaccines as possible available to Hungarian citizens. Trials of the vaccine in Hungary will be completed soon.

The joint project on railway wagons was also discussed; under the framework of this project,

600 wagons have already been delivered to the Egyptian railway company and 700 more will be handed over. This will also provide additional jobs

– Vladimir Putin underlined.

At the meeting, Orbán also asked Moscow to allow more Russian passenger planes to arrive in Hungary, as the planes are currently full and if capacity were increased, more Russian tourists could arrive in Hungary. Another Hungarian request is for direct flights to Budapest from Ekaterinburg and Kaliningrad.

Vladimir Putin also said:

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, trade between the two countries increased by 30 percent in the first 11 months of last year to $5.5 billion, while the value of mutual investments reached $1 billion 

The Russian-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is also working effectively and efficiently

– noted the Russian president.

Putin also praised the continuation of the cultural cooperation program, which will take place until 2024. Last year, the Days of Russian Intellectual Culture were successfully organized in Hungary.

The Russian president additionally thanked Hungary for its support to Russia in organizing the World Expo 2030. Moscow has never hosted a world exhibition before, he stressed.

Both sides considered the Hungarian-Russian relationship to be balanced, positive and constructive. Viktor Orbán said: 

Hungary is committed to continuing this in the future. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Vladimir Putin, referring to the forthcoming Hungarian elections, expressed his hope that they would be able to continue working together with Viktor Orbán after the elections.

A new Israeli coronavirus vaccine is being tested on Hungarian volunteers 

Israel has created a vaccine with a genetically modified virus that grows spike proteins on its surface; it is expected to be better than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.