Through its European section, the South Stream gas pipeline could create the missing connections between the countries and contribute to strengthening supply security in the whole Central European region. The Hungarian Government assigns high priority to the implementation of the investment since, beyond boosting energy markets, the project could also have a role, by raising the GDP produced and employment, in mitigating the effects of the economic crisis, Minister of National Development Zsuzsa Németh explained in her address opening the conference South Stream: The Evolution of a Pipeline in Budapest on 18 November 2013.

Temporary interruptions in natural gas supply caused by the limited infrastructure connections involve high risks for Hungary, just like for other Central European countries. In view of this, the Hungarian Government firmly advocates changing the situation that limits the country’s room for manoeuvre. The National Energy Strategy adopted by Parliament supports any initiative contributing to increasing the number of delivery sources and routes.

“The plan for the construction of the South Stream is unique among the numerous ideas with similar goals as regards both the strong political support for it and the commitment of the participating companies. I am glad to establish that the preparations for the section of the pipeline in Hungary have proceeded at the right pace. With a view to accelerate implementation, the Hungarian Government has declared the project a high priority national economic investment, Zsuzsa Németh revealed.

In the field of energy affairs, Russia is still a key strategic partner; Hungary is, proportionately, the largest market for Russian natural gas in Central Europe. As a pure, natural energy resource natural gas may become a significant instrument in the fight against climate change in the coming decades. The South Stream project creates an opportunity for overcoming the physical obstacles as well as for transferring and sharing the knowledge, expertise and technology necessary in order to meet the high environmental and security requirements, the Development Minister underlined.

The Minister called for joint efforts so as to surmount the obstacles to the implementation of the project together, as soon as possible, work out a solution acceptable for all and aligned with the EU energy policy and establish close and permanent partnership.

Minister of State for Energy Affairs Pál Kovács urged that the European Union should, as soon as possible, join the consultations on energy affairs to be held with Russia as a matter of urgency. Central Europe needs an immediate solution in order to enhance supply security. The planned international infrastructure development could create a gas market of a competitive size in the region. Increasing transparency could reduce the development gap between the gas and electricity markets.

At the Budapest event of the South Stream conference series, it was the fifth time following events in Sofia, Belgrade, Milan and Ljubljana for representatives of the governments, energy sectors and scientific communities of the countries concerned to meet. Speakers at the conference included Russian Deputy Minister for Energy Anatoly Yanovsky; the closing address was delivered by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar.

(Ministry of National Development Communications Department)