“An agreement has successfully been reached with Gazprom on the quantity and price of next year’s natural gas shipments to Hungary, in addition to which negotiations have also begun on gas shipments for 2020”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Friday after taking part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“Thanks to our efficient cooperation with Russia, Hungary’s natural gas supply has also been assured for the upcoming years”, Mr. Szijjártó said, drawing attention to the fact that the long-term Hungarian-Russian gas purchasing agreement currently in effect is valid until 2021.

DownloadPhoto: Ministrry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

During his trip to St. Petersburg, the Minister met with, amongst others, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and Deputy CEO of Rosatom Kirill Komarov.

In the statement, Mr. Szijjártó also said that preparative work for a gas supply point to provide Hungary with natural gas from the south is continuously ongoing. He reminded the press that in accordance with the agreements previously concluded with Bulgaria and Serbia, further quantities of natural gas will be arriving in Hungary from the south thanks to the modernisation of the Bulgarian and Serbian gas pipeline systems.

“The Paks Nuclear Power Station expansion project, which will guarantee Hungary’s long-term competitiveness and low public utility costs, is moving forward according to schedule. All of the environmental permits required for construction have come into effect and are legally binding, and all EU barriers have also been lifted”, he said.

“We will be opening the construction site to Rosatom at the end of February, and the implementation of the financing agreement has also begun”, Mr Szijjártó added.

On Friday, Rosatom said in a statement that the construction of the two new energy blocks at Paks will begin in 2020, and they will be put into commission in 2026 and 2027. Mr. Szijjártó confirmed that this corresponds to the realisation schedule.

The Minister drew attention to the fact that based on the talks held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron at the St. Petersburg forum, an agreement has been concluded on strategic nuclear industry cooperation between the two countries.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs

Mr. Szijjártó said it was good news for Hungarian enterprises that, following a 30 percent increase last year, Russian-Hungarian bilateral trade flow also increased by over 11 percent during the first two months of this year, reaching almost 1 billion euros.

“This also indicates that growth has begun following the significant reduction in trade caused by the European Union sanctions and the measures Russia has introduced in response, and more Hungarian enterprises are now realising export opportunities. The increase in exports is currently being driven by the pharmaceutical industry and cereal products”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.