“Hungary is prepared to meet the energy security challenges it will be facing, and new solutions and new transport routes will be required in the interests of handling the uncertainties that will arise from next year”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Monday at a regional energy security forum in Belgrade.

In his speech, the Minister pointed out that the natural gas supply plays the most important role within the energy supply, but despite this few developments have occurred in recent years that gave rise to joy. “Next year will be a true divider in this respect”, he declared.

Mr. Szijjártó said that uncertainties could arise from next year that will affect the whole region, explaining that from 2020 it is uncertain whether Central Europe will be able to receive Russian gas via Ukraine, and as a result new solutions and new transport routes must be searched for.

“Four principles must be respected with relation to energy security: energy investment decisions must be made in harmony with the interests of the countries of Southeast Europe, double standards must be done away with, countries must decide individually on their energy mix, and Eurasian cooperation is required”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade emphasised in his speech.

“Hungary is prepared for the challenges it will be facing”, he underlined, explaining that for instance Hungary has signed an agreement with Russia in respect of which the country’s natural gas supply will be assure in 2020, but new transport routes and transport sources will be necessary in the long term.

“It currently depends exclusively on our allies whether Hungary will be capable of importing natural gas from new sources and via new routes”, he added. “It depends on our Croatian friends whether they will be constructing their LNG terminal, and it depends on the decision of an American and an Austrian company whether the natural gas discovered under the Black Sea in Romania will be extracted. If neither occurs, and they have been delaying things for a long time with relation to these issues, then there will be no other solution open to Hungary than to concentrate on the development of the southern gas transport route, through which also Russian gas will be arriving in the region via Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia”, Mr. Szijjártó detailed.

“Hungary has taken the necessary technical steps in the interests of being able to acquire 6 billion cubic metres of natural gas from the south via Serbia in 2021, and 10 billion cubic metres from 2022”, he said. “We strongly object to anyone declaring this southern gas transport route to be a Russian project in view of the fact that three out of the four participating countries are members of NATO and two are European Union member states”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated, adding: “Hungary regards this to be a true European interest”.

The required capacity purchasing procedure relating to the pipeline crossing the Serbian-Hungarian border has already been launched, and the public phase of the process, the actual gas purchase contracts by various energy companies, is expected to occur in September.

“With relation to Hungary’s energy supply, the Hungarian Government exclusively considers national interests, since it regards the country’s energy supply as both a national security and a sovereignty issue”, the Minister added.

On Monday in Belgrade, Mr. Szijjártó held talks on the region’s current energy policy situation with Serbian Minister for Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić, Romanian Energy Minister Anton Anton, Montenegrin Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, and the Republic of Srpska’s Energy Minister Petar Đokić.