Germany is taking action to hinder Hungary’s energy supply by preventing the German conglomerate Siemens from delivering a needed system to upgrade Hungary’s vital Paks nuclear power plant, which is jeopardizing the country’s long-term energy security, said Hungary’s foreign minister.
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday it was regrettable that certain ministers in the German government were blocking Siemens Energy’s participation in the Paks nuclear plant. Szijjártó underscored that each country can put together its energy mix as its national interests dictate.
“The Germans are now questioning our right to do so, and with this decision, this blocking, they are putting our long-term energy security at risk, which is unacceptable,” said. Szijjártó, who made the comment after meeting France’s energy minister in Paris and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.
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“This could qualify as an attack on our sovereignty, as the security of energy supply is an issue of sovereignty,” Szijjarto said.
Hungary’s foreign minister noted that under the contract, a German-French consortium will supply the control system for the new Paks nuclear reactor units, and while Paris has already granted the necessary licenses, Berlin has not yet. He further described France as taking a “pragmatic” approach to the issue, while the German government “continues to block delivery” of a Siemens Energy control system, which Siemens had agreed to provide in a signed contract.
Hungary wants to expand its nuclear energy capacity with the help of Russia’s Rosatom, which is contracted to build two 1.2 gigawatt VVER reactors. The country’s reliance on Russia to produce nuclear energy has been a point of contention with other nations.
Szijjártó also said that while Hungary and France still disagree on how best to achieve peace in Ukraine, they are united in promoting the use of nuclear energy in Europe, according to Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet. He noted that the two countries successfully fought together in the European Union to recognize nuclear energy as sustainable.
He added that Hungary and France are working on various plans with the French Framatome company to ensure that if the German government persists with this “unjustified” position, the project will not be delayed.
The minister also touched on the issue of security in Africa, saying that both Budapest and Paris are of the opinion that the real starting point for security in Europe is Africa.
“The protection of Europe, the fight against terrorism and the prevention of migration must start in Africa. We are ready to play a military role together with the French, supporting the French in a joint mission, as we have done in Mali,” he said.