Hungary and Romania are in talks on creating new transport routes for nuclear fuel rods and increasing the capacity of the gas interconnector between the two countries, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Bucharest on Tuesday.
After talks with his Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Lucian Aurescu, Szijjártó told a joint press conference that both countries had made significant efforts to strengthen energy security and diversify resources. The ministers discussed increasing the capacity of the Romanian-Hungarian interconnector. This year, Romania received more than 600 million cubic meters of natural gas from Hungary through an interconnector with a maximum capacity of 2.6 billion cubic meters, Szijjártó noted. Hungary received 300 million cubic meters through the interconnector, which has a maximum capacity of 1.7 billion cubic meters in that direction, he said. The capacity from Romania to Hungary is planned to be increased to 3 billion cubic meters in the long run, he said.
In view of interruptions of supply on Nord Stream-1, the gas pipeline connecting Russia with Germany, Hungary’s government has decided to boost southern supply lines, he said. “Southern routes are worth boosting also because new resources can only be expected from there, whether through LNG terminals in Greece or natural gas coming from Turkey or Azerbaijan,” Szijjártó said. Also, Hungary has received fuel rods via Ukraine so far, and has now started talks on replacing that route with one through Bulgaria and Romania.
Hungary and Romania are facing “the same threats to their physical, economic and energy supply security in these critical times”, Szijjártó said. Hungary, in particular, is under dual pressure from the 830,000 refugees arriving “from the East” and the 110,000 illegal immigrants it had stopped at its southern borders this year, he said. “We are having to face outrageous aggression and violence on our southern border, as groups of migrants are arming themselves — while they are using those weapons against each other at times, they are also threatening the forces that protect the Hungarian border. We will help everyone fleeing the war in Ukraine, but the strong protection on our southern borders conveys the message to illegal migrants that they should not come here because we won’t let them in, no matter how violent they are,” he said.
Regarding bilateral cooperation between Romania and Hungary, Szijjártó said bilateral trade hit a record 10-11 billion euros last year, and has grown by 30% so far this year. Hungarian companies such as MOL, OTP and Richter play an important role in Romania’s economic success, he said. Hungary and Romania both support the European integration of the Western Balkans, he said. Meanwhile, both have offered to open transport routes for grain stranded in Ukraine due to the war, he added.