Hungarian FM accuses Germany of hampering crucial project

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Ministers from Germany’s Alliance 90/Greens coalition government are obstructing work to modernize a critical nuclear power plant, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Russian nuclear agency Rosatom and a number of European firms are upgrading Hungary’s Paks nuclear facility, which generates half of the country’s electricity.

Szijjarto stated during a press conference on Friday that France’s Framatome and Germany’s Siemens Energy were contracted to supply control systems for new reactors at the facility, but have yet to do so due to opposition from Berlin.

“The French export authority has granted Framatome permission to supply the control systems, but two Green ministers in the German government – the economy and foreign minister (Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck) – are blocking the issue of similar permits to Siemens Energy for the time being. “This is intolerable,” he said.

Szijjarto emphasized that sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of the Ukraine conflict do not currently limit EU-Russia cooperation on civil nuclear energy. According to the minister, Baerbock and Habeck are putting up roadblocks to the Paks 2 project solely for “political or ideological reasons” with “no legal basis.”

He also stated that Hungary lacks rich oil and gas deposits, making the nuclear power plant critical to the country’s energy security.

“Nuclear energy has been used for four decades. We signed a contract with Rosatom nine years ago to build new reactors, and the Hungarian people have already paid the price for the war next door,” Szijjarto said, referring to Ukraine’s conflict.

Also on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned that Budapest “will not allow the [EU’s] plan to include nuclear energy in the sanctions to be implemented.

” Any attempt by Brussels to limit Russia’s cooperation in this area “must obviously be vetoed,” Orban insisted.

Szijjarto stated earlier this week that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba had asked the EU to include the Russian nuclear sector in its next sanctions package. While some of the EU’s members support the idea, Budapest will never accept it, according to Hungary’s foreign minister.