Environmental protection and economic competitiveness must go hand in hand when pursuing green goals, Hungary’s foreign minister said in Moscow on Thursday.
Hungary believes that green goals must be pursued on the basis of common sense so that environmental protection coincides with economic growth, Péter Szijjártó told a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Week International Forum. The minister criticised what he called a competition around the pursuit of green goals, saying that certain players, including green political parties, were hurting the cause of climate protection by “trying to one up each other” in their communication.
As regards Europe’s energy crisis, Szijjártó said many in the EU were conflating the issue of energy with ideology. He said it was a mistake to shut down nuclear power plants, to reject cooperation with Russia, “to be against natural gas” and for the bloc to limit itself to “short-term thinking”.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó told another panel discussion at the same forum that Hungary had fulfilled all tasks to prevent suffering serious consequences from Europe’s energy crisis. Szijjártó said the crisis had been caused by three factors: political issues being confused with energy issues, a hostile approach to natural gas and a further cooling of Europe-Russia relations. “If the European Union improved on correcting these mistakes, we would get closer to a solution,” he added. He noted Hungary’s new long-term gas purchase contract with Russia and said gas storage facilities in Hungary were 82% full, far above the European average. Other European countries could have also made the strategic decisions to fill storage capacities but they failed to do so, which has contributed to the development of the current difficult energy market situation in Europe, he said. Szijjártó met Russian energy minister Alexander Novak and Serbia’s deputy prime minister in charge of energy affairs Zorana Mihajlovic in Moscow on Thursday, as well as Azeri energy minister Parviz Shahbazov and United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei. Szijjártó also held talks with Russia’s Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin.