Hungary will have enough gas for the winter: Official

Hungary will have enough gas this winter to supply its households and economy, Tamas Menczer, state secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has said.

“Gas is flowing to Hungary, where people will be able to heat (their homes) during the cold (winter months), and the Hungarian industry and economy will remain functional,” Menczer told the public television channel M1 on Monday.

He said the deal with Russian Gazprom, which had been brokered by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, provides an additional 5.8 million cubic meters of natural gas per day for Hungary in September and October, Xinhua news agency reported.

While improving energy security in Hungary, the deal with Gazprom also marks a deviation from the strategy currently implemented by the European Union (EU), which has been seeking to rid itself of Russian gas dependence as soon as possible.

Szijjarto made a surprise visit to Moscow in July to discuss the purchase of an additional 700 million cubic meters of natural gas.

According to Menczer, about half of Europe’s annual gas consumption of 400 billion cubic meters traditionally comes from Russia. “Therefore, whoever says that Russian gas can be replaced in the short term is simply not telling the truth,” he said.

Speaking about the EU’s plans to cap gas prices, he said the Hungarian government will scrutinize them to see if they are compatible with Hungarian interests.

Faced with rising energy prices, the Hungarian government has been forced to cancel the earlier general price caps for electricity and gas. A partial price cap has been retained for households, covering the “average” amount of energy consumption. Companies and households consuming above the government-defined average must pay market prices from August.

Last week, local press were quoting hotel and restaurant owners, small businesses and local governments warning about looming crises in the upcoming heating season due to the elevated energy prices.

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