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Hungary seeks "balanced, healthy and pragmatic" relationship with Russia - FM

November 13, 2014, 1:54 UTC+3 VIENNA
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VIENNA, November 12. /TASS/. Hungary wants a “balanced, healthy and pragmatic” relationship with Russia, its foreign minister was quoted by the national news agency MTI as saying on Wednesday.

Peter Szijjarto said in Berlin that “Hungary will always be loyal to decisions that Europe takes together”, adding that his state was proud to ensure most of the reverse gas supplies to Ukraine in comparison to other European countries.

Speaking about Europe's energy security, Szijjarto also asked his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to provide support to improve the infrastructure for gas transportation.

Hungary backs Russian Gazprom's pipeline project to carry natural gas to Europe, which the EU says undermines its drive to reduce reliance on Russian energy.

Steinmeier said he had some questions about the Hungarian authorities’ decisions aimed at implementing the South Stream underwater gas pipeline project terminated by Brussels.

A few days earlier, the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that would make it possible to speed up the construction of the South Stream pipeline and would give the green light to companies without licenses to participate in the project.

South Stream is Gazprom's global infrastructure project designed to build a gas pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic metres across the Black Sea to southern and central Europe, diversifying export routes and eliminating transit risks. The South Stream’s surface section is to run through the territories of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.

South Stream construction started in late 2012. First deliveries are due in 2016. The pipeline is expected to become fully operational in 2018.

Last year, the European Commission urged to review bilateral intergovernmental agreements between Russia and EU countries to ensure that they comply with the Third Energy Package, which requires the separation of gas production, transportation and sale to prevent gas suppliers from dominating the infrastructure. Its purpose is to further open up gas and electricity markets in the European Union. The package was proposed by the European Commission in September 2007 and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in July 2009. It took effect on September 3, 2009.

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