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Viktor Orban’s Gas Deal with Russia

In a move that is likely to be viewed very negatively in Europe, it has emerged that in the height of cold relations between Russia and the EU, Hungary has done a deal over gas with Russia’s state owned company, Gazprom and Vladimir Putin.

Hungary had a 20 year deal with Russia. It has also been allowed to rollover an unused portion of contract.

Further Deals

 

Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orban told reporters that, Russia supports a new gas pipeline in Hungary as an alternative route than that of the Ukraine.

Orban has been keen to get some form of pipeline project back on track since Russia recently cancelled the planned South Stream project.

Along with the pipeline, negotiations were also carried out regarding the increasing of storage of Russian gas in Hungary. Currently, Gazprom store 700 million cubic metres of gas in the country. However, Hungary has the capacity to store 10 times this amount, explained Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, to Hungarian State Television station, M1.

Hungary currently relies on Russia for 60% of its gas supplies, according to the International Energy Agency data.

Friend of Putin

 

Vicktor Orban has been an outspoken supporter of Vladimir Putin throughout the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and has openly opposed European Union sanctions against the country.

Putin, who visited Hungary this week, is keen to move closer to Hungary, whose friendly relations with Russia, do not go unnoticed in Brussels.

Neighbours in the region are also watching Orbans’ moves. Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, said his actions in trying to show support for Russia whilst being an EU member state are risky. 

Vladimir Putin’s visit saw a thousand Hungarians demonstrating against Orban’s policies, that have have gradually looked more and more pro Russian. Recent remarks of Russia as an ideal ‘illiberal democracy’, that he wishes to see implemented in Hungary, among shaky policy suggestions have caused him and his Fidesz party to slip drastically in the polls.

Most controversial, was his plan before Christmas, to introduce an internet bandwidth tax. Tens of thousands protested, and rioted in the streets of Budapest. The plan was quickly withdrawn.

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