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Spreading misinformation on regional energy cooperation disagrees with spirit of Romanian-Hungarian strategic partnership

By Emea Riga
Romania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) says spreading misinformation regarding Romania's actions in regional energy cooperation runs contrary to the spirit of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and Hungary and the bilateral co-operation relations, respect and mutual trust between two European countries that are EU and NATO members.
In a press statement released on Friday, MAE remarked that it is concerned about recent public statements, including by Hungary's foreign minister, on issues related to regional energy co-operation and demanded clarification through the Embassy of Hungary in Bucharest about the reasons for these opinions.
'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that spreading misinformation regarding Romania disagrees with the spirit of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and Hungary and the bilateral relations of co-operation, mutual respect and mutual trust between two European states, members of the EU and NATO. The Hungarian side undoubtedly knows all too well the recent developments in the substantial investment conducted in Romania for the provision of the regional gas transmission infrastructure and the exemplary co-operation of the Romanian officials with the companies interested in making use of the Black Sea energy resources and Romania's efforts to ensure the diversification of natural gas supply sources in the region. In this respect, the Law on Offshore Oil Operations is a priority item on the agenda of the Romanian Parliament, and it will provide a stimulating framework for investment in this area,' according to MAE.
The same source says that, in addition, Hungarian officials are of course aware of the frequent and open dialogue between national companies in Romania and Hungary on these issues.
'We remind the Hungarian side that at the end of last year Hungarian entities participated in the process of reserving the natural gas transmission capacity for the BRUA [Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria] segment between Romania and Hungary. Therefore, organising public events in Romania to promote ideas contrary to this spirit of co-operation is unwarranted and inappropriate. We bring back to public attention the announcement made by the Romanian natural gas carrier of June 4, 2018 regarding the launch of BRUA Phase I infrastructure construction on Romania's territory, which involves important funds allocated by this Romanian company in order to ensure connection to the Central European region. These developments are still taking place despite the Hungarian side avoiding performing the necessary investment on its soil to complete the BRUA corridor according to the regional commitments.'
At the same time, MAE points out that a recent CESEC Central and South Eastern Europe Connectivity (CESEC) regional meeting organised under the aegis of the European Commission welcomed Romania's remarkable progress with implementing the BRUA project, as stated in the final statement of the meeting and highlighted by the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change Miguel Arias Canete.
'Romania will continue to act in good faith in order to meet its Energy Union commitments to the European Union by ensuring the development of the gas interconnection infrastructure at the regional level, and it will act with determination so that the objective of diversifying the gas supply sources will be reached.'
Energy supply in Central Europe is a security issue and it will only be adequately addressed if the necessary infrastructure development is carried out with EU or US funding, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is quoted by the MTI news agency as having said in Washington on Wednesday.
According to the Hungarian official, Central Europe's energy security and the region's need to end dependence on a single supplier are recurring problems among the main global political players, but investment in infrastructure by the EU or the United States that would make this possible is missing, said the head of Hungarian diplomacy.
He said the time has come to exert increased international pressure on the countries in the region that violate their commitments so as to ensure the reversibility of gas flows through their interconnectors, singling out Romania and Croatia.
Szijjarto also mentioned it is important that pressure be kept on Romania to begin the extraction of gas from its Black Sea reserves starting in 2022.
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