Hungarian foreign minister warns: Rejecting energy from Russia could lead to EU's systemic collapse as winter approaches
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto warned Monday, August 29, that the European Union (EU) will head into a systemic collapse if it continues to reject energy from Russia despite the absence of suitable alternatives. This, he said, will leave the public with no heat over the winter months
"All these statements from Western Europe on the issue of energy supply simply do not work at all with winter approaching," Szijjarto said. He pointed out that while "ideological, political, communication statements with effective support from the international media can easily inflate balloons that cover people’s eyes," all the ideology in the world won't keep EU citizens warm when winter approaches.
Insisting that Hungary has not yet fallen into this trap, Szijjarto warned that pressure from other EU governments could only get worse as the current world order is "approaching a huge collapse, almost at the speed of an asteroid."
He also argued that Russian sources are integral to European energy security, implying that without them social discontent could lead to a systemic collapse.
Szijjarto said Hungary will not entertain talk of sanctions on Russian energy, but other nations will quietly back it on the matter, even if they won't do so publicly.
Budapest, meanwhile, has pushed back against bloc-wide calls for an embargo on Russian oil and gas since the notion began circulating among politicians. Other states that once demanded Moscow be punished over its attack on Ukraine have now realized that there is no other source of energy that can make up for the loss of Russian supplies.
Electricity costs in France and Germany have also shot up to record heights as Moscow shuts down the last operational turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for "three days' maintenance."
These are not the only countries who will feel the repercussions of the sanctions that were supposed to punish Russia
. And Europeans are now stockpiling whatever fuel they do have to prepare for the long winter ahead.
Germany accuses Russia of using energy as a "weapon"
Russian energy giant Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Germany on Wednesday, August 31, saying that supplies via Nord Stream 1 were completely stopped for preventive work at a compressor unit
shortly after European gas network operator ENTSOG announced the ceasing of deliveries.
Gazprom also said that it would suspend supplies to France's main provider, Engie, beginning Thursday, September 1, after it failed to pay for all deliveries made in July. (Related: Russia cuts Nord Stream 1 pipeline flows in HALF, plunging flow rates from 40% to just 20%
Germany, which remains heavily dependent on Russian gas, accused Moscow of using energy as a "weapon." However, Gazprom said that the three-day maintenance work was "necessary" and had to be carried out after "every 1,000 hours of operation."
Klaus Mueller of Germany's Federal Network Agency called the move "technically incomprehensible," adding that it was likely a pretext by Moscow to wield energy supplies as a threat to other European countries.
Mueller said Moscow usually makes political decisions after every so-called maintenance, adding that they will only know in the beginning of September if Russia does so again.
The EU is now preparing to take emergency action to reform the electricity market and bring galloping prices under control.
When asked whether or not gas supplies will resume after the three-day maintenance work, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there is a guarantee that apart from technical problems caused by sanctions, nothing will interfere with supplies.
Gazprom already carried out 10 days of long-scheduled maintenance works in July. While it restored gas flows, the supply was drastically cut down just days later.
The company said a key turbine could not be sent to Russia because of the sanctions on Moscow. But Germany, where the turbine was located, said Moscow itself blocked the component's delivery to Russia.
With fears over throttled supplies, companies have been driven to cut their energy use, a move that Mueller said could save Germany from a gas emergency in winter.
Stephan Knabe of Deutsche ReGas, which manages Germany's move to liquefied natural gas, said it expects to inject gas into the distribution network by December 1.
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