Hungary issues “state of danger” over energy crisis

A natural gas storage facility in Zsana, Hungary. (Attila Volgyi/Xinhua/Getty Images)

The Hungarian government has issued a “state of danger” on Wednesday due to the ongoing energy crisis in the country, putting a seven-point plan in place to prepare for upcoming government measures in August, according to Zoltan Kovacs, spokesperson for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. 

Quoting Gergely Gulyás, who heads the Hungarian prime minister’s office, Kovacs said government measures would include, domestic natural gas production to be increased to two billion cubic meters, exporting a ban on energy sources, boosting domestic lignite production.

Additional measured include the relaunch of a power plant, extending the operations of a nuclear power plant, soliciting market price from consumers with above-average energy consumption, Kovacs said on Twitter.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is also responsible for securing additional gas supplies, Kovacs added.

Natural gas supplies across Europe have suffered since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causing countries to scramble as they try to preserve supplies in case Russia turns off the taps. 

In 2021, Hungary signed a 15-year natural gas supply deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom to supply gas to the country, in a move criticized by Ukraine. 

So far, Gazprom has cut off at least 20 billion cubic meters of its annual gas supplies to customers in six European countries — Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — because they failed to make payments in rubles, a demand President Vladimir Putin made back in March.

In an interview with CNN in April, Szijjártó confirmed Hungary will use the payment scheme put in place by Moscow to pay for its oil and gas.

Szijjártó said there are no alternative sources or routes which makes it possible for them to stop importing Russian energy in the next few years. 

Previous reporting from Pamela Boykoff and Anna Cooban.