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Dispute over energy dependency and sovereignty

October 14th, 2022

A left-wing and a pro-government commentator ponder how the EU can improve its energy sovereignty by diversifying gas and oil imports.

Népszava’s Miklós Hargitai calls for more energy diversification and green energy. The left-wing commentator disagrees with Prime Minister Orbán’s latest remarks on energy policy. At a forum organized in Berlin by Berliner Zeitung and Cicero magazine on Tuesday, PM Orbán criticized EU sanctions on Russia, claiming that they harm the EU more than Russia. Mr Orbán also claimed that Hungary has no alternative to Russian energy, and warned against replacing dependency on Russian energy imports with dependency on US LNG gas. He suggested that the EU should also import energy from Algeria and Qatar, for example. Hargitai finds it absurd to suppose that the EU could ever become dependent on US LNG imports. As the EU has already made deals with Algeria, Norway, and Azerbaijan in addition to the US, it has already improved its energy sovereignty significantly, Hargitai notes.

In Magyar Nemzet, Gergely Kiss doubts whether Europe could bolster its energy sovereignty by swiftly increasing its green energy capacities. The pro-government commentator agrees that eco-friendly technologies should be a priority for the EU but doesn’t believe in the possibility of more than a piecemeal reduction of the gas, oil and coal consumption that account for 73 per cent of the EU’s current energy use. Kiss agrees that diversification and the promotion of eco-friendly technologies are important in the long run, but meanwhile, the EU needs to secure cheap energy. In an aside, Kiss adds that renewable energy requires raw materials that can practically only be supplied by China and therefore a green turn, while decreasing Russia’s leverage over Europe, would increase the EU’s dependence on China.

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