Hungary's Orban warms to Putin over nuclear deal

18 September 2018

Orban's visit to Moscow was primarily about economic ties, said Ian Bond of the London-based Centre for European Reform.

"Hungary is one of the most dependent countries in Europe on Russia for its energy supplies. Not just for its gas — and I think it gets about three-quarters of its gas from Russia — but also because more than half of its electricity comes from nuclear plants, and 100 percent of the fuel for those nuclear plants comes from Russia. So it's very easy for the Russians to remind the Hungarians that a cold winter is coming if they want to exercise political leverage," Bond told VOA in an interview.

...The Paks nuclear project has caused alarm in Brussels, noted analyst Ian Bond.


"Hungary is taking out a large Russian loan to cover the cost of it. This is something which ... the European Commission resisted and tried to block. Eventually, the commission grudgingly cleared the deal, but it's now running into delays, cost overruns and the like."

"But it may be that as part of thumbing his nose at the rest of Europe now that he faces sanctions over the rule of law, that he may decide that he can actually afford to block the sanctions on Russia the next time they come up for renewal," Bond said.