On Monday, the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research, Telecommunications and Energy (ITRE) overwhelmingly approved a compromise version of amendments to the EU Gas Directive. The amendments seek to extend internal EU rules on energy to offshore pipelines, which would affect the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline expected to carry gas from Russia to Germany.
"The western European countries have much closer relations with Russia [than Hungary]. They are signing deals with Russia, worth of millions of euros. I have nothing against that but I am against double standards. These [western European] countries have massive business ties with Russia hidden from the public, while criticizing Russia," Szijjarto told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
He called the situation around the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project an example of the EU police of double standards.
"In terms of investments in the energy infrastructure, the Nord Stream project is the most significant project in the history of Europe. This is a joint project of Gazprom and western energy companies. I repeat that I have nothing against that. However, do you remember the reaction of European media, European elites and the European Commission, when they heard about the central European states’ decision to join the South Stream project of Gazprom?" Szijjarto said, adding that the European Union torpedoed the South Stream project.
"That is why we are openly saying that we want to have practical and effective cooperation with Russia," Szijjarto explained.
The Nord Stream 2 project is a joint venture of Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany to deliver Russian gas to European consumers.