Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his country’s close relations with Russia are “common sense, reality-based policy”. In that same spirit of realpolitik, when his government revealed in 2014 that it had struck an agreement for Kremlin funding of a project to expand its sole nuclear power station, Orban’s finance minister justified the move as offering “the cheapest deal”. However, that may no longer be the case, as Hungary eyes lowered borrowing costs on international markets. As an added bonus, ditching the Russian financing may help smooth over some of the concerns in Brussels over the project. Market analysts, as well as the European Commission, have long questioned the fiscal wisdom and legality of the deal, which hands construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Paks plant to Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom. More recently, comments from Moscow officials have raised doubt over Russia’s willingness to live up to its side of the bargain to fund 80% of the project via a €10bn credit line, which Hungary has said it plans to tap if and when the European Commission authorises the deal.
Intellinews 20th June 2016 read more »