FT: Hungary Threatened Bulgaria With Schengen Veto Due To The Tax On Russian Gas

Hungary threatened on Monday to block Bulgaria's bid to join the Schengen area if fees for the transfer of Russian gas are not removed.

The Financial Times reports this, citing three sources familiar with the discussions (noting that the Hungarian authorities have not commented officially).

The publication is from Tuesday, December 11, a day after GERB and "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" announced that they are waiving the tax of BGN 20 per megawatt hour for gas transmission through Bulgaria.

The Financial Times called the threat "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's latest move to undermine EU consensus ahead of this week's summit of EU leaders, at which he vowed to block financial and political support for Ukraine."

"Here we go again, our old friend Orban," said a diplomat with direct knowledge of the situation. "They (Hungarians) connect all the problems and block them all," said a second person.

"It's hard to know exactly what Orban wants from all this," said a third EU diplomat involved in discussions with the Hungarians this week. "The only conclusion ... is that he decided now was the time to block everything possible."

Considered the closest EU and NATO leader to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has criticized the Bulgarian tax, which affects one of the last remaining routes for Russian gas into the EU after Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

When it announced the introduction of the tax, which according to Bulgarian representatives was designed to push the Russians out of the European market, Sofia imposed it on the Russian energy giant Gazprom. However, Hungary and Serbia opposed it, saying their imports were at...

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