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Hungary’s Schengen Decision Tied to Bulgaria’s Gas Tax Repeal

In a move that underscores the interplay of politics and energy security in Europe, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has affirmed that a decision regarding Bulgaria’s entry into the Schengen Area is imminent. This decision is closely linked to Bulgaria’s recent moves to repeal a contentious transit tax on Russian gas.

Bulgaria’s Transit Tax and Its Repercussions

Earlier in October, Bulgaria had imposed a tax of $10.7 per megawatt-hour of gas transported through its territory. The Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, found this move scandalous and hostile. The tax was seen as a direct threat to gas transit to North Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, potentially destabilizing the energy supply to these countries.

Intervention by Hungarian Leadership

In response to this perceived threat, Orban engaged in dialogue with his former Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov. The Hungarian leader’s intervention came amid warnings from Budapest about the potential veto of Bulgaria’s Schengen entry. This diplomatic pressure appears to have influenced Bulgaria’s stance on the transit tax.

Repeal of the Tax and Hungary’s Reaction

In a recent development, Bulgaria decided to repeal the tax, a move that Borisov confirmed was a result of a cross-party agreement. This decision was viewed positively by Hungary, which sees the repeal as a significant step towards eliminating a threat to its energy security. The tax repeal and its implications for Bulgaria’s Schengen entry demonstrate how energy policies can become intertwined with broader geopolitical considerations.

Source : BNN