European Commission: It's fake news that Von der Leyen proposed that Ukraine shut down Friendship pipeline towards Hungary
May 18. 2023. – 06:36 AM
This is a fake news. President Von der Leyen has never been in contact with the CEO mentioned in the articles and has never proposed any action on the Friendship pipeline to anyone
- the European Commission's Representation in Hungary wrote to Telex in response to the question on whether Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen had indeed advised the Ukrainians to shut down the Friendship pipeline towards Hungary. President Von der Leyen's own press office sent an almost verbatim reply: 'President von der Leyen has never made such a recommendation regarding the Friendship pipeline and has never been in contact with anyone on this issue'.
The background to the case is that on Wednesday morning, first Index, then several other Hungarian pro-government newspapers (Origo, Magyar Nemzet) and later the national news agency MTI, which is part of the public media, published the claim that European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen is recommending that the Ukrainians shut down the Friendship pipeline towards Hungary. Index also claimed that the Hungarian oil company, MOL isn't willing to negotiate directly with Ukraine's Ukrtransnafta, saying that the Ukrainian pipeline network's operator has blackmailed the Hungarian oil company.
In the afternoon, Tamás Deutsch, the leader of Fidesz' EP group, also joined the government's communication campaign, saying that Ursula Von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, should immediately clarify that she had indeed asked the Ukrainians to stop oil supplies on the Friendship pipeline in order to exert political pressure on Hungary.
We contacted the EC's representation in Budapest during the day and received the above-quoted reply in the evening. In the meantime, a MOL employee, who asked not to be named, also refuted the allegation published by the pro government newspapers that the company was being blackmailed.
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