BUDAPEST, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Russia is Hungary's most reliable partner in guaranteeing energy security, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto told media here on Wednesday on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin's scheduled visit to Hungary.
Hungary's energy security is endangered by more steps, he said, adding that South Stream pipeline project has been abandoned, and Croatia and Romania fail to meet European Union obligations to ensure reverse gas flows.
Szijjarto said that the expansion of Hungary's lone nuclear power plant, which Russia has been contracted to complete, would be ready to move forward shortly, as soon as the final European Union permit was received.
He briefed the media on the topics Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban would be discussing, citing energy, education, heavy industry, the pharmaceutical industry and agriculture among other things.
Szijjarto also noted that EU sanctions against Russia had cost the Hungarian economy 6.7 billion dollars in exports and had been a failure both politically and economically.
He underlined the need for pragmatic cooperation with Russia but reiterated Hungary's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The prolongation of sanctions needed to be debated on the highest level of the EU, he said.
Szijjarto termed the international political situation as better than it had been for many years regarding the Hungarian-Russian ties.
He acknowledged that Hungary had been criticized by "the Western world" for its pragmatic relationship with Russia but noted that the time had come when other forces in the Western world also wanted more pragmatism.
Putin is scheduled to arrive in Budapest at noon on Thursday.