Focus on Hungary: the Energy Union tour
The next leg of the Energy Union tour started on 29 May 2017 in Hungary. European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič met citizens and discussed the EU's plan to help provide Europe with secure, affordable and clean energy.
Ahead of the visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said:
Hungary is doing really well reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and it reached its 2020 target for renewable energy already in 2015. It is the right of every Member State to determine its own energy mix. At the same time cooperation at a regional level can substantially contribute to ensuring secure energy supplies and energy prices that are affordable for households and for businesses. Boosting more efficient energy use, creating competitive markets and innovation are key in this respect.
Vice-President Šefčovič will meet the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, Minister for Foreign Affairs and TradeMr Péter Szijjártó and Minister for Energy, András Aradszky. The focus of their discussions will be on the Clean Energy for All Europeans package published last November and in particular on the Energy Union's governance and national energy and climate plans. The need to further connect Hungary's electricity grids to the networks of neighbouring countries and ways of lowering the costs of the energy transition in Europe will also be high on the agenda. The Vice-President will witness the signature by Hungary and Croatia of a memorandum of understanding on building infrastructure to create bi-directional natural gas flow between the two countries. Vice-President Šefčovič will meet with energy stakeholders to discuss Hungary's role in the European energy transition and the benefits that a fully functioning EU internal energy market can bring to Hungarian citizens and businesses. During his visit Vice-President will also meet with NGOs to discuss Energy Union policy and projects.
Hungary's wholesale electricity market has been coupled with those of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania since 2014 and its electricity system is directly connected with all of its neighbours except Slovenia. However, in practice it tends to import electricity from Slovakia, Ukraine and the Balkan countries and, due to limitations on the amount of electricity that can be generated in Hungary itself, this can lead to raised prices. To boost the cross-border flow of electricity and reduce costs for consumers, three projects are currently underway that will strengthen Hungary's electricity connections with its neighbours. These have been identified by the European Commission as Projects of Common Interest (PCIs), considered essential for providing Europe with affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Moreover, currently Hungary imports almost all its gas from one country. As part of initiatives to diversify its sources of gas and improve security of supply, two gas connectors that link Hungary with Romania and Slovakia have been built with the help of EU funding. During the Vice-President's visit, a memorandum of understanding on building infrastructure to create a natural gas reverse flow between Hungary and Croatia was signed by the two countries.
Hungary is on track to meet all of its 2020 targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although its transport sector needs to make greater efforts to source more energy from renewables.