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Jan 22, 2020

Finance Minister: EU must not impose disproportionate climate strategy costs

Hungary agrees with the EU’s climate goals but it must be made clear that they must not lead to increases in energy and food prices and consumers should not be made to bear its additional costs.

The finance minister has stated that one of the most important aspects when devising the European Union’s climate strategy is that it must not impose disproportionate costs and burdens on any member state.

Mihály Varga told an Ecofin meeting that Hungary agrees with the EU’s climate goals but it must be made clear that they must not lead to increases in energy and food prices and consumers should not be made to bear its additional costs.

The minister highlighted the role of the EU’s new Just Transition Fund in ensuring that disadvantaged regions are given sufficient help in transitioning to carbon neutrality.

According to MTI, the minister criticized the European Commission’s proposed allocation of funds to member states under which Hungary stands to receive only 1.2 percent of the funding available.

Minister Varga said the EU should work out a customized incentive scheme for each member state when it comes to transitioning to clean energy, arguing that they all had different energy mixes. Hungary, for instance, would substitute its coal-fired power plants with the use of natural gas.

The minster said the EU should place greater emphasis on the individual characteristics of member states, pointing out that since the majority of Hungarians own their homes, the funding the bloc plans to give to businesses would be of little help when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of homes.

Concerning the taxation of the digital economy, Minister Varga told the council that it was important that digital businesses could be taxed as if they operated with a traditional business model.

Photo credit: vg.hu