According to a cooperation agreement signed by the Hungarian innovation and technology ministry and Energy Community, an organization promoting energy cooperation between the European Union and its neighbors, a knowledge center supporting green economic solutions in the Western Balkans will be set up in Budapest.
Attila Steiner, State Secretary responsible for Energy and Climate Policy, said that besides promoting the transition to a circular economy, the center will work to integrate Hungarian expertise and innovations into energy-related initiatives in the Western Balkans. The cooperation will speed up the region’s EU integration, he said.
Steiner said the center will hold training and workshops while drawing on knowledge and best practices accumulated in Hungary, citing the implementation of Hungary’s Sustainable Support System (METÁR) as an example. The European Commission’s investment plan for the next seven years has allocated some 9 billion euros for the energy development of the region, mostly for investments in sustainable energy, waste management and wastewater management. Hungary sees the project as an opportunity to promote Hungarian investments in the region and to make local economy greener, he said.
Janez Kopač, Director of the Energy Community, said Western Balkan countries were at different stages of integrating the EU’s climate objectives. The center will develop concrete programs to help them, he said. Olivér Várhelyi, the EU commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, greeted the initiative in a video message, saying the knowledge center was closely connected to the European Commission’s investment and economic plans in the region.