Hungary supports the green transition of the Western Balkans economies within the framework of international cooperation

Attila Steiner, State Secretary for the Development of Circular Economy, Energy and Climate Policy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Janez Kopač, Director of the Vienna-based Energy Community Secretariat on the establishment of the Center of Excellence in Green Transition for the Western Balkans (CEGT) supporting the green transition of the economies in the Western Balkans region. The main tasks of the CEGT, established in Budapest as an organisational unit of the Western Balkans Green Center Nonprofit Llc. (WBGC) under the oversight of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, are to support the concept of the circular economy and to share expertise and innovation with Western Balkan countries to boost their green economy, energy and climate policy initiatives.

Attila Steiner stated that the partnership of a key international organization in the field of energy and climate protection policies confirms the achievements of the Hungarian government in the field of green economy transition and climate protection. In this context, he highlighted the development and adoption of the Climate and Nature Protection Action Plan and its objectives, the National Energy Strategy and the Renewable Energy Support System (METÁR). The available experience and knowledge represent a significant value that Hungary is ready to exchange with the countries of the Western Balkans, to support development of the region.

According to Janez Kopač, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, the signing of the Memorandum confirms the commitment of Hungary and the Energy Community to the clean energy and sustainable economy-based future of the Western Balkans.

At the signing event, Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, welcomed the initiative in a video message and praised the international climate policy activities of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology through the Western Balkans Green Center. He said the concept of the CEGT is closely linked to the European Commission's Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. He highlighted that the European Union will spend € 9 billion through pre-accession funds on the development of the region in the next seven years, including the areas of renewable energy, coal transition, waste and wastewater management. It is expected that joint efforts of the WBGC and the Energy Community will actively contribute to the development of the region, which will be realised in projects with significant economic and social impact.

Within the framework of international cooperation, the CEGT is established as part of the WBGC. It carries out its activities, reviewed by a regular Steering Committee process, through training, twinning programmes and strengthens the cooperation between experts, which will contribute to the European integration of the Western Balkans as well as the improvement of the business environment. The activities of the CEGT in a broader sense helps the preparation of investments by creating the enabling business environment. In this way, Hungary can also contribute to the promotion of a liveable environment, reduced emissions and green economic transition in the Western Balkans.

Attila Steiner also announced that the new Call for Applications of the project preparation and capacity building grant program supporting projects related to climate protection in the Western Balkan region (WBGC programme) will be launched in June with a budget of HUF 400 million, which will allow the WBGC to continue promoting the transition of the region and the Hungarian SME sector to a green economy.

The joint press release of the Energy Community, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the WBGC is available here, the video message sent by Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement on the establishment of the CEGT is available here.

Széchényi 2020