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Viktor Orban speaking to Kossuth Radio. Screenshot.

EU Climate policy should not burden Eastern Europe says Orban

From Hungary’s perspective the upcoming European Union summit in Brussels will be about “not allowing the Brussels bureaucrats to make poor people and the poor member states bear the costs of the fight against climate change”, said Prime Minister Viktor Orban 

Published: December 16, 2019, 7:56 am

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    The European Council aims at convincing all EU member states to adopt a joint position to make Europe’s economy carbon-free by 2050, Orban explained ahead of the summit.

    “We all know that climate change is a big problem and to fight against it is a huge undertaking which costs an enormous amount of money. We need to get clear financial guarantees and the talks will centre on the details of those guarantees,” the prime minister added. Hungary wants the European economy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and his country is ready to sign an agreement on this goal, Orban said.

    The future of nuclear energy, another aspect of the issues, will also be discussed, he said. There can be no carbon-free economy in Europe without nuclear energy, Orban said. Hungary would like to see Brussels “once and for all” put aside all concerns regarding nuclear energy and stop criticising countries like Hungary that produce nuclear energy.

    Orban said there was now an opportunity to draft rules that encourage the use of nuclear energy. Furthermore, the bloc could also approve rules that will ensure that climate protection does not lead to increases in fuel and food prices, he added.

    Orban, in a video posted on his Facebook page on Friday, declared his participation in discussions at the European Union summit in Brussels a success, saying that there was now a chance to ensure that poorer EU countries in the east and their citizens would not be made to bear the costs of fighting climate change.

    “We succeeded because we’ve created a chance to ensure that future climate protection regulations will be such that it won’t be the poorer countries and people who will have to bear the costs of the fight against climate change,” the prime minister said after the summit.

    Orban called Hungary a “climate champion”, arguing that it was among the member states that have delivered the biggest reductions in CO2 emissions since 1990.

    “We know how important the fight against climate change is, but we Hungarians also know that it comes at a price,” said. “And it’s a steep price because this is an expensive matter.”

    The prime minister said discussions were about “who will foot the bill” for climate action. EU leaders had agreed that the bloc’s new climate action rules would not result in countries lagging behind the more prosperous member states because they do not have sufficient funds.

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