FECER representatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Lithuania met in Budapest to better understand the issues and challenges of energy policy in Hungary, and to discuss developments in the composition of the European energy system.
This workshop, which was decided at the end of 2021, proved to be particularly topical in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The FECER members, who were meeting for the first time since the pandemic, visited the Paks nuclear power plant.
An additional extension until the 2040s of the operation of the four existing reactors built in the 1980s is under discussion, while the construction of two new reactors, also of Russian technology (Paks II), has started already in 2017.
The delegation held discussions with energy specialists from the country, including Dr. Attila HUGYECZ, Chief economic advisor for Paks II at the State Secretariat.
Hungary belongs to the countries, which resolutely opt for nuclear power in its energy mix: 45% of its domestic production and 33% of its electricity consumption come from the four Paks reactors.
On the other hand, 36% of its electricity production is still of carbonised origin (gas and coal) and the country imports 26% of the electricity needed. Furthermore, the geographical situation as a land-locked country and political decisions make Hungary’s position, caught between the demands of the European Union and its energy dependence on Russia, delicate, to say the least. » Should we choose the German route or the French route ? ”, was the rhetoric question asked by Attila HUGYECZ.
But perhaps there is an original way, outside the paths traced by the big countries? Moreover, the overwhelming acceptance of nuclear power by 73 % of its population, the recent extension of a gas supply contract with Russia by 15 years and the aversion to exploit its rivers for hydroelectric power give Hungary a unique position in Europe.
Discussions with the counterparts of the Hungarian trade unions in the electricity (EVDSZ), mining (BDSZ) and metallurgy (VSZSZ) sectors, as well as between members of the FECER, made it possible to deepen the contacts established during previous meetings at European level.
FECER thanks the Hungarian colleagues for their help in organising the workshop, for their hospitality as well as for the enriching and open discussions. Special thanks are conveyed to the EVDSZ trade union, the Paks NPP management and local trade unions as well as to Dr. Attila HUGYECZ.