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IEA praises Hungary for contribution to regional energy security

A review of Hungary's energy policies published on Friday by the International Energy Agency praised the country's contributions to regional energy security, but recommended that it do more to attract energy investments and improve energy efficiency in the years ahead.

"Hungary is well placed to improve regional energy security by catalyzing the development of closely integrated markets for electricity and natural gas," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in Budapest. "The IEA acknowledges the responsibility Hungary has shown in improving regional energy security and encourages it to carry on this work," he added, presenting the review.

The IEA recommended in the report that Hungary continue its work to raise the security of energy supply in the region, that the government finalize its stand on nuclear energy, and that an investor environment be established in which there are incentives to build energy infrastructure.

National Development Minister Tamas Fellegi said the recommendations were acceptable, answering a question. Fellegi said he understood the purely market-oriented approach of the agency, but added that the Hungarian government needed to consider some of the recommendations with a view to the country's potential and the solvency of its residents.

Fellegi noted that the government had approved Hungary's National Energy Strategy on Wednesday and Parliament was expected to decide on the plan in the autumn.

Tanaka said Hungary was meeting commitments for greenhouse gas emissions and noted further opportunities in the areas of biomass, district heating and building improvements.

"Although per-capita energy consumption in Hungary is well below the OECD average, considerable potential remains for improving energy efficiency across all sectors....The large existing building stock and the district heating system offer particularly significant opportunities and should be priority areas for improving energy efficiency," the OECD said.