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EU energy strategy to be in focus at February summit

The European Union's energy strategy will be the most important topic at a summit of member states' leaders in February, during the period Hungary has the revolving EU presidency, National Development Minister Tamás Fellegi said.

For the first time, a meeting of the European Council, the forum for heads of state and heads of government from EU member states, will deal expressly with policy for a specific area, Fellegi said. The EU's energy strategy, which prioritizes energy efficiency, the EU's external connections in energy affairs, innovation and research, the unified marked and questions of consumer protection, will be in the focus at the meeting, he added.

It will not be enough for member states to agree on a strategic directive: of decisive importance will be questions of financing too, Fellegi said.

Fellegi was speaking after a meeting of the energy section of the European Union's Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council. Friday was the first meeting of the section at which Fellegi chaired.

Commenting on the meeting, Fellegi said EU member states were not in agreement on the question of whether mandatory benchmarks ought to be set for improving energy efficiency. Most are of the view that this ought to remain in the national scope of influence, he added. There are also big differences between member states on the rate of improvement and the base period, he said.

Everyone was in agreement that renovating public buildings to make them more energy efficient has to be among the main goals, Fellegi said.

The ministers at the meeting agreed that energy security ought to be a topic of discussion at a meeting with member states together with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus in May, Fellegi said. It is inevitable that the topic will come up at the meeting, but exactly in what form will depend on the EU summit in February, he added.

Answering a question, Fellegi said a recent meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had offered an opportunity for cordial and open negotiations during which critical questions, without exception, could be put on the table. The sides established the tempo, topics and directions for these questions, he added. (MTI – Econews)