On Thursday, the European Commission approved Hungary’s revised recovery plan for a more affordable, secure, and sustainable energy supply, including a EUR 4.6 billion REPowerEU chapter. The plan is now worth EUR 10.4 billion, of which EUR 6.5 billion is in the form of grants and EUR 3.9 billion in the form of loans. This amount covers 67 reforms and 47 investments.
According to the statement, the 27 “super milestones” to ensure the protection of the EU’s financial interests and to strengthen judicial independence, remain unchanged in the revised plan. This means that no disbursement following a payment request under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is possible until Hungary has satisfactorily implemented these “super-milestones.”
In justifying the approval, the Commission said that
Hungary’s revised plan puts a strong emphasis on green transition, allocating 67.1% of available funds to measures supporting climate objectives.
Many of the varied measures in the REPowerEU chapter focus on strengthening the electricity sector by accelerating the deployment and use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency to ensure that the Hungarian energy system meets the challenges of the future. Reforms and investments are mutually reinforcing and are expected to help create a flexible electricity market with a high share of renewables. This will help Hungary reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, the statement reads.
They also noted that
the “digital ambitions” in the revised plan “remain high,” accounting for 29.1% of the plan’s total allocation.
The REPowerEU chapter also includes measures to contribute to the digital transition. These cover support for digital developments to energy system operators, for additional smart meters, digital solutions at energy companies to improve the security of electricity supply and the operational efficiency of the electricity system, and for the development of digital learning materials for green skills.
The social dimension remains important in the revised plan. In addition to the major reforms and investments included in the original plan, a number of additional measures are aimed at improving the resilience of society, they stressed. The REPowerEU chapter also includes support for vulnerable households for energy renovation, and training the current and future workforce to acquire green skills. The revised plan will also make early childhood education services more accessible by creating additional new daycare centers.
The Council has four weeks to approve the Commission’s assessment.
Following the Council’s approval, Hungary will receive EUR 0.9 billion in pre-financing of the REPowerEU funds.
The European Commission will then authorize regular disbursements based on the satisfactory completion of the reforms to ensure the protection of the Union’s financial interests, and to strengthen judicial independence, as translated into 27 “super milestones,” the statement concludes.
Via MTI, Featured image: Facebook/Facebook/European Commission