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EU agrees on 2050 carbon neutral aim

December 14th, 2019

A pro-government columnist thinks that Central Europe and Hungary may get less EU funding as a result of the EU’s 2050 carbon neutrality agreement. A liberal commentator is less pessimistic.

Magyar Nemzet’s László Szőcs suspects that the debates over the EU’s 2021-2027 budget will become increasingly fierce. The pro-government commentator recalls that at Thursday’s meeting, EU heads of states could not get any closer to a consensus on the EU budget guidelines. Szőcs likens the dispute over EU spending to a tough horse trade where all parties follow their own interests rather than principles. He believes that the main fault lines lie between Western and Eastern member states: while more developed EU countries want to spend less, Eastern states demand more funding. In a passing comment on the EU’s agreed plans to reach a carbon neutral state by 2050, Szőcs suggests that the environmental reforms will be costly, and so the deal will further decrease the funds that can be distributed among member states. Szőcs believes that carbon neutrality policies will harm the interests of Central European member states including Hungary.

On 444, Péter Magyari writes that the carbon neutrality policies necessitated by the EU’s 2050 objectives will cost little. In the liberal commentator’s calculation, 6 to 8 per cent of the total 100 billion EU budget will be spent directly on reaching carbon neutrality, while the rest of the funding will be secured from other resources including tax cuts and loans. Magyari suggests that the reforms may actually boost the economy, reduce the EU’s dependence on imported energy, and strengthen EU unity. Magyar thinks that PM Orbán joined the agreement on carbon neutrality after his earlier skeptical stance, in the hope of securing more funding for Hungary, perhaps even for the new blocks at the Paks nuclear plant, by blackmailing the EU.

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