Innovation ministry, Energy Community to set up centre promoting green transition in the Western Balkans

A knowledge centre supporting green economic solutions in the Western Balkans will be set up in Budapest, according to a cooperation agreement signed by the Hungarian innovation and technology ministry and Energy Community, an organisation promoting energy cooperation between the European Union and its neighbours.

Attila Steiner, the state secretary responsible for energy and climate policy, told a press conference on Monday that besides promoting the transition to circular economy, the centre will work to integrate Hungarian expertise and innovations into energy-related initiatives in the Western Balkans. The cooperation will speed up the region’s EU integration, he said.

The centre will hold trainings and workshops while drawing on knowledge and best practices accumulated in Hungary, Steiner said, citing the implementation of Hungary’s Sustainable Support System (METAR) as an example.

The European Commission’s investment plan for the next seven years has allocated some 9 billion euros for the energy development of the region, mostly for investments in sustainable energy, waste management and wastewater management, Steiner said. Hungary sees the project as an opportunity to promote Hungarian investments in the region and to make local economy greener, he said.

Janez Kopac, the director of the Energy Community, said Western Balkan countries were at different stages of integrating the EU’s climate objectives. The centre will develop concrete programmes to help them, he said.

Oliver Varhelyi, the EU commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, greeted the initiative in a video message, saying the knowledge centre was closely connected to the European Commission’s investment and economic plans in the region.

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