Danube Strategy: The region is looking for common solutions to energy challenges
The first Annual Stakeholder Seminar of the EUSDR (EU Strategy for the Danube Region) Energy Priority Area, coordinated by Hungary and the Czech Republic, took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary on May 31, 2012.
The primary goal of the Seminar was to present the results of the Danube Region Gas Market Model Study to the economic, professional, and scientific partners of the Danube Region Strategy.
More than a hundred participants attended the conference, being welcomed by Government Commissioner for the Danube Region Strategy Mr Balázs MEDGYESY as well as high-ranking representatives of the European Commission’s Regional Policy and Energy DGs, and the Director of the Energy Community Mr Slavtcho NEYKOV.
Pál Kovács, Anita Orbán (photo: Károly Árvai)
In her opening remarks, Ambassador-at-Large, Priority Area Coordinator Ms Anita ORBÁN, named the Study which was conducted by the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research for the initiation of the EUSDR Energy Priority Area as first and significant result of the regional cooperation. The Study generated serious interest at both regional and EU levels.
Ms ORBÁN outlined that the Danube Region is facing common challenges and difficulties in the area of energy as well. High energy prices, fragmented energy markets, and problems regarding security of supply showed their negative effects several times during the recent year’s gas crises. Ms ORBÁN stressed that the Danube Strategy offers an adequate framework to find coordinated regional solutions to all these problems.
In the field of energy, the study on gas market is the first manifestation of this cooperation, creating an opportunity for the countries of the Region to have a common – and therefore powerful – position on the development of energy infrastructure to be carried out in the future. This is a particularly topical issue in light of the current legislative debate on energy infrastructure priorities in the European Union.
photo: Károly Árvai
The keynote speeches were held by Mr Pál KOVÁCS Hungarian Minister of State responsible for Climate Change and Energy issues, Mr Jiri GEORGIEV Deputy State Secretary for EU Affairs (Czech Republic) and Mr Alen LEVERIC Croatian Assistant Minister of Economy.
Mr Pál KOVÁCS outlined Hungary’s position on the subject of the conference. He emphasised – among others – that the creation of the missing energy interconnections would contribute to the creation of a single European energy market and to the strengthening of solidarity among Member States. As he said, the aim of the energy infrastructure development is to improve the security of supply and at the same time to decrease energy prices.
In his speech, Mr Jiří GEORGIEV outlined that the Danube Strategy is a unique opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation in the area of energy as well. He claimed that the Strategy could also contribute to the application of the principles of the Single Market in the energy market as well. Mr Alen LEVERIC gave an overview on the energy strategy of Croatia, highlighting the opportunities which the building of the North-South Energy Corridor could provide.
photo: Károly Árvai
The Danube Region Gas Market Model elaborated by the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research was presented by the Director of the Institute, Mr Péter KADERJÁK. He pointed out that the EU realised the problems resulting from the lack of a single European energy market, this recognition should be advantageous for the countries of the Danube Region.
He explained that in addition to building cross-border pipelines, making better use of storage capacities is also necessary for improving the security of supply in the region. The most efficient coordination of the capacity utilisation can be reached at a regional level thus, the Study contains concrete recommendations on this issue as well.
Panel II of the conference was dedicated to energy projects such as the Hungary–Slovakia the Romania – Bulgaria interconnector projects, the Gas Ring Concept or the Krk LNG project.