June 23, 2024
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Hungary refused to join the European Wind Charter

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All EU countries except Hungary have signed a joint declaration to protect the European wind industry from “unfair trading practices” by Chinese manufacturers, Euractiv reports.

While European wind turbine manufacturers are not in a good position, Chinese manufacturers are getting stronger every year. Although no Chinese wind turbines have yet been installed in Europe, most EU Member States now fear that China could dominate the global market in the future. “While the wind power sector is historically an EU success story, it faces a set of challenges,” the charter reads. The two-page document refers to the wind power package put forward in October by the European Commission.

The 26 countries that signed the declaration pledged to “ensure a sufficient, robust and predictable pipeline for the deployment of wind energy (…) covering at least the period 2024-2026.” The ultimate goal is to “promote the production of high-quality wind turbines with high environmental, innovation, cybersecurity and labour standards,” by changing national auction systems for wind power capacity.

Wind power developers compete for electricity supply contracts on the price of the electricity they offer, and the cheapest bid usually wins. These competitions usually favour developers who buy cheaper turbines made in China, which is why the industry is lobbying hard to change the system. According to the charter, the EU will now opt for “well-designed, objective, transparent, non-discriminatory non-price pre-qualification or award criteria,” that favour European bidders.

In the context of Hungary being the only country not to have signed the declaration, Politico points out that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has previously said that the government “shall not accept any kind of external ideological pressure” and will always follow national interests.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has also previously commented on economic cooperation with China, stressing that “the entire European economic community should choose the path of civilized cooperation with the People’s Republic of China instead of hostility.” Chinese investment in Hungary, such as the battery factory in Debrecen (eastern Hungary), is a matter of concern for the European Commission, and as Politico indicates, the government’s refusal to sign the declaration is also a clear refusal to loosen its relations with China.

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