Summary: European Green Perspectives


Summary: European Green Perspectives

Republikon Intézet


Márton Schlanger, a researcher at the Republikon Institute, gave a short presentation before the conference on the Hungarians' attitude towards the green worldview and thinking. The measurements show that Hungarians do not explicitly consider a green worldview to be of primary importance, but it is the worldview most often chosen as a secondary worldview. It also shows that a significant proportion of voters with a green worldview are opposition or undecided voters. A significant proportion of Hungarians think that climate change is one of the major problems in Hungary at the moment, but if another problem comes up, such as epidemics or unemployment, environmental problems are pushed into the background.

International panel:

Frederika Klocova of the Czech Institute for Politics Society pointed out that in the Czech Republic, green issues are currently not considered as important as migration or the Russian-Ukrainian war, and that a part of society is also sceptical about green issues. He believes that the Green Deal will feature in the EU parliamentary elections, but will not be of great importance in the vote. He concluded by saying that there is a chance for change in the Czech Republic, where people are installing more and more solar panels because of the rising cost of energy.

Filip Bajtos of the Bratislava Policy Institute said that until recent years, green policy has not been an important topic among Slovak politicians. But by 2023, there was a consensus among governing party and opposition politicians that money should be spent on going green. This process was stalled when Robert Fico came to power, saying that his party did not consider green policies important. He also showed in his presentation that Slovak people are not as interested in green issues as the European average. He went on to say that he believes that the V4 countries cannot form any united position at the moment, as the allies cannot speak with one voice because of the differences of opinion that currently divide the alliance.

Milosz Hodun, an expert from the Polish Polska Association, explained that the most pressing issue for Polish people on the issue of environmental protection is air quality, as it is a real problem in Poland. He went on to point out that in Poland the percentage of voters who are linked to mines and mining itself is very high, so this is an issue that the big parties are very afraid to tackle for fear of negative repercussions. Meanwhile, mining has reached the point where it is no longer economically viable. He further pointed out that there is currently a Green-friendly government, but as the coalition government is made up of 11 parties, it is not possible to make very radical changes to policies. In conclusion, he added that without the European Union, there would be no moves towards a green transition in Poland and that he believes this will be a hot topic in Polish politics during the current European Parliament elections.

Dóra Győrffy, university professor and economist, highlighted in her presentation that in the energy mix of Hungary, renewable energy sources are under-utilised in Europe in favour of fossil energy carriers, a significant part of which is imported from abroad. Hungary is only above the European average in solar power plants. It was also important to point out that Hungary does not have a ministry with a special focus on environmental protection and that the implementation of green policies in Hungary is therefore rather limited. He also mentioned that the Hungarian government is currently trying to turn Hungary into a major battery manufacturing power under the banner of green transition. He concluded by saying that domestic politics in Hungary are so active that green issues are not even on the agenda at the moment, with the exception of battery manufectoures.

Expert panel:

Lili Aschenbrenner Fridays For Future activist found it problematic that in our country it is difficult to raise awareness of climate issues, as the problem is not first locally in our country, but in Africa and South America, so people see it as distant. He went on to say that the media does not cover this issue enough either, as they always find another problem. He sees it as important to reduce the energy needs of individuals, beyond technological progress, citing the example of families not needing 2 or 3 cars, as some of these could be replaced by public transport. Looking to the future, he fears that the next elections to the European Parliament will not see a reduction in the proportion of green politicians.

Ámon Ada, head of the Climate and Environment Department at the Mayor's Office, was happy to start the discussion by pointing out that the UN and the EU are starting to get the message that something needs to be done about climate change, and as quickly and effectively as possible. He went on to stress that programmes implemented and under implementation in Hungary have only happened/are happening because the European Union has always obliged the respective Hungarian governments to do so.

Iván Bojár, the leader of 10 Million Trees, said it was important that an effective climate change response could only be achieved by changing the mentality of people themselves. He stressed the need to stop building new housing, as in Budapest and other cities there are many empty and unused apartments that could be renovated along green lines to protect the environment and the tranquillity of the place where people live. He did not see the current election as a major issue, as he believes that all politicians have almost the same green policies, but frame the problem differently.

Péter Kaderják, economist, university lecturer, head of the BME Zero Carbon Centre, said that the most important thing at the moment is to save energy and to encourage this, and he also stressed the importance of electrification. Personally, he believes that the use of electric cars can be a viable alternative and in doing so, he supports the battery industry. But he cannot agree with those who can only oppose electric cars but offer no other alternative. And looking to the future, he sees that the representation of green policy in Europe will now be reduced for a while.

Simon Gergely, Greenpeace's regional chemicals expert, did not see the EU's green policy direction as bright, as he saw several elements of the Green Deal being pulled out or relaxed by the Commission and Parliament. The biggest problem with battery factories, he said, is that the country has not been prepared for this industrial activity. At this point, he also pointed out that German standards should be introduced and adhered to in battery production in Hungary. Until these are implemented, battery factories can only be bad for Hungary. In closing, he sadly noted that the populist right has made the hostility of green policy a campaign issue, which he sees as bad for the environment.

 Eu Co Funded En

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.