The outcomes of the recently held Durban UN climate change conference were discussed by the Environment Council on 19 December 2011 in Brussels. At the meeting of ministers, Hungary was represented by Deputy State Secretary for European Union and International Affairs, Tamás Iván Kovács.

Tamás Iván Kovács made it clear that the series of negotiations held under the auspices of the UN remained a highly significant international forum in climate protection, however, the Durban Agreement can only be considered as a limited success. Among its major deficiencies he mentioned the fact that the Agreement merely offered a basis for further negotiation, making the process slow, despite the fact that numerous countries were already hard hit by the unfavourable impacts of climate change.

In the near future the most important duty of the European Union would be the establishment of a uniform position in the issues still open, including several pivotal points to decide, which required intensive work, primarily at a policy level, the Deputy State Secretary stressed. From among the issues discussed, Hungary was particularly affected by the future of the Kyoto Protocol, carbon market resilience, climate change financing and the status of transitional economies.

During an informal lunch, the participants reviewed the environmental and climate policy elements of multiannual financial framework of the European Union to start from 2014. According to the plans, the amount to be used for climate policy purposes will increase significantly, with simultaneous widening in scope of participants involved in financing, primarily through the planned private sector involvement.

Tamás Iván Kovács welcomed the idea, however, in his contribution he indicated that the current proposal for the new financial framework might cause difficulty for less developed countries. The Deputy State Secretary highlighted the problem of increasing energy efficiency in buildings, which was difficult to finance through traditional financial instruments, especially in recently acceded countries.

For the member states of the Central European region the inclusion of the Cohesion Fund into financing through aid restructuring would be a useful innovation. The supported countries' own contributions could be covered from the sale of the quotas allocated under the Effort Sharing Decision, which regulates the creation of a low-carbon economy in non-industrial sectors. This solution would cut the European Union's budgetary burdens, while less developed countries would enjoy higher independence in financing the creation of a low-carbon economy, Kovács added.

The agenda was closed by a presentation of the relevant policy working programme of the Danish Presidency, the next one in turn in the rotating presidency scheme of the European Union. In the morning before the meeting, Tamás Iván Kovács met Danish Deputy State Secretary for Climate Change and Energy, Morten Baek and had talks with him on the Low-Carbon Roadmap 2050.

(Ministry of National Development , Department of Communication)