The European Commission has concluded that Hungary's support for the Paks II nuclear project constitutes State Aid. The Commission has nonetheless approved the support on the basis of commitments made by the Hungarian government, which they say will limit market distortion.
Commenting on the decision, Hungarian MEP and Greens/EFA transparency spokesperson Benedek Jávor said:
"Despite the Hungarian government’s repeated denials, the European Commission has confirmed that the Paks II project will benefit from State Aid. By doing so, the Commission effectively concedes the underlying economic weakness of the project. We remain of the view that Hungary has not demonstrated that this project will avoid undue distortions of the Hungarian and regional energy markets and we will be strongly supportive of any appeal, as is apparently being considered by the Austrian government.
"With the Hungarian state to be the owner, financer, operator and regulator of the new nuclear power plant, there is a clear problem of concentration of power. Competition and public procurement rules must be applied evenly across the entire energy market, and the nuclear industry must be no exception. With nuclear representing more than a quarter of the EU's current energy production, this decision will severely undermine confidence that the Energy Union and the internal electricity market represent a level playing field."