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By the end of 2022, municipalities in Hungary were facing a crisis beyond compare, resulting from the persistent rise in energy prices, the prolonged inflation, and the international market uncertainties caused by the Russian aggression. From one month to the next, Hungarian municipalities encountered seemingly unmanageable extra costs, which not only put their budgets at risk, but also the provision of the most basic public services for which they were responsible. As the situation has influenced everyone, irrespective of their worldview or party affiliation, it has become clear that finding a solution would also require broad cooperation and joint professional work, free of political interests.

At the initiative of the Hungarian Association of Local Governments, the Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities and the Association of Budapest Local Governments, the Equilibrium Institute, Hungary’s independent think tank, convened a series of professional consultations under the name of National Energy Roundtable, in order to develop common solutions to common challenges.  Seeing the potential in further cooperation, the Equilibrium Institute has decided to continue working with municipalities in the field of energy. In autumn 2023, the Institute is visiting fifteen county seats to discuss key energy challenges with decision-makers from local and surrounding municipalities. As a forward-thinking and solution-oriented organisation, the Equilibrium Institute would like to focus on solutions, without debating the importance of discussing problems. To this end, on the one hand, the colleagues of the Institute have developed the set of proposals below, which they will discuss with local decision-makers at each location. On the other hand, the Equilibrium Institute has requested the input of practice-oriented external experts, who will accompany the Institute to each site and provide their expertise in presenting concrete solutions for reducing energy use and shifting away from fossil fuels.

The full policy paper is available here.