Study Visit an Expert Meeting: report from the Budapest meeting

Energy prices and energy poverty in Eastern Europe: Realities and Perspectives

Metropolitan Research Institute, Habitat for Humanity Hungary, FEANTSA and Habitat for Humanity International joined powers to organize a study visit and expert meeting in Budapestto better understand the state of play of the possible adverse effects of energy efficiency measures and the energy poverty problems in Central and Eastern Europe in 2022, and how likely it is to be impacted by current European legislation plans and energy prices increase.

Study Visit

The event started on July 6 with an extensive study visit mostly in the 8th district of Budapest city. The group first visited an EU-funded (Horizon 2020) RenoPont, a one-stop-shop service for residents planning energy renovation, further continued with a tour of a social housing building renovated by the 8th district of Budapest, and with a presentation and discussion at the Family and Child Welfare Service Debt Management and Housing Group of the 8th district of Budapest followed by the meeting with the housing manager from the 8th district. The program ended with another presentation and discussion led by Fanni Tóth and Gergely Schum on social housing and energy projects at the district level.

Expert meeting: Exchange of views on energy prices & energy poverty in Eastern Europe

On July 7, the program continued in the format of an expert meeting consisting of two presentation sessions and one panel discussion:

Session 1: European perspectives

  • Silvia Rezessy, policy officer at DG ENER, European Commission:
    Presentation of the Fit for 55 & its expected impact on energy poor
  • Hanna Szemző, Metropolitan Research Institute:
    Overview of the possible social impact of increasing energy efficiency standards in the region
  • Ludmila Perunska and Veronika Kiss, Habitat for Humanity International – Europe and the Middle East (HFHI EME):
    Energy poverty in CEE: challenges & best practices for multi apartment buildings – REELIH and ComAct project

In session 1, Ludmila Perunska and Veronika Kiss presented the context of the residential building stock in Central and Eastern Europe and presented the two project, implemented by Habitat for Humanity International – Europe and the Middle East, tackling energy poverty in this region – REELIH and ComAct.

Session 2: The social impact of energy prices increases

  • Eszter Turai, Metropolitan Research Institute:
    Presentation of survey results on energy user behavior in CEE
  • Nora Feldmar, Habitat for Humanity Hungary:
    Energy poverty & solid fuels, state of play and potential tools for analysis
  • Anna Zsofia Bajomi, Habitat for Humanity Hungary
    and Jakub Sokolowski, Institute for Structural Research:
    Presentation of the results of the MEMO model, showing the
    impacts of a carbon tax on the energy costs of households

Panel discussion: What policies to mitigate the social impact?

  • Silvia Rezessy, policy officer at DG ENER, European Commission
  • Vlasis Oikonomou, Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy (IEECP)
  • Jakub Sokołowski, Institute for Structural Research
  • Gábor Erőss, Deputy Mayor of 8th district in Budapest
  • Poland researcher – working on energy poverty and energy prices

The event was concluded by a closing session on key takeaways, with a promising message that

“Through establishing combination of building regulations and pricing mechanisms, and through providing the right type and scale of support, the EU can include low-income households in the energy transition, empowering them to deploy effective and structural solutions that will improve their quality of life and help them move away from dependence on imported fossil fuels while contributing to reducing GHG emissions from their homes”

Check out the full report with discussion summaries and event outcomes here.

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