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Central and Eastern European EU members already show signs of falling behind the bloc’s energy transition. The initial phase of a low-carbon energy transition in the CEE EU region does not fundamentally differ from former major changes in energy consumption patterns. Natural gas and nuclear energy’s penetration during the 1970s and 1980s show similar characteristics: technological and financial support was provided by an externally dominant player, the Soviet Union. Market signals for the transition were indirect, leading policy-makers to implement new energy consumption practices through administrative means.
Similarly to the Soviet era, market-based measures have been overshadowed by set targets and policies in the EU. CEE EU countries have, hesitantly, accepted the push to alter their energy mixes. However, change has been slow given the region’s path dependence and carbon lock-in. We compare historical energy transitions to the current low carbon energy transition in CEE EU countries by assessing the evolution of their energy mixes over the past five to six decades, their energy policies, and how this relates to the energy policies of the Soviet Union and the EU.
John Szabo is a PhD Candidate at the Central European University and a Junior Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economics. His interests lie at the intersection of energy, ideology, capitalism, and the state.
John Szabo, Junior Fellow, Institute of World Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
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