he Hungarian Presidency intends to continue its work in the Council, which started with the aim to maintain nuclear security, Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, stressed at the European Parliament’s plenary meeting on 23 March, in Brussels.
Referring to the natural disaster in Japan, the State Minister added that the European Union must continue to provide humanitarian assistance and technical support, to the insular country.
The State Minister conveyed her condolences to the people of Japan, who were hit by an earthquake and a subsequent tsunami on 11 March. Japan are now faced with an emergency situation around the nuclear power plant, in Fukushima. On the day of the earthquake, the European Council invited the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, to organise offers of assistance, Ms Győri reminded MEPs, who also thanked Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, and High Representative, Catherine Ashton, for “swift, comprehensive and well-coordinated response to the disaster.”
The State Minister spoke of the EU’s respondant to the disaster, by activating its Civil Protection Mechanism and immediately began to organise offers of assistance and deployed the EU Civil Protection Team in Japan. Ms Győri was satisfied to say that Member States have made generous offers.
According to the State Minister, “The macro-economic impact of the Japan crisis will also need to be followed up by the Council”. EU finance ministers held a preliminary debate in the issue at their latest meeting, on 15 March.
At the Parliament’s plenary meeting, Enikő Győri stressed that although the EU Member States are not at risk of the radiation pollution from Fukushima, safety criteria at European nuclear plants, must be reviewed, and revised. The State Minister said that although the incidents in Japan were caused by external circumstances, “There are definite lessons learned from the accident.”
The State Minister emphasised that EU Member States are ready to subject their nuclear power plants to examinations. At an extraordinary meeting on 21 March, organized by the Hungarian Presidency, ministers for energy affairs adopted conclusions over the execution of stress tests. The criteria system of the European Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group (ENSREG), is used to scrutinise nuclear facilities operating in the EU and neighbouring countries. Ms Győri called for the soonest possible specification of the methodology of these tests.
The State Minister pointed out that the credibility of stress tests depends on the transparency of the criteria system, and the examination of results. “We should not give the impression that the issue of nuclear safety is being addressed piecemeal or only now. It is important to recall that there has been a legally binding framework in place in Europe for over 25 years”, Ms Győri said.
Minister for National Development, Tamás Fellegi, informed in a letter Herman Van Rompuy, about the Energy Council’s decisions ahead of the EU summit, which will take place on 24-25 March. It will discuss the consequences of the Fukushima accident and related tasks. Speaking at the Parliament’s plenary meeting, Enikő Győri confirmed that the Hungarian Presidency is ready to continue its work in the Council.