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Covid disease and energy crisis teach independence

Due to the epidemiological situation, the shortage of energy, raw materials and goods threatens the world and European economies. Due to a general lack of supply, self-sufficiency and sovereignty became issues of increasing importance. Strategic autonomy and sovereignty to be established in the field of energy and agriculture were also high on the agenda of discussions between the Hungarian Prime Minister and the French President. According to a comprehensive survey by the Institute for Climate Action and the End of the Century of 30,000 people and 30 countries, nearly 90% of European citizens believe it is important that countries do not need strategic resources and goods such as water, land, food or energy – read the Climate Policy Institute website.

Pandemic and self-sufficiency

The pandemic has shown that natural disasters and epidemics can cause not only public health but also economic and social crises. With restrictions on production and the freedom of movement and trade in goods, countries’ economic performance has declined, and some of the world’s longest supply chains have collapsed. Thanks to COVID-19, instead of meeting external demand, countries have shifted their focus to serving their internal needs. Making supply chains more secure, resilient, and shortening has become a problem, but there have also been increasing views that countries need to enhance their self-sufficiency to be more resilient in the face of crises.

scarcity of supply

The situation is now exacerbated by the energy crisis and the general shortage of raw materials and goods. There is a short supply of various raw materials (eg wood, steel, magnesium, silicon), energy and energy carriers (electricity, fossils) as well as finished products (eg chips, car, adblue). In the Austrian and German media, the authorities provided information about what residents should do in the event of a power outage. Tens of thousands of families in Romania have been left without heating or hot water due to rising natural gas prices. Many energy suppliers in Europe have gone bankrupt. Supply security has become one of the most important issues in life.

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Europe’s views on self-sufficiency

EU citizens also view the importance of sovereignty. An analysis conducted in collaboration with the End of the Century and the Climate Policy Institute shows that a majority of European voters agree on the importance of countries’ self-sufficiency. Extensive research in 27 EU member states, as well as in Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom, confirms that public security of supply and resource self-sufficiency is a national strategic interest.

Natural Resources

86% of respondents felt that it is somewhat important (43% very important, 43% more important) that each country should own and use natural resources such as land, water, raw materials and mineral resources for others. In Hungary, this percentage was up to 90% (very significant 61%, rather significant 29%).

Figure 1: How important is this in your opinion with regard to natural resources such as should land, water, raw materials and mineral resources be in the possession of each country and not be left to others? (%)Source: Climate Policy Institute

Strategic Commodities

The research also sought to answer the question of how important it was for Europeans to ensure that each country produced its own strategic goods, such as food or energy, so that they did not have to depend on it. For this question, 88% of respondents thought independence was somewhat important (47% very important, 41% more important). Compared to the EU average, people in Hungary were more inclined towards national independence in this area (very significant 69%, most important 24%).

Figure 2: How important is it for each country to produce strategic products such as food or energy and not force others? (%)Source: Climate Policy Institute

Hungarians are among the countries that consider the achievement of sovereignty most important in the questions asked.

The survey was conducted by the End of the Century Foundation using the CATI method from August 1 to September 15, 2021 in 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland, with a total of 30,000 randomly selected adults each. Country… Examine his mind.