At the EU Leaders’ Summit, the debate over energy heats up.

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At the EU Leaders’ Summit, the debate over energy heats up.

As the rising cost of energy frayed tempers at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and other eastern European leaders mocked the EU’s objective to attain net zero carbon emissions.

The right-wing leader made the remarks as he came for a conference of EU leaders, when former communist bloc countries were also under fire for Poland’s recent violation of EU rules.

The Hungarian view on the EU’s ambition to attain carbon neutrality by 2050 is “quite clear…. This strategy increases energy prices,” Orban added.

As he came for the meetings, Orban claimed that these prices are already “barely manageable,” and that if they continue to climb, “it will kill the European middle class.”

Orban claimed the idea was “toxic” to European democracy and that it needed to be scrapped and “totally rethought.”

According to diplomats, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is backed by Orban, refused to sign the summit’s energy conclusions because he wanted fresh language on the EU’s flagship carbon emissions system, which he claims is being manipulated.

The EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), the world’s largest carbon market, lies at the heart of the bloc’s greening efforts.

It is predicated on the premise that industry pays for the right to pollute, and some member states are opposed to it being expanded to include road transportation and domestic heating.

Furthermore, ETS prices have more than doubled in the last year, prompting the EU’s executive to order authorities to investigate the increase.

The debate over energy prices paled in comparison to an even bigger battle over Warsaw’s disobedience of EU law over national regulations, which some worry could lead to Poland’s withdrawal from the EU.

Other countries wanted to make points on energy as well, with Spain asking for a comprehensive reform of the EU’s energy market and Germany advising caution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the rise in energy prices must be “clearly differentiated” from the EU’s climate plan.

“I believe we should proceed with caution.”

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