Southeast European countries still rely heavily on coal. Most plants are old and extremely polluting: the region is home to seven of the ten most polluting coal-fired power stations in Europe. Public health costs from air pollution from coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans add up to 8.5 EUR billion per year. Because such air pollution is transboundary, most of these damages are actually borne by EU citizens.

WesternBalkans smallDespite this, countries of Southeastern Europe plan to add about 6 GW of new coal power capacity by 2030, largely financed by Chinese investors. At the same time, most of these countries strive to join the EU between 2020 and 2030. This poses a great opportunity and responsibility for the EU to help steer the energy transition to 100% sustainable renewable energy in this region. The European Commission, European banks as well as Member States provide significant development funding to the region. The messages they send and the way this money is spent test the EU’s climate and energy leadership in its closest neighbourhood.

The Energy Union framework provides a number of opportunities for the EU to enable a just transition to 100% sustainable renewable energy in the region. This shift can be sped up by advancing the enlargement process and the ongo­ing reform of the Energy Community Treaty on energy-related cooperation with the region, as well as by improving countries’ nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement.

The region offers a huge untapped potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency development. In fact, the energy efficiency potential is the largest in Europe. Efforts have to be made to ensure implementation, since significant financing is available but often not fully used.

All these opportunities must not be missed if the EU and these South Eastern countries want to ensure the well-being and prosperity of European citizens.Together with partners, CAN Europe works to support anti-coal campaigners accross Southeast Europe. We advocate for a just transition to 100% sustainable energy by 2050, and ambitious climate action in the region.

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Learn more

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Useful South East Europe Resources

Here you find a range of useful external South East Europe climate and energy resources. Read more

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The Energy Community

The Energy Community is an intergovernmental organization dealing with energy policy in Southeast Europe and the Black Sea region. Read More 

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All countries of Southeast Europe are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and have signed up to the Paris Agreement. Becuase they all seek to join the EU well before 2030, their climate pledges should be in line with the EU’s target - currently set to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Read More 

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CAN Europe supports regional NGOs working on promoting the solutions for South East Europe’s energy future: energy efficiency and 100% sustainable renewables. We are part of South East Europe Sustainable Energy Partnership (SEE SEP), a group of 18 NGOs who developed an energy model for 7 countries of Southeast Euope and the region as a whole. Read More

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In 2003, at the Thessaloniki Summit, the European leaders com­mitted to help the integration of the remain­ing Southeast European states into the EU. The promised EU membership is highly conditional – it is only granted if countries meet all economic and political crite­ria, and align their policies with the EU, including the ones on energy, climate and environment. Read More

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CAN Europe's interactive Coal Map of Europe gives an overview of the role of coal in our electricity system. Read More

 

Contact

Viktor

Viktor Berishaj in Brussels
Energy Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe
viktor /at/ caneurope.org
+32 4714 38 442

stevan

Stevan Vujasinović in Belgrade
Communications Coordinator for Southeast Europe
stevan /at/ caneurope.org
+381 63 390 218

Latest Publications on South East Europe

  • The Western Balkans must match the EU's new 2030 GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55%

    The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed the new target in her state of the (European) Union address at the European Parliament yesterday. She said “the Western Balkans are the European Union” and called the region “a part of Europe, and not a stopover on the Silk Road”.
  • Coal is out. Are the Western Balkans in?

    Are EU member-states in Southeast Europe ready for timely and just transition beyond coal? For the Western Balkans, membership hopefuls, the question is how much longer can public subsidies and Chinese loans keep coal zombie alive at growing cost to health, livelihoods, and the environment?
  • Study: New links between air pollution and COVID19 rates are a lesson for healthy recovery in air-pollution hotspots like Western Balkans

    More links between air pollution and Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths are discovered by the study of 355 municipalities in the Netherlands conducted by the IZA Institute of Labour Economics(1). Other studies found that long term exposure to PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and sulphur dioxide (SO₂) can reduce lung function(2) and cause respiratory illness(3).
  • Delays to Balkan energy transition cost more

    ▶️ One Balkan country clocks its first coal-free days,▶️ Another is rushing in the opposite direction, reviving shelved projects for a new coal plant.▶️ 2-speed energy transition in the Western Balkans,▶️ but delaying just transition beyond coal costs more.  Read the latest news and stories from the region's journey beyond coal. Delays to Balkan energy transition cost more Europe Beyond Coal unites civil society groups across our continent in working towards a swift and just transition away from coal-fired electricity and towards sustainable, renewable energy… Go to this presentation here   Read the previous issue: Make-or-Break Time for Balkan Green Agenda 
See All: South East Europe