Western Balkans leaders committed to work on the energy transition at a Ministerial meeting that took place in Austria in early June. They established an inter-ministerial Climate Action Group, aimed at regional coordination of the national energy and climate plans. The group will be meeting twice per year and its agenda is yet to be filled.
On the legislative side, Energy Community Contracting Parties discussed the proposal to adopt Monitoring Mechanism Regulation. The proposal is tabled by the European Commission and is seen as the first step towards a more elaborate climate and energy governance in these regions. The proposal has seemingly been widely accepted by all Parties and should be adopted by the Energy Community Ministerial Council in October.
This decision should be confirmed at the upcoming coordination meeting of the broader Energy Community coordination group on 30 June. This meeting should also bring about further answers on the future of the Energy Community Treaty. Particularly important issues to be discussed include state aid and the infringement mechanism.
Finally, on 12 July, EU and Balkan leaders will meet in Trieste at the Western Balkans 6 Summit. This is an initiative led by several Member States, aimed at keeping the enlargement agenda alive and providing tangible benefits for citizens of the region (mostly a number of energy and transport projects). This year, the main discussion will be around a study evaluating hydropower potential across the region. The study is supposed to come up with a set of recommendation on which hydropower projects are the most appropriate to pursue, both in terms of retrofits and greenfield projects. The draft study already caused a number of environmental and climate concerns so regional NGOs will be following the outcomes closely.
By Dragana Mileusnic