At the Berlin summit, Western Balkan leaders adopted the Declaration on Energy Security and Green Transition, which emphasizes the commitment of the countries of the region to improving cooperation in the process of transformation of energy sectors and the European Green Deal, the Energy Community Secretariat said.
The leaders of the six countries of the region adopted a joint Declaration on Energy Security and Green Transition in the Western Balkans.
Eight years after the first Summit Meeting of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans, the heads of government of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia met in early November with senior representatives of the European Union and its member states, international and regional bodies and organizations in Berlin.
The Berlin summit participants invited international financial institutions and donors to streamline financial support for policies, measures, and actions outlined in national energy and climate plans, to be adopted and approved by the Energy Community Secretariat by the end of 2023.
The Declaration on Energy Security and Green Transition stipulates that commitment to the European Green Deal and improved regional cooperation will be further “conceptualized, supported and monitored” within the framework of the Energy Community and aligned with the European Green Deal.
Energy Community Secretariat Director Arthur Lorkowski stressed that the institution would make every effort to support the contracting parties of the Western Balkans in the process of harmonizing with the European path to a carbon-free economy by 2050.
In the same context, the next step will be the adoption of energy and climate goals for 2030, packages for the integration of the electricity market, and regulations for monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions at the meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Energy Community in December.
Western Balkan leaders urged the Energy Community Secretariat to devise and propose a regionally coordinated approach for phasing out coal-fired electricity generation
The leaders urged the Energy Community Secretariat to devise and propose a regionally coordinated approach to phasing out coal-fired electricity generation, as well as energy security mechanisms and carbon pricing schemes, with the ultimate goal of joining the European Emissions Trading System and avoiding the introduction of the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), planned by the European Union.
To tackle air pollution, the country leaders have also pledged to bring the region into line with the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, which sets new limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and dust.
Also, the participants urged municipalities and regions in Balkan countries to actively engage in the Clean Air Regions Initiative implemented by the Energy Community Secretariat.
Energy security and transition, green agenda and climate policy
The leaders of the six countries have committed to expanding the development of renewable energy sources and implementing and using the regional system established in the Energy Community for issuing and trading guarantees of origin.
They also agreed to harmonize crisis and emergency measures in the context of the energy crisis and “in the spirit of solidarity” with EU member states and to remove all obstacles to market functioning.
The summit participants agreed the energy crisis and the transition to renewable energy sources could only be managed through deeper regional cooperation. They agreed that Europe needs to review and rethink energy security and supply.
It is crucial not only to ensure affordable and reliable energy but also to combat climate change and reduce environmental pollution.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet signed the declaration
Bosnia and Herzegovina has not approved this declaration until adoption at the summit and is invited to do so at a later stage, according to the Energy Community Secretariat.
As reported by Nezavisne, Bosnia and Herzegovina did not sign the agreement due to technical, but not essential, reasons. At the moment of signing the document in Berlin, there was no agreement at the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina on all the measures provided in the declaration.
There were doubts from both entities about the closure of the thermal power plants, and the large number of employees working in these plants, as well as in the mines, BiH media noted.
Officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina expect talks with EU representatives about possible modalities of transition and the help that Bosnia and Herzegovina should receive to solve these issues, according to the above-mentioned media.
The Berlin Process was established in 2014 as a platform for the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) to accelerate closer alignment with the EU and deepen regional integration and cooperation as key to economic development, growth, and peace. The participants decided to hold the next Berlin Process Summit in 2023 in Albania.