Waste

EU blocks wastewater treatment project in Kosovo* due to sanctions

EU blocks wastewater treatment project Kosovo due sanctions

Photo: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Published

August 15, 2023

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Published:

August 15, 2023

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The European Union suspended grants and investments in wastewater treatment systems in Kosovo* as part of sanctions against Prime Minister Albin Kurti and his government.

The measures launched by the European Union against the Government of Kosovo* have begun to directly affect the lives and well-being of citizens, the Albanian Post reported. The sanctions were imposed as the authorities refused to deescalate the tensions with the Serb community in the north.

Mayor of Hani i Elezit Mehmet Ballazhi said the EU suspended a wastewater treatment project, which was supposed to tackle pollution including asbestos. The town and municipality on the border with North Macedonia is also known as Elez Han and Đeneral Janković. The facility would process wastewater that goes into the Lepenc or Lepenac river.

Four wastewater treatment projects are on hold

The local authority allocated EUR 15 million, Ballazhi told Kosova Press in an interview. He added that the Municipality of Novo Brdo (Novobërda or Artana) in the east prepared an equivalent sum while Obiliq/Obilić, just outside Prishtina, would invest EUR 5 million in a similar system.

The World Bank and EU were supposed to participate with EUR 24 million in total, the head of Hani i Elezit revealed and said the project is vital for his town. Given that it is an international agreement, it must be approved by the government and parliament, Ballazhi explained.

France and Germany have halted several renewable energy projects in Kosovo*

The EU was supposed to pay a grant for a wastewater treatment system for Prishtina and the surrounding municipality on June 29, the article notes. The project was developed by France and Germany was supposed to build the sewerage network.

Ambassador of France Olivier Guerot said the endeavor is suspended. It would have had a positive effect on the quality of life and environment, he pointed out.

Financing halted also for Solar4Kosovo

The news outlet added, quoting Ambassador of Germany Jörn Rohde, that France and Germany also halted several renewable energy projects. In particular, according to local media reports from a month ago, Germany suspended grants and loans for Solar4Kosovo – a 70 MW solar thermal system and a 100 MW solar power plant planned in Obiliq. The two facilities were supposed to help the decarbonization of the energy sector.

On the other hand, Kosovo* recently launched a public call for funds for energy efficiency measures in households. The EUR 10 million budget for subsidies of 45% for home renovation was obtained through the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Furthermore, EU representatives attended the ceremony.

Of note, Germany formally canceled two renewable energy projects and one for wastewater management in the Republic of Srpska, after suspending them in April 2022. It again accused the leadership of the entity, one of the two that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina, of separatist aspirations. The other entity is called the Federation of BiH.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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