REGIONAL COOPERATION ON ENERGY IN THE WESTERN BALKANS
Energy transition is the most significant challenge for Western Balkans. The region primarily depends on fossil fuels, mostly coal, for energy. The energy transition is at its inception, and the focus of governments on renewables is negligible. However, with the desire to become EU members, and because the EU surrounds the region, the green transition is inevitable in Western Balkan countries. The region will soon be subject to the EU rules and regulations, particularly those related to decarbonization. Slowness or the lack of green transition would reflect on the effectiveness and competitiveness of the region’s economies. Also, regional integration is necessary for the effective green transition, and mechanisms such as the Energy Community and the Berlin Process could be utilized. But, despite the debate, the region remains fragmented.
To address this issue, the Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany (AA) organized on July 22, 2023, in Skopje, North Macedonia, another roundtable for the high officials of the main political parties from the Western Balkans to address energy transition in the region. The roundtable is part of a larger initiative on strengthening the region in the face of new geopolitical challenges conducted by CIG and supported by AA. The event focused on discussing the prospects for the green transition and the increase in using renewables, as well as how the improved regional cooperation could help in this regard and how to use it to address these issues better. Apart from political representatives, the roundtable also included several energy experts from the region, who provided the other participants with their insights on the most challenging aspects of the issue. Below is the report from the meeting.