Serbia as an ecological blind spot of Europe

by Cristian Florescu

Awakening of environmental awareness of citizens and pressure from the Serbian public to resolve urgent “green” issues, which has been intensifying in recent years and which resulted in large protests across Serbia in November and December, are perceived by many as a possible driver of change, write

Experts are sceptical when it comes to this and are warning that Serbia has to make a serious effort to align its environmental legislature with European standards, ensure its implementation, and put an end to the increasing air, water, and soil pollution, as well as to put an end to endangering ecosystems and protected species.

They further add that an ambitious energy climate plan is necessary, according to which Serbia would completely stop using coal by 2050 and stop the emission of greenhouse gasses which would allow it to keep pace with the rest of the world and its international obligations.

Serbia will need about 15 billion euros to reach EU standards in the field of environmental protection and climate change, of which 7.5 billion will be for the water and waste sectors alone, according to a calculation based on Serbia’s negotiating position for Chapter 27.

Mirko Popović, Program Director of the Renewable Energy Regulatory Institute (RERI), estimates that the opening of Cluster 4 most likely happened due to the adoption of regulations in the field of energy, and when it comes to Chapter 27, significant progress is evident only in the adoption of the Law on Climate Change.

“Serbia has not met standards in the field of environmental protection and climate change that would show tangible progress. The Law on Climate Change has been adopted, but I would like to see the effects of its implementation after a year has passed”, says Popović.

“What Serbia lacks first is a series of courageous political decisions that will be in line with the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.” This means gradually abandoning coal, which must begin as soon as possible. If Serbia arrives in 2030 with three-quarters of the coal in the energy mix, it will be in serious trouble. Europe and the world will not return to the old, China and Asia will go forward. It will be easier for him who gets caught in that circle on time, concludes the program director of RERI.

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