The six West Balkan (WB) countries are faced with severe problems on their EU path with regards to energy transition and environmental protection. The environment has never been placed on the agenda of party elites and political authorities. A conscious political decision is that the environment does not matter politically, and all environmental problems derive therefrom. Political marginalization of environmental issues is reflected in the latest EU strategy for the Western Balkans. The strategy fails to address the environment, even though it is considered one of the core areas for the EU. This will considerably undermine our future efforts to make environmental concerns political priorities in our countries, given the role of the EU and relevance of the requirements of the accession process for national agenda-setting.
The aim of this document is to stress some of the key problems which the WB countries are facing with regards to the energy transition and environmental protection and to provide recommendations for improvement to decision makers. The document is a result of collaboration of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Offices in Belgrade and Sarajevo, and leading civil society organisations in the respective fields in the WB region. In order to make a comprehensive overview and for the sake of clarity, three relevant topics are discussed in the document. These topics are considered amongst the most important when discussing the energy transition and environmental protection issues. Every topic is followed by a problem statement and description, along with policy recommendations.