Sofia Summit 2020: (Is) the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans finally on the Agenda (?)

On 11th November, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Dialogue Southeast Europe organized an online panel discussion titled „(Is) the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans finally on the Agenda (?)“, following the Sofia Summit, which took place the day before, and within the Berlin Process framework.

The panel was opened with a welcoming address by Dr. Helene Kortländer, Head of Office for FES Bulgaria and it hosted nearly 50 participants. Key speakers  included representatives from international and regional organizations active in the topics of energy transition and climate change policy-making: Ms. Sonja Risteska (Agora Energiewende), Mr. Radovan Nikcevic (RCC), Dr. Sonja Schirmbeck (FES  Germany), and Ioana Ciuata (Bankwatch Romania). Ms. Selma Šehović (FES SOE) moderated the discussion. After the inputs by key speakers, the floor was opened for the audience joining from all over the WB and SEE, but also Brussels, Berlin, and even MENA region, to engage with their own remarks.

The participants addressed the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, adopted at the Sofia Summit. The attention was on the Climate, energy, and mobility pillar of the Agenda and whether it was a real opportunity for the just energy transition and carbon neutrality of the WB or yet another policy document with no chances of truly delivering. The panel ended with the optimistic note that even though the Agenda might not be perfect, it can be a basis for the WB to catch up with the EU's quest for carbon neutrality bringing the WB's citizens a plethora of benefits.

The meeting and fruitful discussion also prompted further collaboration between Regional Cooperation Council and CEE Bankwatch Network. As a result of that, for the first time there was a civil society representative from Bankwatch present at a high-level ministerial meeting organized by the RCC.

The event was organized in line with the FES' work on socio-ecological transformation focusing just energy transition in Southeast Europe. More information about our work on this topic is available on our website (here).

The Sofia Summit was initiated during the German Presidency over the Council of the European Union and aimed to reach a joint agreement on strengthening regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.


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