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Coal in the Balkans

Planned energy investments in central and eastern Europe would bring staggering amounts of coal capacities and devastating climate and health impacts.

Almost half of the planned new power capacity in the Western Balkans comes from coal.

Countries in south-eastern Europe are strategic partner countries for the EU's energy sector. They also have high ambitions for coal power.

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Governments and investors should be wary of coal's economic outlook and corruption in the sector, the social impacts and not least the increasingly strict environmental standards to be fulfilled. Betting on coal will cause enormous costs for societies and investors alike.

EU regulations making coal more costly

Because of the European Energy Community, the body that aims to create a common energy market between the EU and some of its neighbours, EU legislation on environmental protection and renewable energy sources already does or will soon apply also to the non-EU countries in the Balkans, as well as to Ukraine, Moldova and soon Georgia.

Some planned coal projects are set to breach legislation that will come into force already in 2018.

Governments and investors should therefore be aware that their coal investments will almost certainly be affected by more strict environmental and climate legislation.

More details on the relevant EU rules

Coal investors

Toolkit for coal campaigners in Turkey and the Balkans


In 2013, several finance institutions have introduced strict limitations to their coal lending - among them the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Other financiers - including Export Credit Agencies, commercial banks and investors from China and Japan - are therefore becoming more relevant in SEE and the EU neighbourhood. An overview over these coal investors can be found in Bankwatch’s campaign toolkit Kings of Coal.

Should coal be a priority for the European Energy Community?

The European Energy Community has decided on a list of priority projects (pdf) that will be fast-tracked for financing over the next years. Yet constructing the coal power plants included on the list contradicts EU climate legislation and will bring huge financial burdens for pre-accession countries.

Read more

Planned Balkan coal plants may breach EU pollution limits
Euractiv | June 30, 2014

EU-backed energy projects will harm people and the environment in the Western Balkans
Press release | October 30, 2013