Protests against a new Kronospan formaldehyde plant in the Romanian town of Sebes continue into their third week. Their history dates more than ten years back when the company came to modernise the local plant with financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The ongoing demands for breathable air cast a shadow over the EBRD’s promises of sustainable development and transition.
Labelled the €1.3 trillion investment offensive, more than 2000 projects have been identified by the European Commission’s new Task Force on Investment (made up of representatives of the EC, EIB and member states) for fast-tracked financing from President Juncker’s recently announced €315 billion stimulus plan.
As you're gearing up for the festive season, spare a thought for the long-suffering folks in Pljevlja, Montenegro, and Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are fighting against serious pollution of air soil, and water.
Herders in the Mongolian Gobi Altai mountains are facing pollution and displacement by an iron ore mine. The mining company Altain Khuder responds to criticism with intimidation. The financier, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is not doing enough to protect herders’ rights.
A silver lining has appeared for the people of Rovinari with the set-up of a joint venture for a new lignite-fired power plant being put on hold. The town of Rovinari already suffers under heavy pollution from the existing plant.
Currently presiding over the EU-backed Energy Community's Minsterial Council, Ukraine will likely try to dilute environmental regulations in the Treaty. But the country's ageing coal-fired power plants are troubled by inefficiency and pollution and in dire need of environmental improvements.
People in the Submaidane-Turceni area in Romania live their lives in coal ash that still hasn’t been cleaned up after an accident that took place in December 2013 at an ash deposit belonging to the Oltenia Energy Complex in Turceni.
South and eastern European member countries of the Energy Community may soon have to be much more ambitious about environmental standards in the energy sector. This is because the Energy Community, the body that aims to create a common energy market between the EU and some of its neighbours, may be about to introduce more of the EU environmental acquis into its Treaty.