Protests have in recent weeks broken out across rural Georgia after construction resumed on several large hydropower projects financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Demonstrators have complained that the projects were repeatedly decided behind closed doors, and that poor assessments of the social and environmental consequences mean their livelihoods are under threat.
After the epic battle against the Rosia Montana gold mine in Romania ended in success, many people still don't know that Romania and other countries in the region such as Bulgaria are still threatened by several gold mining proposals, some of which would involve the use of cyanide leaching.
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.
Shale gas has become a focal point of interest for central and eastern European governments, with oil corporations (not only) from the West ready to start drilling as soon as possible. But protests have sparked across the region from Zurawlow in Poland to Pungesti in Romania. We spoke with two anti-fracking activists working on the Neuquén province in Argentina where the struggles of local communities against conventional oil and gas exploration are now amplified by even more problems related to unconventional fuels.
Back in early February this year, workers at several privatised companies started protesting in Tuzla. The workers expressed outrage at how factory owners were not paying social security contributions, thus making their employees no longer eligible for health care, social security or pensions.