EU neighbourhood

Threat posed by hydro to Mavrovo National Park under the spotlight at Skopje conference

On Thursday in Skopje, over 100 people attended the first public conference [mk] regarding the two planned hydropower plants in the Mavrovo National Park, one of the oldest and most valuable protected areas in the country. A petition to save the park that was launched one day earlier has already gathered over 13 000 signatures.


New Balkan lignite plants may breach EU pollution legislation before they even operate (legal analysis + video)

Brussels, April 2 -- A series of at least five new lignite power plants planned in Western Balkan countries which aspire to European Union membership risk violating Energy Community pollution legislation before they even start generating electricity, warns a new legal briefing by EU-based legal organisation Frank Bold, published today.

The Energy Community's decision to implement Chapter III of the EU's Industrial Emissions Directive and its implications for new coal power plants in the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine

Due to the Energy Community Ministerial Council's decision to apply the EU's Industrial Emissions Directive, new combustion plants in the Energy Community countries have to be planned with the IED taken into consideration. Currently, there are a number of investments in new combustion plants in progress which would not comply with the new requirements if they are realised as planned. It follows, that these combustion plants would be in breach of the acquis on environment after 1 January 2018, in other words by the time they start operation.

Environmental and social impacts of the Khudoni hydropower project in Georgia

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The report summarises the findings from a fact-finding mission to villages in the Svaneti region of northwestern Georgia that will be impacted by the Khudoni hydropower project. During the visit 250 people were interviewed, of which around 160 were women.

Proposed EU loan would make Tunisia's debt problems worse, say CSOs

- MEPs to vote on new loan in April.
- Tunisia is already paying more to its Western creditors than it receives in loans and grants, and almost all of the new loan would be used for debt repayments.

Civil society groups from Tunisia and Europe are urging the European Parliament to concentrate on debt relief instead of voting through a EUR 300 million loan to Tunisia, arguing that this will only add to the country’s huge existing debt burden.

Failure to keep up with EU climate and energy policies will move South East Europe away from the EU, say NGOs

As the EU Council tomorrow debates A framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030, proposed by the European Commission, NGOs today called for much stronger environmental and climate commitments in the upcoming revised Treaty of Energy Community, which brings together the Western Balkan countries, Ukraine and Moldova, during a public hearing taking place in the European Parliament.

Whose Energy Community? Treaty improvements urgently needed

The EU-backed Energy Community Treaty, signed in 2005 and comprising the western Balkan countries, Ukraine and Moldova, has been widely hailed as encouraging regional co-operation. It also sets a legislative framework for the signatories (also known as the contracting parties) that should contribute, along with the EU accession process, to addressing the environmental and social impacts of the energy sector. Indeed, examples of the Energy Community's added value are its adoption of renewable energy targets in October 2012, as well as a requirement for power plants to comply with EU emissions limits.

Oil casts long shadow over local people in Albania

Local development and investments in resource extraction rarely go together hand in hand. Bankwatch's Media coordinator David Hoffman reports back on a recent visit to the EBRD sponsored Patos Marinza oil field in Albania. The case provides valuable lessons for the current revision of the EBRD’s safeguard policies.

Three companies shortlisted for Montenegro lignite plant - but Pljevlja needs a clean-up, not more pollution

Pljevlja's 210 MW lignite power plant, operating since 1982 in northern Montenegro, has caused controversy since the beginning of its lifetime. Even back in late '70s Yugoslavia when the project was being planned, residents succeeded in pressing for the chimney to be taller than planned (250 metres instead of 200 metres) in an attempt to ensure that the plant's pollution rose above the hills surrounding Pljevlja and dispersed further away.

Bosnia and Herzegovina lignite project triggers official complaint to the Energy Community

While governments in south-east Europe have been talking about building new lignite power plants for years, the only one under construction to date is Energy Financing Team's (EFT) 300 MW Stanari plant in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rather than serving as an inspiration to others in the region, the project is an example of what not to do, as borne out by an official complaint submitted in January by NGOs Center for Environment from Banja Luka and ClientEarth to the Vienna-based Energy Community Treaty secretariat.

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