EFB Community Voices

News

Energy Security and Environmental Protection – New Arguments for Regional Cooperation

31.10.2008

Energy Security and Environmental ProtectionBelgrade, 5th – 7th June 2009

“Is it possible to have enough energy that will insure development and protect environment at the same time?” was one of the questions that were raised during 3 days conference held in Belgrade, from 5th to 7th June 2009.

The main objective of the conference “Energy Security and Environmental Protection – New Arguments for Regional Cooperation” was to provide participants with information concerning key energy security and environmental protection issues, international policies and developments in this area, and the issues of special importance for the Western Balkans (WB) region.

 

Conference was 5th activity within project of regional cooperation that was started in 2007, by the Academy for Political Development from Zagreb, Croatia, and the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Belgrade, Serbia, members of the network of Schools of Political Studies founded by Council of Europe. “Linking the New Leaders” is the title of a long term initiative with the goal to strengthen the informal alumni members network in the WB, in order to contribute to creating new bonds and developing cooperation among the countries in the region.

Participants from Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje and Tirana (announced participants from Priština, Kosovo, weren’t able to come to Belgrade because of problems with transportation) painted, in short presentations, legal frame work for environment protection and current energy situation in each country. That was, especially for people who don’t have real picture of the differences and similarities in countries of the region, eyes opening experience because all countries share almost the same problems and fears. Even though some of the countries made significant progress on EU road, the only way to ensure regional energy security is solidarity and cooperation. One of the best examples is planned gas infrastructure project that would connect all the countries of the region and ensure that gas, energy source of the 21st century, is delivered in time to every country that needs it. Besides that, during discussion about nuclear energy and nuclear power plants in the region, as a way to secure energy independence, cooperation was specially emphasised and was put forth as a precondition for building such an expensive, complicated and potentially dangerous object.

Protection of environment and renewable energy resources were mentioned as a, on one hand, a drawback of development and cheap energy, and on the other hand, an obligation of current generations to act rationally and to preserve resources that are limited. As a good way of doing things, energy efficiency projects were presented. It was concluded that everybody can do something in lowering energy consumptions and protecting environment replacing classical light bulbs with energy saving lights.

At the end, conclusion was that small countries that form this part of the world should work together because big players on the world energy market play rough and don’t have time and patience for countries that aren’t big spenders and don’t have big population. Besides that, big and expensive projects, done as regional projects, are much more feasible the if there are done by each country by itself.