The Secretariat intensively participated in the drafting of the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, and welcomes the text as adopted at the EU-Western Balkans summit yesterday.
Director Kopač said: “The Sofia Declaration is a real milestone in our joint decarbonisation efforts. By adhering to the declaration, the Western Balkan Contracting Parties committed to work towards the 2050 climate neutrality target, like the rest of the EU in the frame of the Energy Community. Given the breadth of this challenge, the Energy Community Secretariat is ready to dedicate all its efforts to support the Contracting Parties of the Western Balkans in the energy transition process in line with the European path towards decarbonisation and transform the Community into one for energy and climate”.
The Sofia Declaration endorses the EU’s draft Climate Law also for Western Balkans, once adopted in the EU. The Western Balkan Contracting Parties have also committed to a number of specific actions, strongly promoted by the Secretariat in the last years, including:
• introducing carbon pricing instruments and aligning these with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme;
• decreasing and gradually phasing out coal subsidies, strictly respecting State aid rules as applicable already through the Energy Community;
• introducing market based renewables support schemes based on which several Contracting Parties have already achieved remarkably low support rates; and
• actively participating in the Coal Region in Transition initiative for the Western Balkans which the Energy Community co-organizes.
The initiatives under the Sofia Declaration will be supported by the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, adopted by the European Commission in October 2020. It offers EUR 9 billion for flagship projects aimed at decarbonisation, with investment into renewables and buildings renovation.