Press Release: CAN Europe releases assessment report for Western Balkans’ NECPs: Urgent need for increased commitment and clarity to boost credibility and implementation of climate and energy policies

BRUSSELS, 27 November 2023 –  On 27 November, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe presented its assessment report for the drafts of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) submitted by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia to the Energy Community Secretariat. The assessment report is based on an analysis of the countries’ ambition for 2030 climate and energy targets, namely greenhouse gas emissions, renewables and energy efficiency, as well as of key policies and measures. It offers specific recommendations aiming at improving the NECPs to set the countries on a course towards climate neutrality by 2050, in alignment with the shared goals of the European Union and the Western Balkans under the Green Agenda and the Paris Agreement.


The assessment report highlights that while there has been some progress in the drafting of NECPs, there is a need for substantial improvements. The findings of the assessment further reveal a need for more concrete actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia, particularly in the development of a well-defined coal phase-out strategy and measures to decrease reliance on coal by 2030.


During the presentation, CAN Europe’s Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for South East Europe, Viktor Berishaj, said: “While making progress in their energy transition, the Western Balkans’ draft NECPs require significant improvements and revisions. Inclusion of credible and cohesive policies in the final NECPs by June 30, 2024, is essential, serving as a milestone to ensure that the 2030 climate and energy targets pave the way for climate neutrality by mid-century. This deadline is not merely procedural; it represents a critical opportunity for the Western Balkans to align with the EU’s energy and climate framework, actively contributing to Europe-wide climate neutrality.”


The presentation was followed by a panel discussion, where keynote speakers from the Energy Community Secretariat shared their perspective on the current NECP process in the region, as well as their insights on the current just transition landscapes in the Western Balkans.


CAN Europe Director, Chiara Martinelli emphasised the critical role of the NECP process for the Western Balkan region to achieve a substantial impact in energy transition and climate action. “ With a heavy reliance on coal, the region needs to establish clear and immediate coal phase-out dates and implement corresponding policies. The outdated and polluting coal technology hampers the energy transition in a time where renewable investments are growing more and more. This moment is also an opportunity to ensure a socially and environmentally just transition, that must be reflected in the final NECPs to bring the region closer to the EU.”


Ensuring credible and cohesive National Energy and Climate Plans remains a key priority and objective for the Western Balkan countries, offering a comprehensive pathway for their energy transition. In line with the legal framework provided by the Energy Community Treaty, CAN Europe and its network remain steadfast in their commitment to streamline policies that facilitate the journey toward climate neutrality in the Western Balkan region, consistent with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.


Read more about the assessment and access the full report here




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