Western Balkans pump subsidies worth €1.2 billion into coal

(EurActiv, 27 Mar 2019) Western Balkan countries, which have set their sights on EU membership, are still propping up coal power with large public subsidies worth more than €1.2 billion, a new report revealed on Monday (25 March). The subsidies are not in line with EU regulations or decarbonisation efforts.

Members of the Energy Community, an international organisation composed mainly of EU candidate countries, gave a total of €2.4 billion in direct and certain types of indirect subsidies to coal-sourced electricity in 2017.

Subsidies worth €1.2 billion came from the Western Balkan countries, with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, in particular, channelling large sums into coal over alternative energy sources.

Without subsidies, not a single coal power plant in the Energy Community would be able to operate without significant losses, according to the study.

“The Energy Community Contracting Parties can no longer look away from the consequences of maintaining an unprofitable, inefficient and unsustainable coal-based energy system,” said Janez Kopač, director of the Energy Community Secretariat.

EC members have legal obligations to prevent energy sector subsidies from giving certain companies an unfair advantage.

The Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – also have stabilisation and association agreements with the bloc – the first contractual step towards EU membership – to regulate subsidies.

External link

EurActiv, 27 Mar 2019: Western Balkans pump subsidies worth €1.2 billion into coal