Transition to green energy was at the center of discussion between six Western Balkan leaders at the EBRD’s fifth Western Balkan Investment Summit.
The summit was held in London on Monday, February 28, and attended by the prime ministers of Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.
“All leaders spoke of plans to develop renewable energy sources, which require a regional energy system to balance the inflow of renewables into national grids and, in some countries, a change of legislation to enable large-scale private investment,” according to a press release by the EBRD.
EBRD President Odile Renaud Basso gave the opening remarks, stressing the need for regional cooperation in order to achieve economic prosperity and political stability.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama talked about Albania’s need to invest more in tourism, spotlighting his government’s plans to build new seaports and two new airports. He also talked about Albania’s need to diversify its energy sources given its reliance on hydropower.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that his government is working on a new Energy Strategy that will diversify and decentralize energy resources in Kosovo, while phasing out coal in way that protects Kosovo citizens from unaffordable prices.
On the regional cooperation front, Kurti spoke about the plan to create an energy exchange with Albania, while Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic highlight three projects that will connect Serbia with the rest of the Balkans. These include the “Highway of Peace” linking Nis, Prishtina, Tirana and Durres; a gas interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria; and the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway.
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi also addressed the participants and talked about the European Union’s commitment to investing €30 billion in the Western Balkans, financed also through the EBRD and private investors.
“Europe does not end at Zagreb or Budapest. The Western Balkans naturally belong here too,” Várhelyi concluded.