Bringing sustainability to the Western Balkan region

Policy Recommendations

  1. The first step in order to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in the Western Balkans is spurring transnational cooperation between the countries in the region. A set of common targets could harmonise the different legislations and involve more effectively the civil society.
  2. A transnational network of renewable energy should be seen as a security infrastructure, vital for the independence and autonomy of the whole region. Even if the investments in the field have been delayed by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, the Western Balkan countries should build cross-border interconnectors to create a coherent energy grid without holes and dead ends.
  3. In order to decrease the percentage of young people neither in employment nor in education and training and solve other social problems, the Western Balkan countries should smooth their mobility rules and agree on specific provisions for students and workers willing to spend time abroad.

Sustainable development in the Western Balkans: Is youth on board?

Policy Recommendations

  1. Responding to the demands of the market the relevant institutions throughout the region should develop fast-track programmes advancing the needed skills from youth and enabling further professional development.
  2. Regional development initiatives must be specifically designed to target youth in need and guarantee that their views and interests are equally represented.
  3. National institutions should ensure youth participation when designing policies.

Listening to the people: How the Green Agenda Action Plan can do better for the Western Balkans

Policy Recommendations

  1. To reach desired objectives, the European Union should more closely involve and consult environmental civil society organisations from the Western Balkans and the local population, on all matters related to the Green Agenda, which includes timely and transparent sharing of information in line with the Aarhus Convention.
  2. The European Union should extend the Green Agenda Action Plan to delineate clear responsibilities of all relevant actors in the region, set clear time-frames and targets as well as precise rights and responsibilities of civil society organisations in the consultation process.
  3. It should impose stricter control over governmental action of the Western Balkans to reach the objectives of the Green Agenda and establish a sound monitoring system that will also include the civil society organisations and extend monitoring financing in line with coordinated and participatory bottom-up financing schemes.

Yes, EUtopia is possible!

“Europe will be forged in crisis, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises”

Jean Monnet, founding father of the European project

While the war is raging in Ukraine, we might not even recognize what a paradoxical gift we hold in our hands, which is to live in peace. New security risks for Europe as a whole, but especially for fragile regions such as the Western Balkans, have brought the area back into international spotlight and given it a renewed chance to leave conflicts and frictions behind, thus moving towards a common European future.

The social impact of air pollution in the Western Balkans

Policy Recommendations

The Western Balkans should:

  • Ensure that as long as polluting sites remain operational, they will comply with EU environmental standards, decreasing their emissions.
  • Adopt and operationalise with wide national consensus realistic and comprehensive decarbonisation strategies.
  • Implement vigorously the regional energy connectivity agenda and pursue the establishment of transborder renewable resources energy networks.
  • Launch campaigns to inform people about the need to reduce household energy consumption.

The rule of law in Montenegro between deep polarisation and an unstable majority – how to get back on track?

Policy Recommendations

  1. The government should develop precise roadmaps in the EU accession talks and a clear framework for strengthening the rule of law. The measures should include better defined indicators and activities while insisting on more specific tasks on an annual basis within the interim benchmarks to facilitate both performance assessment and monitoring of progress. A new model of reporting based on a simplified form, which would include an overview of key challenges in meeting the benchmarks and thus strengthening the rule of law, would be advisable as well.
  2. The new parliamentary majority and all parties in the parliament should strive to remove political influence from the judiciary and find solutions that will enable the strengthening of institutions and ensuring their impartiality. As the EU insists on a broad consensus on these issues, and society is in a state of deep polarisation, a kind of mediation between the two blocs, the majority and the opposition, is needed. In this way, the selection of the best candidates in the judiciary, especially where envisaged membership of the academy (civil society), which will not be close to any party, and thus impartial law enforcement will be ensured and politicisation avoided.
  3. The government should fully open the reforms to the public to allow public scrutiny and impartial evaluation.