How can Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans transition to a zero-carbon economy after the COVID-19 crisis?

During the better part of this year, Member States were supposed to lay down their plan for using EU funds after 2020, in what is called the Programming Process. This process continues today, although the current global pandemic will reshape it in several ways, many still unknown. In Central and Eastern Europe, EU funds are now needed to cover gaps in most sectors of the economy and society, and there is a risk that their unique potential for transforming the energy landscape towards a zero-carbon model will be diminished, if not lost.

As the concept of a just transition is endorsed by the European Commission with the help of a new fund and mechanism, this session aims at illustrating how coal mining regions can shift from coal to a clean energy system with the help of public funding in a manner which is coherent with other efforts for economic recovery.

The drafting of operational programmes and partnership agreement can become a real tool for just transition, no longer limited to coal regions: both in social terms as well as for supporting forward-looking technology. By using local examples of successful projects supported by public funding in CEE countries, this session aims at showing how the regions most affected by this challenge can lay down ambitious projects, and how the newly proposed Just Transition Fund could create new opportunities.

The issue is also relevant in the Western Balkans, a region highly dependent on predominantly one energy source – coal – transitioning to a low-carbon energy system presents many challenges that can be tackled by developing concrete energy transition roadmaps that chart the pathway to an affordable and clean energy future.

This session is directed to Brussels policy-makers that want to learn more about the specificities and potential of CEE countries for recovery and the transformation to a zero-carbon economy. It is also directed to local and regional authorities that are interested in examples of good projects and would like to learn more about the possibilities offered by the programming process, as well as partners and relevant stakeholders being involved in the preparation of the EU funds programming. The session will also discuss the modalities of having robust coal-phase out in the WB6 while maintaining energy security with a specific focus on utilizing fact-based results to divert the planned funds and loans from lignite and coal to renewables.

 

Speakers

President of RWEA
Romanian Wind Energy Association
Regional Government’s Plenipotentiary for Just Transition
Wielkopolska Wschodnia Region
Head of European Energy Policy
Agora Energiewende
Head of Electricity Unit
Energy Community Secretariat
Director, Head of Energy EMEA
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
National campaigner, Hungary
Bankwatch