News archive - Official: Western Balkan countries are ‘milking coal power plants until the bitter end’

This article is part of EURACTIV's special report Energy transition in the Western Balkans.

Disparities between the EU and Western Balkan countries on energy are only getting bigger, with many of them still addicted to highly-polluting coal power stations that provide cheap electricity as well as revenues to governments and the local population. “They’re milking them until the bitter end,” said Janez Kopač.

Janez Kopač is the director of the Energy Community Secretariat, an international organisation established between the European Union and neighbouring countries in the Western Balkan and the Black Sea region.

Kopač spoke to EURACTIV’s Frédéric Simon ahead of an online event on 17 June dedicated to the energy transition in the Western Balkans. The event is hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung EU and South-East Europe offices.


  • Western Balkan countries are not part of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, which is contributing to a growing gap with the rest of Europe.
  • Electricity production in the Western Balkan countries is “much cheaper” than in the EU and it will be hit by the bloc’s upcoming carbon border tariff unless they win an exemption or adopt carbon pricing policies
  • The 16 thermal power plants in the Western Balkans are outdated and produce more hazardous emissions than the 250 coal power plants on EU territory
  • Still, coal power stations produce cheap electricity which provides revenues for the government, miners and the local population due to a complex system of cross-subsidies
  • Many Western Balkan countries are delaying carbon pricing reforms “as long as possible” because they fear the social upheaval caused by rising electricity prices
  • The EU should apply pressure by requesting those countries to join the EU Emissions Trading Scheme while providing financial incentives to manage the social consequences of the coal phase-out.

Source of content as well as full article.

Geographical focus
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Natural Sciences

Entry created by Admin on June 18, 2021
Modified on June 18, 2021