Knocking on the EU’s Door through the Energy Community: Integration of Western Balkans into the Pan-European Energy Market
At a time when EU accession of the Western Balkans returns to the agenda, a report published by the Secretariat today provides the latest overview of the progress made by the Western Balkan members of the Energy Community towards integration with the European Union in the energy sectors.
Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, Mr Janez Kopač, said: “While the Energy Community has proved to be an effective instrument in facilitating and accelerating EU-inspired energy reforms in the Western Balkans, stark differences between the six aspiring EU members persist. What we have learned is that more tools need to be devoted to ensuring the effective implementation of energy reforms on the ground in order to achieve the desired consumer benefits. Moreover, it is vital that the Western Balkans do not get left behind in the clean energy transition. The report published today strives to shed more light on these and other related challenges and make recommendations on future engagement and cooperation in the energy area in the Western Balkans.”
As outlined in the report, Montenegro is the frontrunner in terms of compliance with obligations under the Energy Community Treaty. Serbia is performing well on the books but is slow in real implementation of the acquis in wording and spirit. The two countries have started EU accession talks. They are followed by Albania and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, both having obtained EU candidate country status and currently at a crossroads between accelerating and stagnating with energy sector reforms. Kosovo* has a good track record in transposition under difficult external circumstances but must do more to get its market structure and environmental performance right. Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as aspiring potential candidate for EU membership, lags behind the others.
“Regional integration between the Energy Community Contracting Parties and with EU Member States remains undeveloped”, added Deputy Director Dirk Buschle. “In particular, the lack of progress in the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo* constitutes the single biggest obstacle to regional energy market integration in the Western Balkans.” “It is imperative that the European Union via the Energy Community and other regional platforms continues to engage the political leadership and maintain energy at the top of the agenda”, he underlined.