No room for the environment at the EU-Western Balkans Summit
Posted on 18 May 2020
The EU Green Deal was left out of the Zagreb Declaration.
The European Green Deal, a much-anticipated policy, was left out of the Zagreb Declaration. It also failed to address the environment and nature as key elements for building a stronger, just and more resilient future, WWF warns in an open letter to the European Commission and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, currently presiding over the Council of the European Union
The Declaration, which came out earlier this month at the conclusion of the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit, failed to recognize the transition towards a just and sustainable future, which can be implemented through the European Green Deal. Furthermore, it ignored the European sustainability agenda, important in the context of European integration of Western Balkans.
In its open letter, WWF emphasizes the importance of the European Green Deal, which recognized biodiversity loss, climate change, and ecosystem degradation as priorities for the EU's future political agenda. It will lead to much needed economic, social, and environmental change. Sadly, the content of the Zagreb Declaration shows that Western Balkans leaders decided to ignore it.
“At this point, when we have all the scientific data clearly stating that we must act fast and invest our efforts in securing a green economy, low-carbon energy system, and overall improvement of environmentally responsible behaviour, decision-makers chose to set it aside”, said Petra Remeta, conservation programs manager from WWF Adria.
WWF underlines the need for a strong commitment of decision-makers in Western Balkans, as well as those in the EU, to achieve full integration of the European Green Deal in the forthcoming Economic and Investment Plan for the region.
"The EU Green Deal is an important blueprint for the economic recovery not just of current EU members, but also of our nearest neighbours and beyond," statedEster Asin, Director of WWF European Policy Office. "We urge all political leaders to unite behind a sustainable, resilient future economy that leaves no-one behind".
Summits like this are an opportunity for Western Balkans leaders to gather in one place and discuss burning questions. But, their agenda can no longer be focused only on political and economic topics. They cannot ignore environmental challenges which are intertwined with societal issues, including economy and politics, since degradation of nature will affect all aspects of our well being.
Grabovica artificial lake (Neretva river), Bosnia and Herzegovina