As the coordinator of Working Group 15 within the National EU Convention, which deals with energy, the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) organized a session held on February 29, 2024. The session’s topic was the EU Emissions Trading System initiative, one of the main tools the EU intends to use to combat global warming. BFPE is set to implement this initiative within the “SDGs for All” Platform as part of the environmental pillar, and the plan for this year is to activate the expert public and creators and decision-makers at the national level in Serbia, in addition to the regional level where this initiative is already being implemented.

The session of the Working Group was opened by Svetlana Stefanović, Executive Director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, and Aleksandar Kovačević, an expert in the field of energy from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, presented the initiative to include the Western Balkans in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to the members of the working group. The presentation emphasized the urgency of addressing serious violations of basic human rights arising from CO2 emissions from large coal-fired plants, the importance of the rule of law in accordance with the Energy Community Treaty and Stabilization and Association Agreements (SAAs) to reduce legal uncertainty and distrust of the EU legal system, as well as numerous other aspects of this issue.

During the discussions, topics for the Working Group to address in the coming period were proposed. Some of these included energy transition, technology and knowledge transfer, the introduction of the active consumer institute, residential communities in energy transition, harmonization of energy policy in the natural gas sector with the EU, amendments to the Energy Law, subsidies for conversion to renewable energy sources, as well as an integrated national energy and climate plan, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of the same.

After determining the priorities for 2024, it was agreed to intensify the activities of the Working Group in the coming period. The importance and necessity of partnership and cooperation among the members of the Working Group were particularly emphasized, as well as the support of other pillars of the Platform. The implementation of this initiative at the national level will require raising awareness among key stakeholders about the importance of Serbia’s inclusion in the EU ETS system, as well as advocating for the adoption of necessary public policy documents, laws, and sublegal acts that enable this inclusion.

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