Chancellor Scholz should offer Western Balkan close climate cooperation – NGO
Clean Energy Wire
German chancellor Olaf Scholz should focus on climate change mitigation during his visit to Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia and Bulgaria this week, NGO Germanwatch has said. “Climate-damaging lignite supplies about 70 percent of the electricity in the Western Balkan countries, their economies are two to five times more energy-intensive than the EU average, and renewable energies – with the exception of hydropower in Albania – play only a small supporting role in the six states,” Germanwatch wrote in a press release. As the region’s leading trading partner, Germany plays a central role in making the energy transition succeed there, Christoph Bals, political director of Germanwatch said. Climate measures should therefore be discussed alongside EU accession negotiations with Western Balkan countries. Climate cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans can also serve as a counterweight to the often carbon-intensive Chinese infrastructure investments in the region, the NGO argued.
Scholz and other ministers from the Social Democrat (SPD) chancellor's cabinet in recent months have made energy and climate policy a key topic during international trips. While economy and climate minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) visited states at the Persian Gulf and Israel to intensify energy cooperation and find alternatives to Russian gas supplies, Scholz recently agreed on a ramp-up of gas trading between western African nation Senegal and Germany, leading to criticism that climate action promises Germany has made could fall prey to energy security considerations.