BGF part of the discussion table: "European Commission Report for Kosovo 2018"

Prishtina, June 08, 2018 - Within Balkan Green Foundation, the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) was part of the discussions at the roundtable organized by the Ministry of European Integration on the findings of the "European Commission Report for Kosovo 2018" - a report which offers a clear European perspective for the country and underlines the responsibility of local institutions. During the discussion, many aspects were discussed, including Kosovo's need to increase efforts in order to push the country's sustainable development agenda and engagement towards the integration of European values and perspective in Kosovo, such as raising the quality of education, eradicating corruption, and the proper implementation of state policies. Among other things, discussion focused on policies of the environmental and energy sector in Kosovo, action plans and measures taken so far, as well as the main opportunities and barriers leading to European integration.

The Executive Director of BGF, Visar Azemi, stated that solving problems in the environment and energy sector is possible only by prioritizing issues. "The report has noted that there has been no progress in the field of environment and energy. The presented problems point to cross-sectoral stagnation in the relevant institutions in the country, so the implementation of drafted strategies is more than necessary in order to avoid environmental degradation, increase of health costs, and stagnation towards fulfilling the criteria towards European integration", said Azemi.

Further, he stressed that the responsible institutions in the country are trying to push forward the TC Kosova e Re contract - a contract that contradicts three principles of integration, such as state aid, competition and liberalized energy market. Azemi expressed that: "Kosovo is currently relying almost exclusively on lignite as a source of energy and is holding talks on the construction of a new coal-based power plant, which as a result makes Kosovo face serious air pollution problems. Therefore, Kosovo should focus on investments in energy efficiency as an additional source of energy, in promoting energy from renewable sources and in meeting the criteria for integration."

Also, Azemi also discussed about the current waste management system in Kosovo, whereby the fact that most of the waste ends up in illegal landfills causes this to be a volatile system for the environment in the country. Therefore, taking into account the current developments in these key areas, Azem said that Kosovo remains at the beginning of its efforts towards European integration and that there is much work to be done to achieve this goal.

In the end, Azemi stressed the importance of adopting state policies in line with the trends and directives set by the European Union, and that, among other things, civic awareness, human capacity development, and the offering incentives are important to present a wiser solution for Kosovo's to align with the countries of the region and beyond.

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