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EU’s Green Deal for the Western Balkans

Oct. 10, 2020 (EIRNS)—On Oct. 6 the European Commission published “An Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans” which is filled with European Green Deal rhetoric and practically no hard infrastructure projects. The word “sustainability” is mentioned in every aspect. The basic principle in the paper is: “no reforms, no money.” The reforms are the usual verbiage for good governance, human rights, economic reform, anti-corruption etc., all geared to a path set out to be admitted into the EU. The paper was probably published in response to the Kosovo-Serbia deal which, if the U.S. keeps its promises, could enable the non-EU countries to evade some of the demands of the EU and to finance what the EU refuses to.

The actual funding is given in numbers that are typically prefixed with the phrases like “up to” or “contingent on.” For instance, they write, “Subject to adoption of the next multiannual Financial Framework and the related legal bases, the commission proposes to mobilize up to €9 billion ... to support economic convergence with the EU primarily through investments and support to competitiveness and inclusive growth, sustainable connectivity and twin green and digital transition.” To translate into truthful language, “up to €9 billion” can mean anywhere between a bright red penny and €9 billion, since none of this has been officially approved and is only a proposal. And we all know what “sustainable” and “Green” mean. Throughout the report, it is the “European Green Deal” which is their “blueprint”—in order to get the money and gain admission to the EU they “will need to pursue the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ... the Paris Climate Agreement,” and other like conditionalities, while accompanying the report is a “Staff Working Document setting out a Green Agenda for the Western Balkans ... which sets out relevant actions and recommendations, including alignment with EU standards and the acquis.” It goes without saying that nuclear energy is not mentioned, but only “renewable hydrogen, advanced solar and wind, batteries and carbon capture” all of which are very expensive, austere, and far lower energy flux density than even fossil fuels, never mind nuclear.

There are no “green field projects” which are totally new infrastructure projects. The countries will have to eliminate their coal-fired power stations and replace them with “sustainable” wind and solar, but also gas. As for hydropower, there is mention of rehabilitation of some facilities and the expansion of a few others, but no green field projects.

The Commission uses the term “sustainable connectivity” linking the power grids and finishing the main road projects and rehabilitation of already-existing railways. There is no mention of a rail connection between Albania and North Macedonia's capital, Skopje, along Corridor 8, or Albania and Greece, which are Tirana’s top priorities. There is no mention of double tracking, even though the large majority of the in the West Balkans are single tracked.

The document references the so-called “circular economy” and the digital economy, which is a big part of the European Green Deal. It goes without saying that none of the actually productive projects detailed over past decades by numerous EIR and Schiller Institute World Land-Bridge reports are mentioned. Since the European Green Deal promises to totally wreck the most advanced EU economies—Germany and France—one can imagine the looting of Europe’s weakest.

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