- May 26, 2021
On May 26, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a closed-door online Expert Workshop on “Implementing the Green Agenda: Decarbonization of the Economy in the Western Balkans.”
The foreseen decarbonization of the economy as spelled out in the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans will strongly affect businesses in the Western Balkans region. This is even more important as the EU, being the most important trading partner for countries across the region, is going to move towards decarbonizing its economies and is looking at the introduction of CO2 taxes in trade relations. To identify how decarbonization will affect economic activities in the region and to discuss how the private sector can be involved in this decarbonization process, we gathered a select group of experts and practitioners including members of the business community, think tankers, academics, as well as representatives of international organizations and decision-makers from the Western Balkans and the international community.
A key issue discussed at the workshop was the need to raise awareness among businesses and politicians in the region for the necessity and urgency of the decarbonization process. In this context, more information is needed regarding the effects and challenges but also opportunities of the transition. Experts agreed that the private sector should play an important role in implementing the Green Agenda, albeit with different roles for larger companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises, based on differing financial and human resources and potentials for innovation. At the same time, for the private sector to take on a proactive role in the green transition, a conducive environment is needed (e.g., through market incentives, targeted support policies, subsidies, or taxing). It was concluded that intensified dialogue and negotiations with international stakeholders, especially the EU, is necessary to manage a sustainable and financially bearable transition. Furthermore, increased coordination and exchange of knowledge and best-practices, not only among businesses but also between the private sector, governments, and civil society organizations domestically and across the region, is key to jointly manage the challenge of decarbonizing the economies.
The Aspen Institute Germany wishes to thank the German Federal Foreign Office for its sponsorship of the “Aspen Western Balkans Stakeholder Forum 2021” through the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Upcoming workshops in the framework of the project will focus among other things on media freedom in the Western Balkans.