- September 29, 2021
On September 29, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a closed-door online Expert Workshop on “Overcoming Barriers to the Implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans”. Following the European Green Deal, the countries of the Western Balkans have committed themselves to ambitious climate goals in the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda. However, the political will to implement these commitments is oftentimes lacking due the (expected) financial, economic, and social costs of the transformation, diverging interests of societal groups, informational gaps, and vested interests – not just in the Western Balkans. At the same time, a green transition, especially in the field of energy, is inevitable to deal with the climate crisis and its effects and to ensure future economic development and competitiveness. In order to discuss how the main barriers to the implementation of the Green Agenda can be overcome and which role the different societal actors can play the closed-door expert workshop gathered business representatives, experts, activists, and think tank representatives from the region as well as decision-makers from the EU and international organizations to bring the different perspectives together. Key topics of discussion were the respective roles of the different actors involved, such as governments and public institutions, civil society organizations and research institutions, as well as the private sector. Furthermore, participants addressed the need to involve a variety of stakeholders in the process of the green transformation and called for increased cross-sectoral and cross-regional cooperation and coordination. The workshop was part of the project “Aspen Western Balkans Stakeholder Forum 2021”, kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.