European Climate Pact Day of Action
A report released by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that Romania and Greece are among the most active EU member states in the region on climate change issues, writes Cristian Gherasim, correspondent in Bucharest.
Efforts to increase the use of renewable energies have intensified in Greece, as well as projects to close coal-fired power stations and continue the green energy transition.
The economic slowdown caused by the COVID 19 pandemic may also have played a role in setting the agenda for Greece’s efforts to develop alternative energy means. Greece is looking to attract much needed foreign investors and the switch to green energy may well be the way to achieve this. Greece is also aiming to position itself as a leader on the issue of climate action and is currently involved in a development project with German automaker Volkswagen, according to the ECFR report.
Another forerunner in green technology research is Romania, which sees the much-discussed European Green Deal as an opportunity to grow its economy and rely more on green energy as investors become more aware of the climate challenge. .
In Romania, too, there have been long debates on the phasing out of coal. Nationwide controversy erupted last month when more than 100 miners in Romania’s Jiu Valley barricaded themselves underground to protest unpaid wages.
The question of the coal producers in Romania highlights a real national and European issue. Many countries face challenges when making the transition to green energy, with politicians on both sides of the aisle arguing for and against the move.
Then Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans stepped in and said there was no future for coal in Europe and Romania had to leave coal behind. Timmermans is leading the realization and implementation of the Green Deal and directives that will ensure climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU.
Bulgaria, meanwhile, has pledged to keep its coal sector for another 20 to 30 years, according to the report. The south-eastern European country is trying to catch up with the rest of the EU in the transition to greener alternative energy sources. Still, the report notes a significant change in his attitude towards green technologies in recent years.
A notable example of an EU Member State taking a conservative approach to climate strategy can be found in Slovenia.
Slovenia, the report notes, significantly reduced its climate ambitions after the new government took power in January 2020. The new government does not view the European Green Deal as an economic opportunity for the country.
Unlike Slovenia, Croatia has been considerably more open to the European Green Deal. In Croatia, the EU’s climate efforts have generally received a positive reception from government, citizens and the media, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has marginalized the problem. In addition, the adoption and implementation of key climate-related policies has suffered repeated delays, according to the report.