Serbian President Boris Tadic said Monday that countries of the Western Balkans, the region which has an excellent geostrategic position in terms of energy utilization, could secure an economic growth and stability only if they pursue a common energy policy.
Only a common energy policy can help us reduce our dependence on imports of energy-generating products, and contribute to macroeconomic stability of regional countries, Tadic said in an opening address to participants of a regional conference entitled ‘Energy-Development-Democracy: Shaping a New Energy Future for South-East Europe’.
Tadic said that Serbia is dependent on imports of oil and gas, but that its production of biomass, electricity and coal can serve its needs. Alternative energy resources should be granted a special attention so as to reduce our dependence on imports, the president said, drawing attention to the biomass as a particularly interesting resource.
He underlined that Serbia has not yet utilized all its biomass potentials, adding that the Serbian government and competent ministries should draft a strategy for their exploitation.
The Serbian president said that Serbia, in a triangle between Europe, the Middle East and the Caspian Basin, facilitates cooperation between energy producers, transit countries and consumers. “A stable supply of energy-generating products is the basis for industrial growth,” Tadic stressed.
Serbia, as a European state, backs the construction of gas pipelines, and as a signatory of the South Stream pipeline project – the construction of gas storehouses.
Prior to the official opening of the conference, Tadic was presented with the ETA award. Other laureates are Serbia’s musician Rambo Amadeus, who received the award Monday evening, and Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, to whom the award will be delivered shortly afterwards.
The regional conference ‘Energy-Development-Democracy: Shaping a New Energy Future for South-East Europe’ is being held under the auspices of Serbian President Boris Tadic, during Serbia’s chairmanship over the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).
Local partners in charge of the project are the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence from Serbia, the Academy for Political Development, in partnerhip with the organization for promotion of sustainable development (DOOR) from Croatia, and the School of Democratic Leadership of Montenegro.
Integrated energy market in Southeastern Europe necessary
Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic highlighted today the great financial importance of the regional cooperation in energy sector and stated that Southeast European countries should use the opportunity given by the Connecting Europe Facility worth €50 billion to build necessary infrastructure.
Speaking at the Energy, Democracy, Development Regional Conference, Djelic stressed that this EU fund is available to non-member countries and added that Serbia could cooperate with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Romania in the construction of hydroelectric power plants.
In its last report the European Commission commended our country for adoption of the new Law on Energy, reiterated the Deputy Prime Minister.
As long as Serbia’s energy efficiency is poor and dependant on the import of primary energy resources and the production of the renewable energy is insufficient, there will be pressure on the national currency exchange rate, Djelic explained.
Each euro invested in energy efficiency and the energy sector will contribute to Serbia’s competitiveness on the market, stability of the national currency, and macroeconomic stability, Djelic pointed out.
Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic stated that the new Law on Energy enables liberalisation of the whole energy market.
Djukic-Dejanovic explained that the law enables reformation and restructuring of the energy sector which will give Serbia efficient energy companies to propel economic growth.
The future of the energy sector in Southeastern Europe lies in the integration of the oil, gas and electricity markets, which will solve the problems too big for the countries to solve them by themselves, she stated.
Minister of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning Oliver Dulic said that if Serbia used the full potential of its renewable energy resources, which is estimated at 4.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent, it could replace about 60% of its total needs for energy and employ tens of thousands of new workers in the area.
Dulic announced that from next year the construction of the first wind generators, mini-hydroelectric power plants and biomass plants is expected.
However, he said that he is not satisfied with the speed of investment in renewable energy sources because of administrative obstacles which are being removed very quickly.
Dulic recalled that the European Commission in its report on Serbia’s progress for EU membership noted significant progress in environmental protection and management of hazardous materials and chemicals, while adding that a lot of work is ahead of Serbia in terms of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.
German Ambassador to Serbia Wolfram Maas pointed out that since 2000 Germany has invested more than €500m in Serbia’s energy sector, adding that the energy policy is essential for cooperation between Serbia and Germany.