Integrimi Evropian

European Integration

Kosovo and EU discuss Transport, Environment, Energy, Climate and Regional Development

May 22, 2014

Brussels, 22 May 2014 – The Kosovo government and European Commission (EC) held their regular meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Process Dialogue (SAPD) on Transport, Environment, Energy, Climate and Regional Development.  The meeting examined a number of policy areas where there is a substantial body of European legislation. Although none of the issues was directly negotiated within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiation, the SAA will nevertheless have important consequences for Kosovo in these areas, in particular in creating new obligations to apply the acquis.

For the environment area, the Commission noted with concern that extremely limited progress has been made in this sector of great importance for Kosovo’s citizens and the quality of their life. Kosovo citizens deserve to benefit from the same environmental standards as their counterparts in the rest of Europe. While a number of laws were adopted in the past few years, very few have been implemented due to insufficient political consideration and priority.  Limited financing of important projects, lack of technical staff in the central and local institutions and lack of public awareness also remain the core problem affecting the implementation of the environmental legislation.

Kosovo needs to step up significantly the efforts in the environment sector. The establishment of the Environmental Protection Fund should be considered among the priorities. In the area of air quality, the institutions and the public remain poorly informed on the state of air quality, despite the fact that Air Quality Monitoring System covering appropriately the whole Kosovo territory is fully equipped including advanced analytical laboratory.  The air polluter’s inventory needs to be compiled and the pollution from the main sources needs to be accurately measured, in particular the pollution from the Thermo-power Plants Kosovo A.

In the area of transport, the Commission pointed out its unease about  recent developments in Kosovo’s railway sector. While the sector has implemented reforms in the past years, also with considerable EU assistance, the recent decision of the Railways Regulatory Authority to revoke the already granted license to the first private rail operator in the region, has undermined all this good work.

 

The withdrawal of the license itself and the way in which the license was withdrawn fail to meet Kosovo’s own conditions and were carried out only after pressure from the incumbent operator.  This casts serious doubts on the independence of the railway regulator, not to mention Kosovo’s commitment to reform. As the construction of the Route 7 was concluded in 2013, the Commission encouraged Kosovo to conclude the contract for the maintenance of the road as soon as possible. The Commission recognised Kosovo’s progress in aviation, in particular the recent adoption of the Law on Agency for Air Navigation services, and also welcomed the opening of Kosovo’s upper airspace.

As regards energy, the EU continues to support Kosovo’s plan to build a new lignite power plant that will meet current and future EU norms. This will allow Kosovo to close the heavily-polluting Kosovo A power plant. Nevertheless, the Commission noted with concern that the legal deadline of closing Kosovo A by 2017 is slipping away, due to the delay in the new plant’s tendering activities and the lack of activities of the Working groups on the decommissioning. There are also significant delays in the adoption of the Law on Energy Efficiency. The law should enable the establishment of the Energy Efficiency Fund – a necessary institution that has been called for by the Commission for several years. In addition, Kosovo needs to favour the development of renewable energy sources (particularly hydropower, wind and solar) in order to meet its 2020 national targets The Commission also pointed out to the lack of progress in adopting EU Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection acquis, as well the absence of activity at Kosovo’s Nuclear Safety Regulator. Political influence over the work of the Energy regulator was also raised as a point of concern.

In the area of climate, as with environment, there was little to report and the Commission expressed similar concerns.  Kosovo has not begun to implement the EU’s legislation not only to limit climate change but also to mitigate its consequences.  Kosovo’s knowledge of how much greenhouse gas it produces (and by whom) is limited, and needs to begin by establishing a proper monitoring mechanism.

In regional development, Kosovo detailed the measures that it is taking to allow municipalities to carry out competences that have been decentralised to them. Particular attention was dedicated to the amendments to the Law on Local Government Finance and institutional development, in particular building up the institutional capacity.  The EC also indicated that it was time for Kosovo to begin preparing to become a beneficiary of EU structural funds, which is a possibility under the current IPA II funding.

Background information

The SAP Dialogue is a framework under which the European Commission and the Kosovo administration regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the European agenda.  The SAP Dialogue monitors and accompanies Kosovo’s delivery on reforms, and identifies how the EU can assist in this process. Sectoral and plenary SAP Dialogue meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission and the government. Each meeting results in jointly agreed follow-up actions to be taken by the Kosovo authorities.

There are seven areas covered in sectoral meetings and they follow closely the format of the dialogue that the EU has with other candidates and potential candidates.

 

These seven sectors are:

– Justice, Freedom and Security
– Innovation, Information Society, Social Policy, Education and Culture
– Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation
– Internal Market, Competition, Consumer and Health Protection
– Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Food Safety
– Transport, Environment, Energy, Climate, Regional Development
– Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics

Last modified: August 12, 2022

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