Recommendations and expectations for German and European policy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has direct and significant implications for the Western Balkans. The lack of a consistent and convincing EU perspective and U.S. engagement in the region opened up space for other actors and scenarios aimed at recomposing the Western Balkans as well as promoted regressive tendencies throughout the region.
The analytical commentaries of this issue discuss the prospects for a just green transition in the Western Balkan countries and their particular contexts of structural injustices in the societies and transition legacies. The fundamental economic and technological changes for a decarbonisation of the widely coal dependent economies in the region need to be accompanied not only by another attitude to nature and biodiversity but also by a new set of social relationships and innovations in governance and civic participation.
To make Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050, the European Union needs to work closely with its neighbours, including those in the Eastern Partnership. Ukraine was among the first EU neighbours to announce their readiness to contribute to the European Green Deal.
Many Russian stakeholders no longer fiercely reject the EU’s plans to tax carbon intensive imports, but look at the global decarbonisation efforts more foresightedly. Windows of opportunities for international cooperation appear. However, instead of joining the global shift to renewables, Russia develops its own approach with a strong role for traditional energy sources.
Since decarbonization goals and policies gained pace internationally in the course of 2021, the Russian leadership no longer denies the discourse on global climate change and a necessary transformation. Nevertheless, mainly the traditional energy sources remain in the focus. A broad debate within the country can hardly unfold. Civil society remains under tough pressure.
In 2020, a number of international conferences and talks marking the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Accords brought the country back into the international spotlight. On this occasion, the Heinrich Böll Foundation's office in Sarajevo captured numerous voices on how to deal with the dysfunctional system.
In the second half of the 1980s, with the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijani military escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani residents of Kyzyl-Shafag, a village in northern Armenia, and Armenian residents of Kerkenj, a village in central Azerbaijan, met through their own initiative to negotiate a peaceful exchange of their villages.
This issue of Perspectives is about women. Their rights and struggles for gender equality, which have existed for generations in the Western Balkans, are presented by authors who are themselves part of the feminist struggles.
Twenty years on from the Kosovo War, the collective memory of both parties in the conflict remains burdened by myths and incontestable truths about what actually took place. In this issue of Perspectives we aim to highlight the fact that Kosovo is not just a toponym, but a country burdened by its recent violent history, where common people are struggling to rebuild the broken societies that the conflict has left behind.
The Fact Sheet provides figures and numbers on the current state of the Ukrainian energy sector and outlines the benefits of a decarbonisation strategy for energy security, economic prosperity and climate protection.