The tender, applications for which closed on December 7, aims to help achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement in the Western Balkans region. It seeks to give Hungarian companies, higher education institutions, research centers, foundations and associations access to professional cooperation opportunities by promoting climate protection developments in the region.
The Western Balkans is one of the hottest spots on Earth, László Örlős, executive director of the Western Balkans Green Center, said. The impact of climate change on this region is on the rise in terms of average temperatures, fires and fluctuating water supplies, including floods and droughts. About 60 percent of the region’s energy production is based on fossil fuels, and the 16 coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans emit as much carbon dioxide as 250 coal-fired power plants across the European Union.
Nevertheless, despite the strong commitment of the Western Balkan countries — including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia — to increase their renewable energy quotas by 2020, fossil fuel power plants still play a key role in their electricity generation.
Recognizing the abovementioned development needs and opportunities of the Western Balkans region, Hungary has proposed two major initiatives: an institution and an investment fund that will both focus on a green transformation of the region. Thus, the Western Balkans Green Center was established in June 2019 under the direction and supervision of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology.
The project is being prepared by small and medium-sized enterprises in the green sector in Hungary, which are cooperating with local stakeholders or other development partners and using grants provided by the Western Balkans Green Center. A total of EUR 4.5 million will be disbursed over two years.
In addition, the program fits well with the economic policy aspirations of Hungarian foreign investments in recent years. The main goal of the support program is to allow as many Hungarian companies as possible to compete for EU and other international sources available in the region, László Örlős said.