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OP / ED: Energy crisis: Balkans one step closer to collapse – They take on European indifference

By Renato Lekka *

Just as the planet is struggling to recover from a pandemic, it is suddenly – or rather not so much – hit by the energy crisis. The problem as a whole has not yet arisen, but countries are trying to defend themselves.

Again in the Balkans the difficulties are very sharp, where this winter is one of the most difficult in their modern history. The Balkan countries do not have much to expect from the EU, as there is no common coping policy for the member states either. It should be remembered that at the ’27’ Summit in Ljubljana, the EU powers that will postpone the accession of the six Western Balkan countries to the EU for an indefinite future. This has of course brought great disappointment to both country governments and societies. The leaders of the member states not only did not set a date for the start of membership negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania, but also rejected the Slovenian presidency’s proposal to complete the membership process by 2030.

Albania

The Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama said that his country is in a state of emergency due to the supply of electricity. During his speech, Rama said that the decision was influenced by developments in the European electricity market, which has become much more expensive in recent weeks. The Albanian government has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj to manage this situation, who will now have the right to make decisions for energy companies.

According to experts, the country now needs to find a lasting solution to resolve the current crisis. Ahmetaj has announced a program to support families and small businesses. One of the solutions that the Rama government is considering is the partial nationalization of electricity.

Northern Macedonia

In northern Macedonia, Zaev sees his party sinking in local elections. In the first round VMRO DPMNE won in at least 20 municipalities out of 80 across the country, while Zaev’s party won only in 9. The election made Zaev promise that by the end of the year the price of electricity will not change. Of course, the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia – like Rama – has warned his people that his country is facing a major economic crisis. In northern Macedonia they expected a positive development at the last summit. Zaev is in ruins and “will be caught somewhere” for tomorrow.

Serbia

Serbia is in an extremely difficult situation. Vucic says that it is difficult for him to sleep at night because what his country will experience in the coming period is very difficult for him. “I do not sleep at night. What we are living is not easy. “We will have a big problem with energy prices,” Vucic said recently, speaking to his people. The truth is that in the past the Serbian president tried to find a communication with Putin about the price of gas. For his part, the Serbian president wants to create conditions for renegotiation. This is not apparent.

European indifference

Serbia, Albania and northern Macedonia are experiencing incredible indifference from the EU, which has never been seen before. On the one hand, it is understood that member states are facing a major crisis, but on the other hand, Europe should have learned lessons from the past, as Russia and Turkey have a strong interest in the region. The possibility is not ruled out that the candidate countries, seeing that the collapse of the energy crisis is approaching, to push towards another solution, at least for a while. A solution that would be contrary to European principles and values.ibna

* Renato Lekka is a journalist

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