At today’s “Green Agenda for the Western Balkans” conference, organized by the Aspen Institute, Germany, CIVIL Media spoke with Anna Luhrmann, German Minister for Climate in Europe, about the impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine on the green agenda of Europe and the Western Balkans, GreenCivil.MK reported.
CIVIL Media: My question is – what are your consideration of the strategy of the Russian aggression against Ukraine? The consequences are rather grim also in the area of the green agenda. What are your considerations within the agenda? What should be changed in terms of the green agenda in the Western Balkans, and also in Europe?
Lürhmann: Well, the Russian aggression on Ukraine has shown clearly that Russia is not a reliable partner and when it comes to energy supply, and that clearly means that we need to accelerate our transition to renewable energies, to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels, because the current crises that we are seeing is because we are all so dependent on gas, on coal, and the prices for these fossil fuels are exploding on the world markets, and the only answer to this is the investment in renewable energies. And we are planning to go 100 percent renewable in Germany by 2030, so we are accelerating this process now with a series of laws that we have passed now during the last months. In particular, to make it easier also for citizens to install solar panels on their roofs and all that, and we firmly believe that also a highly industrialized country like Germany can rely 100 percent on renewable energy.
CIVIL Media: Balkan countries are poor countries, torn by nationalism on one side and also widespread corruption. Do you think that poor countries, such as the Western Balkan countries, stand any chance to really reach the ambitious green agenda, especially in the given circumstances, with the war in Ukraine and other crises that are striking the world?
Lürhmann: Yes, of course. Because by now renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy production, because the prices that are spiking right now are spiking because the prices for natural gas, for coal are exploding on the world markets. And the only form of energy production that remains constantly cheap is renewable energy. Therefore, we are working here today, and we are working in general as EU, and as Germany to support the countries of the Western Balkans to invest in renewable energies as much as possible, and therefore to generate jobs, to generate sources of cheap energy.
When asked if the Macedonian authorities were asked why there are no solar panels in a sunny country like Macedonia, Lürhmann answered that despite all prejudices, it should be understood that renewable energy is cheap and reliable.
“Well, I am clear advocating everywhere I go for more installations of renewable energies, like solar panels. And in particular, indeed, here in North Macedonia conditions are really good for solar. By now, I mean there are a lot of prejudices for renewable energies that come from all the times, but by now the technology is so advanced that it really works very well. /it has become very cheap, and very reliable, so I really urge all countries of the Western Balkans to also create the right legal framework for renewable energies to be installed and to be able to feed into the grid”, said Lürhmann.
camera: Arian Mehmeti
video editing: B. Jordanovska
text editor: N. Cvetkovska