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Carbon tax: possible or not for Serbia?

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How will the introduction of the CO2 tax, which will be paid in a few years, affect the domestic industry, i.e. the price of products that are marketed in the European Union, as well as the issues of the green transition, which includes the transformation of the energy sector above all, the adjustment of small and medium-sized businesses companies involved in international supply chains is a topic that has been discussed for a long time.

Thus, the director of the company Lafarge Serbia, Dimitrije Knjeginjić, indicated at the recently held Belgrade Energy Forum that from January 1, 2026, every atom of CO2 will have to be paid for when exporting products to the EU, and by 2034, everything will have to be paid for, because it literally doesn’t matter. Where are we. He pointed out that if entry into the EU happens on the path of our transition, the awakening will be very painful if we are not very efficient in accomplishing the tasks that tomorrow brings.

I am glad that the Belgrade Energy Forum is also discussing topics that are extremely important for companies coming from sectors that the European Union has pretty much hit with its measures – said Knjeginjić. – There are six sectors: aluminum industry, fertilizers, cement industry, steel, hydrogen. These are all industries that are terribly burdened by intensive energy consumption, and we are looking for ways to solve this problem in the coming years.

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The price to be paid

Companies will have to buy CBAM certificates, where one CBAM certificate is equivalent to the price of one ton of emitted CO2 listed on the emission exchange.

On the European ETS market, the current price for the emission of a ton of CO2 is 93 euros, and in February it was close to 104 euros. The price has been on the rise since 2019, when the Green Deal was adopted, and estimates are that it will not drop below 80 to 90 euros in the next two years.

He pointed out that the key topic is an old topic in a new guise – the use of alternative fuels and reducing the footprint because all alternative fuels are better than traditional ones.

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One new metaphor is to try to introduce the Lego system in the circular economy. When the children make a building out of lego blocks, they buy several packages of blocks, when they make an airport, they dismantle those blocks and make an airport. This is the model we need, the model that will return everything that makes up one building to one building. Without it, there would be no industry as we know it today. There are answers and solutions. Our company has a very wide range of solutions in that domain, and we need absolute support from the ministries of the environment and mining and energy, and I think we will get it because it is about our future in the industry, and not only in the industry – if you look more broadly , then it’s also a problem with the education of future staff because they won’t have a place to develop – said Knjeginjić.

Scientific advisor at the Institute of Social Sciences and full professor at Singidunum University, Dr. Sanja Filipović, tells Dnevnik that the introduction of the CBAM mechanism, which is a form of CO2 tax, has a certain protectionist element because the EU thus prevents the transfer of production to countries that have less demanding regulations regarding reducing CO2 emissions. In this way, the EU not only protects its economy, but also reduces it

In its territory, the consumption of products whose production emits CO2 that is not included in the costs of doing business in other countries.

Serbia, as a country that is not a member of the EU, if it wants to export to the EU market, it must respect the rules of the European market – said Sanja Filipović. – One of the solutions for Serbia is to define a national market of emission permits based on the European market, because in this way double taxation would be avoided, and the money based on the payment of emissions would remain in the country and could be used specifically for decarbonization projects.


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