Green agenda is a priority in Serbia

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This month, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development presented a “Transition Report” for the countries in which it invests, in which it stated that one of the priorities for Serbia is the acceleration of the implementation of the green agenda. It was especially emphasized that work should be done on the introduction of auctions for renewable sources, improvement of energy efficiency and investments in environmental infrastructure.
The director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the Western Balkans and the Office for Serbia, Matteo Colangeli, told RTS that the priority projects in our country financed by that financial institution are the replacement of boilers and the transition of district heating to gas, and as a next step energy sources. He points out that the financing of seven regional waste management centers is also planned.
Why is the EBRD most focused on financing environmental projects?
– The environment is in the focus of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The priorities in Serbia that we are working on are waste management and greening of the country’s energy system. In the energy sector, we support the decarbonisation of district heating in Kragujevac, the replacement of old coal-fired boilers and the transition to gas, as well as the rehabilitation of an open ash dump. The energy sector is crucial. Wherever possible, fossil fuels should be replaced by renewable energy sources.
Which projects would you single out as the most important for next year?
– For the next year, we are working on a project that would be implemented in several cities where technologies for renewable heating systems would be introduced for renewable energy sources, primarily solar and geothermal, and heat pumps. It is a project that will bring technological innovations, greater energy security of the country and, of course, better air quality for citizens.
The EBRD is also working with the Ministry of Mining and Energy on a project to finance energy efficiency improvements in residential buildings. We are considering approving a loan of 20 million euros, while additional non-refundable funds will be provided by the European Union.
Speaking of the recycling industry, what projects are you financing there?
– When it comes to waste, in addition to the public-private partnership for the landfill in Vinča, we are negotiating a new state loan of 75 million euros to finance seven regional waste management centers throughout the country, which would be built in accordance with EU standards and with accompanying infrastructure for waste sorting and recycling. In parallel with these investments, we want to contribute to the development of recycling and circular economy where we believe that there are untapped business opportunities.
Recycling and the circular economy are very important to us and we really want to support the private sector in that area. It is important that less and less waste should go to landfills, and more and more waste should be used as raw material for new production processes. That is why it is important to create the infrastructure and legal framework that would enable private sector investments.
You have been living in Belgrade for several months, what is your opinion about the environment in the capital of Serbia?
– Belgrade is a big city and like all big cities it faces many environmental challenges. We work with the city on several fronts: the Vinca landfill, sustainable mobility. We want to help reduce the number of private cars in traffic and improve the quality of public transport, which is a challenge for all cities. I hope we see more and more green investment. There must be more trees in the city, which is a trend in Europe, RTS reports.