The EU is the world leader in environmental protection. The European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, sets out a roadmap with key actions in the area of climate, clean energy, circular economy, construction, mobility, agriculture, sustainable food chains, biodiversity, and de-pollution. Serbia’s commitment to adhering to these goals is essential for the country’s integration path and will help Serbia make a more efficient use of resources. Moving to clean, circular economy and taking actions to stop climate change, while recovering biodiversity loss and reducing pollution, will support the economy and create new jobs.
The EU supports Serbia to achieve its own goals with regard to environmental protection and raise them gradually to EU-level standards, all the while raising awareness of citizens, the private and public sector, media, etc. In the last 12 years, Serbia received over 8 billion EUR in financial assistance from the EU’s budget only, including 3.3 billion EUR in non-refundable grants, making the EU by far the biggest donor in Serbia. The EU has thus far invested over 600 million EUR in this sector in Serbia.
The most important results of EU support to Serbia include air quality measurement, the construction of wastewater treatment plants in Subotica, Šabac, Leskovac, Kula and Vrbas, and the restoration of water supply systems in Požarevac, Inđija, and Petrovac na Mlavi. In Veliko Gradište, the water supply system was built from the ground up. The EU financed an ash disposal system and filtration system installations at the Nikola Tesla Thermal Power Plant (TENT). Also, the equipment for the monitoring of emission of harmful substances was installed at TENT A and B and at Kolubara Thermal Power Plant A. Regional landfills were built in Pirot, Užice, Sremska Mitrovica, Šabac, and Subotica. The medical waste management system has also been developed. The very first regional sanitary landfill in Duboko opened thanks to EU assistance now serves nine municipalities in Western Serbia, receiving 80,000 tonnes of waste annually. The EU also funded a flood defence system in Šabac with 10 million EUR. In Subotica, the EU funded the construction of a modern Regional Waste Management Centre with 20.3 million EUR. All of this has helped to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Serbian citizens.
The emission of particulate matter into the air above Obrenovac and its surroundings has been reduced by as many as six times. Existing ash transport and disposal facilities at TENT were also modernised, reducing the use of coal. The EU also funded the purchase and installation of 28 measuring stations and the procurement of measuring instruments for automatic monitoring of air quality. By setting aside 2 million EUR for the procurement of lab equipment, instruments, and high-tech devices for water quality analysis, the EU helped to promote the work of the National Laboratory for Water, Air and Soil Analysis.
The EU is also working to raise environmental awareness and promote action in the society as a whole. Nation-wide campaign “Look around—Let’s Move”; Climate Day at Ada Lake; tree planting campaign spearheaded with EXIT Foundation; support for “Climate Caravan” and GreenFest festival; participation in several public discussions and debates; this is a fraction of EU’s efforts to raise awareness among citizens so that they, too, can become agents of change at both personal and collective level. The EU shows that even small things like carrying a bag to the store instead of buying another one made of plastic or using public transport and bicycles instead of cars—coupled with in-depth reform—can indeed make a huge difference.
Serbia’s biodiversity and habitats are unique in Europe and are home to a large number of endangered species. The EU supports the protection of biodiversity through its Natura 2000 project. In Srpski Krstur near Subotica dwells the last pair of eastern imperial eagles, the bird depicted on the coat of arms of the Republic of Serbia. The population of this remarkable species is now three times greater and is on the path to recovery, thanks in part to EU support for the nature sector which has so far reached over 4 million EUR.
In February 2020, when air pollution in Serbia stood above permitted limits for days, the EU supported Serbia to take action and tackle the issue in an effort to prove how the process of EU integration can be helpful by offering expertise, examples of good practice, and investment.
In areas affected during the floods in 2014, the European Union invested more than EUR 160 million in grants, building houses and repairing destroyed infrastructure.
Together, the EU and Serbia raise awareness about environmental protection and encourage citizens to take action. The EU supports Serbia to achieve common goals: pollution reduction, clean energy, biodiversity recovery, smart mobility solutions, energy efficiency, transition to clean energy, circular economy, reduction of the use of natural resources, recycling, introduction of innovative green technologies, protection of endangered plant and animal species, etc.
The EU helps Serbia create policies, initiates legislation reform, and builds capacity with over 45 million EUR allocated so far and more to come. The Government of the Republic of Serbia, together with the European Union, is working to harmonise legislation and create the framework for sustainable development and efficient use of natural resources, reduction of carbon dioxide, eradication of harmful and wasteful behaviour, and protection of the environment for current and future generations. With EU’s support, Serbia is working to improve the quality of life of its citizens, ensuring that laws and policies strive for clean air, water, and soil.
The EU is the world leader in environmental protection. Within the European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, a roadmap with actions is set out in the fields of climate, clean energy, circular economy, construction, mobility, agriculture, sustainable food chains, biodiversity and de-pollution. The engagement of Serbia in adhering to these goals is essential for Serbia’s integration path and will help to strengthen efficient use of resources. Moving to clean, circular economy and taking actions to stop climate change, while recovering biodiversity loss and reducing pollution, will support the economy and create new jobs.