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Is the EU sacrificing the Balkans on the altar of decarbonisation?

The European Union’s shift in strategy is reverberating negatively across Southeast Europe, with metal extraction posing significant risks to both the environment and local communities. Despite the intention to utilize extracted raw materials for transitioning towards greener mobility, concerns remain regarding the environmental impact. Balkan Green Energy News highlighted this contradiction, questioning whether the EU is sacrificing the Balkans to secure resources for its energy transition.

Environmentalists like Lemes speculate that lithium extraction may also be a factor in projects like the one in Vares, although official confirmation is lacking. With the surge in demand for lithium due to the e-mobility boom, attention has turned to previously untapped reserves in the Balkans, potentially exacerbating environmental challenges.

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Criticism in Bosnia is mounting against what many perceive as a double standard by Western nations. While the EU champions environmental protection and biodiversity within its borders, it is accused of overlooking these concerns in its investment practices in the Balkans. Weak democratic structures in the region, coupled with disinterest in environmental issues among key political figures, facilitate Western economic interests at the expense of environmental integrity.

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