Optimism and energy are words that are almost never found in the same sentence these days, but, if we take a step back, Serbia’s energy situation is set to improve… and maybe quite a bit ~ Giles Norman
For all the horror being visited on their land, and on the cusp of a dark, hard, winter, the Ukrainian people’s spirit, resolve and tenacity provide reason for optimism. I am also optimistic that – during this season when we reach to our better selves – we will succeed in muffling the noise of ‘positions’ and ‘power politics’ and see people in their full humanity. People who are not so very different from our own parents, brothers, daughters, neighbours: people who hope and dream; people who wonder what tomorrow will bring. The words “optimism” and “energy” are almost never found in the same sentence these days, but, if we take a step back, Serbia’s energy situation is set to improve… and maybe quite a bit.
First, it has been made plain that no one can afford to put all their eggs in the Russian energy basket. Today, control of Serbia’s national oil company is in Russian hands, not Serbian. Serbia is today at the mercy of Russia for virtually all of its natural gas, and for the price it pays for it. This terrible energy insecurity and one-sided leverage has now been recognised for what it is, and the government is moving quickly to reduce this dependency. Serbians can thus be optimistic that, in the relatively short term, their country will be less beholden and vulnerable, and more independent and secure.
Second, Serbia also appears to be seizing the moment to jump-start the transition to cleaner energy sources. This brings a number of linked advantages, including greater national energy self-sufficiency, decreased reliance on declining coal reserves, and cleaner air, all while making a powerful positive contribution to the world as a whole. Behind the headlines of regional conflict, quiet, practical steps are being taken to build cooperation and integration between Western Balkan neighbours – through both the Open Balkan Initiative and the Common Regional Market / Berlin Process. Practical steps focused on delivering real benefits to citizens that create habits of cooperation and trust: what’s not to be optimistic about?