The youth shape the future of Southeastern Europe

Participation of Othon Kaminiaris in the 19th Youth International Conference of the NGO Youth Alliance – Krusevo of Northern Macedonia, titled “European values ​​for the Future of SEE countries” on October 3rd, 2021. Specifically, he participated virtually in the hybrid panel “Shaping the future: How much does the future cost?” with Tatjana Shterjova Dushkovska, Secretary General Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum and Metodija Stojceski, President of the Youth Alliance – Krusevo.

Othon Kaminiaris spoke about the European Green Deal and the EU financial packages, giving emphasis on the Just Transition and the Greek experience, as well as the lessons that could be learned for the countries of Southeastern Europe.

In particular, the EU strategy for climate neutrality and the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a paradigm shift towards a successful green transition, a change that is also reflected in its member states. Regarding Greece, this change is brought out by the importance of the 2019 decision on lignite phase out and the latest developments of the Just Transition in the country. The decision to phase out lignite came after a series of detrimental decisions in Greece’s climate and energy policy, which resulted in the loss of valuable time for planning the transition, especially in Western Macedonia and Megalopolis, whose economies are deeply dependent on lignite activity, as well as financial losses for the Public Power Corporation (PPC).

Despite these negative circumstances, some actors, such as the mayors of lignite regions and environmental NGOs and think tanks, had united their voices and achieved some positive developments, such as the establishment of a National Just Transition Fund, the first of its kind in an EU Member State, before the establishment of the respective Fund at a Union level, and the establishment of the Forum of Just Transition Mayors.

The key lessons that can prove useful for the countries of Southeastern Europe countries are the need for a timely planning of the transition and for meaningful political green transition-oriented decisions, as well as for open and participatory processes involving all stakeholders, especially the youth, who will be called upon to realize their potential under the new conditions that will be created.

You can watch the whole panel here.