In September 2014, in cooperation with the Deputy Minister of Energy and Infrastructure of Albania, the Balkan Forum hosted a regional meeting on energy efficiency in the Western Balkans that brought together regional and European stakeholders to discuss concrete energy efficiency measures and agree on methods of regional energy cooperation including those established by the European Energy Community Treaty.
Participants representing government institutions, civil society and academia, and experts from Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Greece, Kosovo, EU institutions, UK, and US concluded that measures to increase energy efficiency are a significant opportunity for economic development and stronger economic growth; the energy savings and use of local clean energy resources can make the Balkans less dependent on energy imports and increase the energy security of the region; and regional cooperation in energy efficiency could bring direct benefits to citizens by increasing employment, reducing energy bills, improving living standards and creating better living environment.
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The Balkan Forum initiative was launched at the first Annual Balkan Forum meeting held on 7-9 February 2013 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The Forum gathered diverse stakeholders and leaders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia. Over 50 participants from civil society, the private sector, academia, and government worked together to generate ideas and innovative strategies to deepen regional collaboration and catalyse economic development, drawing the region’s strengths and comparative advantages.