Threatened heart attack

There are plans to develop nearly all the Balkan rivers for hydropower. More than 570 medium-sized and larger hydropower plants, each with a capability of over one megawatt, are planned for the Balkan peninsula. And all this with no consideration for the ecological value of the rivers. Even highly ranked protected areas are not to be spared by the plans. With regard to the abundance of smaller plants being planned, Macedonia alone has announced  the construction of a total of 400 hydropower plants.  There is a sort of "gold rush" atmosphere, and the Blue Heart of Europe is at risk from an all-out attack by the hydropower lobby. There is a danger that this could lead to us losing one of the most important natural gems of our continent.

© Fluvius, EuroNatur
Hydropower plants (> 1 MW) that are proposed (red) and those under construction (yellow) on the Balkan peninsula. © Fluvius, EuroNatur

Financing hydropower southeast Europe (Bankwatch Study, 2018)

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Save the Balkan Rivers: Threats

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Who's behind this?

The Balkan rivers are about to meet the same fate as most of their brothers and sisters in Europe. These blue lifelines were first destroyed, only to be restored, at least partially, to something like their original state, after the EU water framework directive came into force — a costly and difficult undertaking. It is all the more scandalous that in many cases the Balkan hydropower projects are being carried out with the support of international banks and companies — most of them from Europe.

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