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.

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                Map of proposed hydropower plants on the Balkan Peninsula</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

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)

Download (3 MB)

Manifest: Stop new Hydropower in Europe (2021)

Download (1 MB)

Save the Blue Heart of Europe - official website

More ...

Save the Balkan Rivers: Threats

More ...

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.

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to protect rivers in Europe.


Twice a month the latest information about Europe's nature - free of charge and at first hand.

News: Blue Heart of Europe

Goldman Environmental Prize for the “Brave Women of Kruščica”

++ River defenders from Bosnia and Herzegovina win the Goldman Environmental Prize ++ For the second time in the past three years an activist has has...

Science week at the Vjosa tributaries

++ 35 scientists from Austria, Albania, Italy and Germany assess the two major Vjosa tributaries for a week ++ Data will be used to fight planned...

Plans for Kalivaç dam finally shelved

Great news for the Albanian Vjosa: The Kalivaç dam, which for many years hovered like a sword of Damocles over Europe's last great wild river, will...

EU funds for the destruction of nature?

For years, EuroNatur and its partner organisations have been fighting against the controversial Mokrice hydropower plant on the Sava River. The...

Bird paradise in Albania threatened by construction of an airport

++ An airport is to be built in the Narta Lagoon on the Adriatic ++ A stopover site of major international importance for migratory water birds ++ 8th...

Pressure continues for a Vjosa National Park as new government forms in Albania

The election may be over, but the fight for the Vjosa is not.

Webinar on legal instruments for river protection

In order to accelerate the development of hydropower in Europe, mandatory legal procedures and environmental impact assessment requirements are often...

Even one dam can destroy the river

A recently published study summarises the value of the Vjosa River system as one of the few remaining reference sites for dynamic floodplains in...

Activists demand European political support for a Vjosa National Park in Albania

++ The new slogan, Vjosa National Park Now, is a plea to protect Europe’s last big wild river ++

Albania Faced with a Choice: National Park or Destruction of the Vjosa River

The future of Europe’s largest unspoilt river hangs in the balance

Vjosa: Environmental groups submit proposal for Europe’s first Wild River National Park

++ Because of the Albanian government's inaction, nature conservation organisations are now taking action ++ Vjosa National Park could become a...

No green light for small hydropower in EU Finance Taxonomy

Hydropower is not a sustainable investment. EU Commission should listen to science.

Vjosa: Political game with the future of Europe´s last wild river

++ 94 % of Albanians in favour of establishing Vjosa National Park ++ IUCN confirms the potential of Vjosa River for becoming a National Park ++...

Small hydropower plants in the Balkans soon a thing of the past?

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) announced Nov. 26 that starting in 2021, the government would no longer provide subsidies that support...

Dams on Neretva river: Complaint submitted to Bern Convention

++ NGOs submit a complaint to the Bern Convention against Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting dam-building on the pristine upper Neretva ++ A...