What is the Blue Heart?

Where in Germany can you still find the original wild rivers? You'll need a magnifying glass. But in the Balkans such utopias still exist on a large scale, even today. In the countries bordering the eastern Adriatic  and in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and some parts of Greece, one can still find pristine streams, untouched gorges, extensive alluvial forests, rivers with huge gravel bars and spectacular waterfalls.  This is where the Blue Heart of Europe beats.

Save the Blue Heart of Europe

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Virtually untouched river landscapes

Nowhere else in Europe is there a comparable number and range of natural and undamaged river landscapes as in the Balkans. Over 80 per cent of these vital lifelines have good or even very good ecological status.  By comparison, only 10 per cent of Germany's rivers are still classified as near-natural, whereas 60 per cent are heavily regulated.

Biodiversity hotspot

The blue heart of Europe is a barely known jewel in Europe's natural treasure chest and it is largely uncharted territory. However, the first studies hint at an enormous range of species and habitats. The Balkan wild rivers are amongst Europe's key biodiversity hotspots.

Forty per cent of Europe's endangered species of freshwater molluscs (bivalves and snails) live in the rivers and lakes of the Balkan peninsula. In addition to this, the region has the distinction of having a high density of endemic fish species; there are 69 fish species that occur only in the Balkan rivers and nowhere else in the world.

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Campaign brochure "Save the Blue Heart of Europe"

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Save the Blue Heart of Europe - official website

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News: Blue Heart of Europe

Rebuke for Albania: Bern Convention insists on Albanian government to suspend hydropower projects on Vjosa river

The Bern Convention Standing Committee has decided to keep the case against the Albanian government in regards to the projected Pocem and Kalivac...

Europe’s rivers are damned by dams

++ New study reveals extent of hydropower frenzy all over Europe ++ Plans for more than 8,700 new hydropower plants ++ Devastating impacts on...

“Brave women of Kruščica” receive EuroNatur Award 2019

++ EuroNatur Award goes to dedicated river conservationists from Bosnia-Herzegovina ++ Dam boom threatens the last wild rivers of our continent ++

Another victory for free-flowing rivers inside Mavrovo National Park

++ Construction permits for two hydropower plants annulled after supervision by construction inspectorate ++

New report: hydropower subsidies wreak environmental havoc and line influential pockets in the Western Balkans

Disproportionate public subsidies for small hydropower in the Western Balkans have resulted in widespread environmental damage and have benefited...

Bridge blocked - river saved - honoured with EuroNatur Award

++ EuroNatur Award 2019 goes to the “brave women of Kruščica" ++ Bridge occupied for over 500 days to block construction of hydropower plants ++ Award...

“Brave Women of Kruščica” honoured for river protection

++ River conservationists from Bosnia-Herzegovina receive EuroNatur Award 2019 ++ Energy companies want to exploit the last wild rivers of Europe, but...

Wave of protest against Balkan dam building frenzy

++ First ever international action weeks for Balkan rivers ++ People took to the streets in many countries of the Balkan region ++ They protested...

Hydropower Project Mokrice put on hold

Good news from the Sava: Our appeal against the building of the hydropower plant Mokrice at the Slovenian-Croatian border was successful. The...

North Macedonia: No-go zones for hydropower projects must be designated

++ NGOs, government representatives, experts, hydropower developers and the local community discuss challenges and solutions at an international...

Balkan Rivers in the European Parliament

The Blue Heart team presented the Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers in the European Parliament in Brussels at the event “Save the Balkan Rivers:...

Milestone bank summit in Belgrade for protecting Balkan rivers

++ More transparency needed in financing hydropower ++ Meeting of banks and activists a step towards protecting Balkan rivers ++

Albania fails to comply with Energy Community Law

++ NGOs file complaint against Albania ++ Hydropower projects on Vjosa river clearly breach Energy Community rules ++

Hydropower projects on the Vjosa: Bern Convention opens case-file against Albania

++ Hydropower plant projects Poçem and Kalivaç to be suspended immediately. ++ Standing Committee to the Bern Convention recognizes imminent danger to...

Eco-Masterplan shows value of Balkan Rivers

++ 80,000 kilometers of rivers in the Balkans scientifically assessed ++ 76 percent thereof identified as no-go zones for hydropower development ++...

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