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, North 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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Why Albania Should Shift Away From Hydropower and Preserve the Last Free-Flowing River in Europe

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News: Blue Heart of Europe

Two studies for the restoration of the Sava River and its floodplain published

Two brand-new studies for the revitalization of the Sava River and its floodplain have been published presented to key stakeholders from 19 to 22...

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...