From: Exit Staff
EU Agrees to Open ‘Green Agenda’ Cluster with Serbia amidst Environmental Protests

EU member states have agreed to open Cluster 4 “Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity” of accession negotiations with Serbia which includes chapters on transport, energy, environmental protection and climate change, Serbian state television RTS announced on Tuesday.

The decision is expected to be adopted by EU ambassadors on Wednesday, and officially announced on December 14 following an EU ministerial meeting.

News of the decision came amidst environmental protests across Serbia. 

Ten of thousands of Serbs rallied by the opposition have been protesting for over two weeks against government plans to have a huge lithium mine constructed in the country which environmentalists maintain will destroy the environment.

They also accuse President Aleksandar Vucic’s majority of passing a law that allows expropriation of private property in less than a week when the government deems it to be in the national interest. Critics say this will benefit private companies like the several Chinese-owned facilities polluting the country’s environment.

Serbia is one of the most polluted countries in Europe for which environmentalists blame government corruption and lax regulation in order to attract foreign investments.

Protesters are also demanding Vucic to repeal a recent law lowering the threshold for referendums, which is expected to be used to legitimize the construction of the lithium mine.

The government maintains that Serbia needs these laws to secure infrastructure projects and development.

After signing the law on referendums, Vucic called on protestors to sit in talks with him: “What is important is that we talk and try to solve problems.”