The conference titled “Serbian-American Relations: Energy Diversification Strategy”, organized by the Serbian-American Friendship Congress (SAFC) and Color Media Communications, was held on May 12, 2022, at the House of the Serbian National Assembly.
The conference was opened by Ivica Dačić, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, who said on the occasion: “We, in Serbia, have long been engaged in the diversification of energy sources, which is one of the state and economic priorities. In this regard, we are very active in all international forums. The Republic of Serbia is a proactive participant in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have undertaken to reduce emissions of harmful gases to zero by 2050 and we are working on that. ”
Aside from Ivica Dačić, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović, the US Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Christopher Hill, the Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Yahel Villan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources of the State Department, Laura Lockman, and MP and founder of the SAFC, Vladimir Marinković, also spoke at the conference.
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlovic, pointed out that a great task awaits Serbia, namely the drafting of “the National Climate and Energy Plan which will show how we see security and stability in the decades ahead”. Ms Mihajlović also said that she was confident that the new government would approve of the Plan.
She also pointed out that at least 40% of the gas Serbia procures must come from another supplier for the country to have a stable energy supply. “We import 90% of gas and that must change. To have real e energy safety, Serbia must build more interconnectors leading to all the country’s neighbours, in addition to the one with Bulgaria, which we will complete in September next year, in order to expand the network of potential suppliers.
We must turn to renewable energy sources and increase the production of clean energy because Serbia should be a country that can attract green investments,” concluded Ms Mihajlović.
The US Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Christopher Hill, stated that sovereignty in the energy sector is very important and will play a central role in the economic development of each country. “The current situation has accelerated the process in which Serbia must diversify its energy sources as soon as possible, and the United States is its partner in that,” the Ambassador added.
The Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Yahel Villan, pointed out that Israel and Serbia have been having strong cooperation in the energy sector in the last few years, adding there is a lot of room for boosting the cooperation. Mr Villan added the two countries have recently signed a renewable energy sources agreement.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources of the State Department, Laura Lockman, stated that the Biden administration has made it clear that one of its primary goals is to promote European energy security through meeting the climate goals we all already share.” The way we do this is by insisting on the benefits of energy diversification, expanding the network of suppliers and implementing new ways of obtaining energy,” she said.
The SAFC’s founder, Vladimir Marinković, pointed out that Serbia is ready to work with the United States, the European Union and other countries, such as Israel, on energy diversification, common values concerning not only economic freedoms, but also human freedoms, rights, democratic capacities, regional integration and the implementation of various initiatives, such as the Open Balkans, which aim to make Serbia’s future in Europe more certain and better.
The conference was moderated by Robert Čoban, President of Color Press Group, who stated at the outset that “Color Press Group held a number of conferences dedicate to energy topics in 2015 and 2016, and at one of them, the then US Embassy’s Economic Attaché, Anna Boulos, said that Serbia must work on the energy security and that that could be the country’s Achilles’ heel. “Looking at the current situation and the changed geopolitical circumstances, we see how much we still have to deal with this topic,” she said on the occasion.
The topic of the energy diversification strategy, both in the world and in our country, is exceptionally important for energy stability, which is a prerequisite for the normal functioning of all countries.