Online Workshop – Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: What changes for Western Balkans Companies?

As the world marches towards a more sustainable future, the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6 CIF) took a significant step in guiding businesses through the complexities of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

On 6 September 2023, the WB6 CIF in cooperation with European Commission (Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) and Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD)) hosted an online event titled “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: What changes for Western Balkans Companies?”. The event gathered more than 400 participants from all 6 Western Balkans economies that participated online and in hybrid mode.

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a cornerstone of the European Green Deal and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, designed to reshape the global business landscape and combat climate change. This event, organized by WB6 CIF, brought together experts and representatives from the European Commission and national authorities to shed light on the path forward for businesses in the Western Balkans.

– This meeting was organized in the framework of the WB6-EU Business platform, which serves the purpose of setting the basis for continued and structured dialogue between EU decision makers, regional decision makers and the WB6 business community. Being continuation to the Meeting organized in December 2021, today companies from the WB region will have the opportunity to directly get introduced with the specificities of the CBAM, but also to get guidance on all inquiries and quandaries related to its implementation, which is especially important bearing in mind that the transitional period starts in less than one month. One additional aspect in relation to CBAM which will be tackled today is the response from national authorities on potential plans on introducing carbon pricing on national, or even on regional level, in order to reduce or avoid payment of CBAM fees, and further contribute to the efforts for green and just transition, said Tatjana Shterjova Dushkovska, Secretary General of WB6 CIF.

– Climate change is a reality, and actions must be taken to deal with climate change. The objective behind the CBAM mechanism is not to create additional administrative burden or to impose additional expenditures on the companies from the Western Balkans region, but to contribute to reducing carbon emissions – and national authorities from the Western Balkan economies can contribute to this goal if they themselves decide to introduce carbon pricing. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans shares the goal of achieving carbon-neutrality by 2050, and reduction of the emission by at least 55 percent compared to the 1990 levels in 2030, said Maria Asenius, Economic Advisor at Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)David Boublil, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission, and Ivica Orlović, representing the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), provided attendees with essential insights into the CBAM Implementing guidelines and the practical implementation of the new rules. In addition, the representatives of local national authorities had the opportunity to share the progress of their countries in regard to CBAM.

Apart from the contributions of the EU and national representatives, the event facilitated open discussions with industry peers and decision-makers on various aspects of CBAM, including carbon leakage prevention and the European Union’s climate ambitions. This interactive dialogue allowed participants to exchange ideas, gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead, and collectively contribute to shaping the future of Balkan businesses.

The event also provided an excellent platform for networking, allowing attendees to forge valuable connections with fellow business leaders. These connections, coupled with the insights gained during the event, are poised to drive success for companies in the region as they navigate the CBAM transition.

In conclusion, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: What changes for Western Balkans Companies? event organized by WB6 CIF served as a pivotal moment for businesses in the Western Balkans. Attendees left with a clearer understanding of CBAM’s intricacies, a network of valuable contacts, and the knowledge needed to thrive in the evolving landscape of Balkan businesses. It was a step forward towards a greener, more sustainable future for the region’s companies.


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