500+ participants / 80+ speakers / 20+ panels


Day 3

15:00 – 16:00

The Green Energy Transition in Serbia and Europe

The village of Gornje Nedeljice, located in western Serbia’s Jadar and Rađevina region, is a home to one of the largest lithium deposits in the world.  The deposit was discovered in 2004 by the Rio Tinto Group, which originally planned to start its mining operations in 2023. In late 2021 and early 2022, Serbian citizens from all over the country rose against the project. Following the environmental protests, the Serbian government revoked the Rio Tinto lithium mine permits. Yet, the project, as well as the environmental actions, continues. Diplomatic representatives of both the United States of America and the United Kingdom have been vocal supporters of the lithium extraction. The European Union has kept largely silent on the issue, although – as its own 2022 Verssailes Declaration and the Critical Raw Materials Act spell out – extraction or importation of lithium and other critical raw materials are needed to achieve desired decarbonisation and guarantee the Union’s strategic autonomy and European sovereignty. Since China controls a large portion of the global extraction and processing, the EU and the US are now being forced to look closer to home. However, Serbian environmental activists, certain members of the expert community, and other political actors fear environmental devastation if the lithium mine starts its operations. On the other hand, Rio Tinto and other expert studies claim that extraction is possible in an environmentally responsible way. The aim of this panel is to delve into these issues beyond the myths and the politically charged discussions.

Szymon Kardaś
Jovan Rajić
Johanna Sydow
Stevan Vujasinović




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