Roundtable held for Competent Authorities Responsible for Issuing Integrated Permits

The Ministry of Environmental Protection, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia and the IED Serbia project jointly organised a roundtable for competent authorities from the national, provincial and local levels that are in charge of issuing integrated permits.

The meeting was opened by Ms Aleksandra Imširagić-Đurić, Assistant Minister in front of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, and she used this opportunity to thank the IED Serbia project for the long-time support and the Embassy as the most significant partner in this area. She went on to say that there are 220 companies on the list of facilities that are subject to integrated permitting prepared by the Ministry at the end of 2022 and explained that it is the responsibility of the Ministry, as well as provincial and local authorities, to issue IPPC licenses for these companies. She highlighted the cooperation and initiative of the projects EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia and IED Serbia for supporting this process. She also mentioned the preparation of an ex-post analysis in cooperation with the IED Serbia project and the draft of the new IPPC Law, which will fully transpose the Directive on Industrial Emissions and after its adoption the number of operators subject to this law will significantly increase.

Ms Ida Reuterswärd, First Secretary and Head of the Environmental Protection Program of the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade, welcomed the attendees and mentioned that the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union is coming to an end and that during that time the priority was given to the green transition and energy security. She emphasised that in the essence of the European legislation, there is a constant need for improvement and accordingly the Industrial Emissions Directive is constantly changing and improving the approach to the challenges of industrial pollution. Sweden supports the process of Serbia’s accession to the European Union, the translation of the Green Agenda, and the Directive on Industrial Emissions, and it has been observed that international banks are following these processes in Serbia and are trying to contribute with loans on this path. At the end of her presentation, Ms Reuterswärd shared her enthusiasm for changes for the better that will be realised despite numerous challenges only by joining forces of all actors and concentrating on teamwork.

Ms Bojana Vukadinović, IED Serbia project manager, greeted the participants of the workshop in front of the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy of the University of Belgrade and presented the entire implementation process of the IED Serbia project from the first phase, which was focused on farms and competent authorities at the local level, to the second, which dealt with the food industry and included the preparation of the DSIP for IED and the third phase, which includes all industrial sectors and competent authorities at all levels, and within which the DSIP for Chapter V IED was prepared, and the preparation of the DSIP for the EU-ETS Directive is underway. Ms Vukadinović also presented the cooperation with the project EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia, which assists operators in the preparation of applications for integrated permits, while the IED Serbia project provides support to competent authorities in drafting integrated permits for those IPPC operators.

Mr Radovan Nikčević, manager of the project EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia welcomed the attendees on behalf of UNDP Serbia and thanked for the explanation of the synergy of the two projects implemented by UNDP and TMF and presented in more detail the project EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia, which is being implemented from January 2022. He especially thanked Sweden for its partnership and support, as well as coordination with other projects and initiatives relevant to the implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia.

In the continuance, international experts on the IED Serbia project presented their experiences in aligning national legislation with the EU legal framework in the area of issuing integrated permits in their countries, namely Ms Silviya Zdravkova Bakardzhieva, on the experiences of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Robert Spajić on the experiences of the Republic of Croatia and Mr Frank Clinton about experiences in the Republic of Ireland. Mr Leo Sweeney, also an international expert of the IED Serbia project, spoke about the implementation of BAT Conclusions in the integrated permitting in Ireland, while Mrs. Elena Janković, national expert of the project EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia, spoke about the bottlenecks and challenges facing the competent authorities in Serbia.

The first roundtable discussion began with short briefs by international experts who shared examples related to issuing integrated permits in their countries. The next topic of the roundtable was public participation in the process of issuing integrated permits, which also began with short briefs with examples from practice from Bulgaria, Ireland, and Croatia, and the discussion continued in the spirit of open dialogue.