Introduction

Julije Domac

Yes, we are almost here!

From Antemurale Christianitatis1 to the 28th flag in front of Berlaymont building, centuries were needed to reach this moment and the long expected Croatian accession to the EU on 1st July 2013. Despite the long process, it still feels much more like going home than just a political and administrative procedure intended to open and support unique economic and political partnership between Croatia and 27 other Member countries across the Europe.

Croatia can certainly look forward to all what the EU has delivered over a half of the century - peace, stability and prosperity, rule of law and rising living standards but – to no surprise, many Croatian friends and partners are already here. For decades, young Croatian experts attended World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels, Upper Austria to gain inspirational insight into beautiful world of renewable energy. Motivation and mentoring approach was offered by a UK SAVE energy agency, established in 2000, to create Croatia’s first regional energy agency back in 2008.  Croatian experts have been participating in the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme as evaluators since 2004 while Croatia was the first country from the Western Balkans region to join the program of EU on renewable energy which widely opened the door for Croatian participation in the Intelligent Energy Europe programme as partners and more recently, even as coordinators of successful project proposals. This introduced co-financing for many sustainable large-scale energy projects in Croatia, and supported founding of local or regional energy management agencies in sectors such as building, industry, transport, urban areas, consumer products, power and heat generation, and cooperation with developing countries.

Today, Croatian regions and energy agencies are working together with their colleagues to enable Europe to face the energy supply challenges of the future and the effects these will have on growth and the environment. Together is the main message of this event to be held on 22 January 2013 at the premises of the Croatian Chamber of Economy in Brussels. No doubt that many steps remain to be taken before Croatian regions and energy agencies will reach the level of their European partners. However, the vision, enthusiasm and even some results are already there – this is why Croatian projects from North-west Croatia were awarded by ManagEnergy Local Energy Award in 2011 and European Solar Prize Award in 2012. They will be proudly showcased at the conference together with best practice by some of the most renowned European energy agencies. The event will certainly have high-level profile involving political representatives from both executive and regional level. This will show our shared strong commitment to creating a sustainable energy development for new, enlarged Europe.

We look forward to welcoming you to Brussels this January for this premiere and unique event.

Julije Domac
Managing Director at REGEA

 

1Antemurale Christianitatis (Latin for the Bulwark of Christianity) was a label used for a country defending the frontiers of Christian Europe from the Ottoman Empire. Pope Leo X called Croatia the Antemurale Christianitatis in 1519, given that Croatians made significant contributions to the struggle against the Turks. The advancement of Ottoman Empire in Europe was stopped on Croatian soil, which could be in this sense regarded as a historical gate of European civilization.