Monday

16th Jul 2018

Opinion

Adriatic Sea faces environmental threat

A potentially perilous environmental case is unfolding in Croatia.

In an attempt to revive the Croatian economy quickly, the Croatian authorities have published an international tender for offshore hydrocarbons exploration in the Adriatic Sea.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • The Adriatic coast is popular with tourists (Photo: turist.hr)

However, the Croatian authorities did not follow EU regulation when they allowed seismic sound mapping in the Adriatic without having conducted a thorough environmental assessment study first.

The Croatian government should have performed such a preliminary environmental impact and seismic survey risk assessment before it allowed mapping company Spectrum to carry out seismic exploration between September 2013 and January 2014 in Croatian Adriatic waters.

An environmental impact risk assessment is crucial to evaluate the effect of the survey on protected species.

It prevents the evaluation of the current state of aquatic biodiversity and distribution of species, which allows you to measure the negative impacts after any offshore drilling.

An environmental impact risk assessment that was done before the mapping, could have helped to plan any measures that need to be taken to protect endangered species.

Such an assessment is crucial to evaluate the effect on protected species, which is something that has been recognised by European lawmakers.

The Environmental Impact Assessment directive has been in place since 1985 and amended several times. It requires an environmental impact assessment is carried out before seismic exploration.

By not complying with this directive, the Croatian authorities are in breach of EU regulation.

Croatia’s actions also threaten the Adriatic’s sensitive ecosystem.

There has been an environmental assessment recently, but it was not enough. Marine scientists of the Croatia-based Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation concluded that the study is incomplete and unprofessional. The assessment lacks a full scope of a scientific evaluation.

Additionally, Croatian officials have not engaged enough with their citizens to measure public opinion on drilling in the Adriatic - apart from brief, formal announcements on the official website of the ministry of economy. As a result, the average citizen is left in the dark over government offshore dealings.

Only a handful of environmental NGO’s, investigative reporters in the country, along with Blue World and its affiliates abroad are following the unfolding of the offshore drama in Croatia, sounding the alarm and calling for a complete moratorium on all hydrocarbon exploration in the Adriatic.

The lack of transparency only heightens media speculation. There are still many questions.

What is the exact role of the company Spectrum? Who covered the seismic exploration cost and under what conditions?

I requested comments from the Croatian Ministries of Economy, Environment and Natural Protection, as well as from Spectrum Geo Limited. The requests were not returned.

Zeljana Grubisic is a research fellow at the Adriatic Institute for Public Policy

Arctic 'no sanctuary' from drilling, says EU

As Arctic ice melts, Europe would be foolish to regard the region as a sanctuary that must be protected from resource extraction, the European Commission has said. Meanwhile, both Russia and Canada are issuing increasingly bellicose statements about their claims to the planet's northern regions.

How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

The suggestion that Russians themselves play a role in the condition of their state today is often dismissed as "xenophobic" or "Russophobic". But if not addressed, the evils of nationalism, chauvinism, and imperialism will continue even after Putin is gone.

Will EU suspend trade deal with Cambodia?

The EU has been slow to react to the collapse of Cambodian democracy - but if it ever chooses to use it, Brussels has substantial influence and leverage over Cambodia.

EU climate diplomacy can make the difference

At this critical time, with climate change increasingly urgent and with reactionary, anti-science forces threatening processes of cooperation, the EU climate mission can reassert the common values and aspirations which Europeans share.

News in Brief

  1. VW owners to get diesel software update free until 2020
  2. Airbnb breaches EU consumer rules, Commission says
  3. EU sees no China free-trade talks
  4. Italy accepts migrant boat after help promises
  5. EU opens case on Siemens' Alstom buyout
  6. Trump: May found my Brexit advice 'too brutal'
  7. Italy will reject EU-Canada trade deal, says deputy PM
  8. Commission: Juncker suffered from sciatica attack at Nato

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  2. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  3. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  4. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  5. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  6. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism
  7. Stage set for Trump-Putin finale
  8. Trump scuppers trade deal with UK under May's Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us