Monday

15th Oct 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.

... or 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.

Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it

If my region in the Sahara were excluded, it would strongly undermine our development, with a risk of opening the door to radicalisation and undermining the stability of the whole Mediterranean region, especially with respect to security and migration.

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us