Few words have altered their meaning in the light of economic change as much as energy. Once a term that defined the physical or spiritual power of human beings, since the Industrial Revolution it has come to denote forms of power that mankind has learned to tap from the environment: electricity, oil, nautral gas and, more recently, nuclear and alternative power.
A looming crisis over energy has hit the Countries of South East Europe at an unfortunate time. No sooner have most ordinary poeple in this countries finally gained access to energy on a scale that the Western Europeans have long taken for granted, than their governments alerady face pressure to cut carbon emissions though the adoption of alternative, cleaner energy. At the same time the geografical location of these countries has made them subjects of geopolitical rivalries, with both Russia and the European Union wooing them to their often-conflicting agendas. These factors explain why our choice of energy as this year’s theme for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence appeared especially appropriate.
Power Struggle: Meeting Global Energy Challenges in the Balkans is the product of original research of ten journalists selected from South East Europe to participate in the 2008 programme of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. Initiated by ERSTE Foundation and Robert Bosch Stiftung, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, this programme responds with financial and professional support to the growing need in the region to foster quality reporting, ecourage regional networking amongst journalists and advance balance coverage on complex issues that are central to the region as well as to the European Union.