As the EU moves towards committing to the decarbonisation of its economy to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050, the Southeast European (SEE) member states are still struggling with dysfunctional energy markets, blatantly inadequate long-term planning capabilities and an overwhelming dependency on fossil fuels. Combined, these factors represent significant impediments to the decarbonisation objectives in the region. The successful transition towards a low-carbon future in the EU relies on both the acknowledgement of the different starting points of the SEE member states in the decarbonisation process and the resolution of the aforementioned problems.
This paper uses Romania as a case study to illustrate the SEE situation. First, this article briefly summarises the general European context and the framework through which member states will cooperate in the area of energy policy. Second, it showcases the energy and climate strategies of Romania. Third, it turns to some of the main barriers that the country is currently facing in reforming its energy markets. The final part of the article summarises the findings, while also suggesting some avenues that may be pursued to overcome the challenges of decarbonisation in SEE.