02. July 2021Local stakeholders for a Just Transition in Western Macedonia

Who are the different actors in Western Macedonia’s transition process and what are their views and attitudes towards delignification of the region? This article gives the answers.

In the Western Macedonian region, the main stakeholders related to the delignification process are as follows:



Overall, the interventions from local stakeholders thus far show a widespread reluctance to accept an accelerated process towards decarbonization and lignite phase-out. Moreover, almost all local stakeholders agree on the following:

  • There is no alternative economic activity that could unequivocally replace the jobs and wealth offered for decades by the local lignite industry. This practically means that the new production model of Western Macedonia must be based on a strongly differentiated production level in terms of complementarity.
  • Given the fact that apart from the primary and manufacturing sectors, due to electrification and hydrogen technology, new productive activities will not be labour-intensive but knowledge-intensive. Thus, investing in Research and Innovation in synergies with the local community is a critical success factor.
  • There must be a strategical balance between external direct investment and the development of an intra-regional production capacity in order to avoid future mono-dependencies.
  • The rehabilitation of depleted lignite mines, spatial planning, the promotion of licensing simplification and the launch of infrastructure projects are recorded as the most important prerequisites by the stakeholders.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the energy transition is not just about choosing the best technical solutions, but also it relies heavily on human habits, behaviours, and should ensure that no region or worker is left behind (“Just Transition”). This applies especially for Western Macedonia, where the energy transition is accompanied by the demand for a generalized productive reconstruction. Consequently, participatory decision-making, transparency of political commitment, and building trust is crucial to a successful and fair energy transition.



Dimitris Ziouzios

Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia


Evangelos Karlopoulos

Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)

Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute (CPERI)