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Serbian environmental group urges EU leaders to oppose support for Jadar valley lithium mining

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The Association of Environmental Organizations of Serbia (SEOS) has strongly opposed the European Union’s potential backing of the Jadar lithium mining project in a recent letter to key EU officials. Addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, and heads of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), SEOS emphasized Serbian citizens’ firm stance against the project.

SEOS expressed concern over Vice-President Sefcovic’s push to finalize an agreement on critical raw materials trade with Serbia, which they view as supportive of reviving the controversial Jadar project. Despite widespread opposition from Serbian citizens, including petitions and street protests leading to the Serbian government’s abandonment of the project in January 2022, SEOS fears political and business interests may seek its revival.

The association raised questions regarding potential ties between the trade agreement and Slovakia’s InoBat lithium battery company’s activities in Serbia. SEOS highlighted InoBat’s substantial subsidy request from the Serbian government in 2023 and sought assurances from Vice-President Sefcovic regarding any past or future business engagements related to InoBat or the Jadar project.

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SEOS also appealed to President von der Leyen to ensure that Serbia’s EU accession prospects are not conditioned upon supporting a project overwhelmingly rejected by its citizens. The association reaffirmed its commitment to opposing the Jadar lithium project through peaceful means, including mass demonstrations and civil disobedience if necessary, echoing actions taken in 2022.

The letter underscores SEOS’s determination to prevent the implementation of the Jadar lithium project and calls on EU leaders to respect the wishes of Serbian citizens regarding environmental and social impacts.

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