FoE Croatia/Zelena akcija has officially launched a campaign against oil drilling in the Adriatic, together with others in the national environmental network Green Forum, and in cooperation with Greenpeace Croatia and WWF Adria. The aim of the campaign S.O.S. Adriatic (S.O.S za Jadran) is to keep the entire Adriatic Sea oil free, not only by stopping the planned activities in Croatia and Montenegro, but also by ending existing oil production on the Italian side of the Adriatic.
The Croatian government’s plan to sign harmful contracts with five companies—Austrian OMV, American MarathonOil, Croatian-Hungarian company INA, Italian Eni and British Medoilgas—for the purpose of oil and gas drilling in ten blocks of the Adriatic is unacceptable. The whole process so far has been untransparent and rushed. The companies were awarded concessions on 2 January 2015 in a closed government session, without any prior public debate or thematic session in the Parliament. The Strategic Environmental Impacts Assessment, hastily undertaken, was published on 16 January, after the concessions had already been granted. Its content has been deemed ridiculous by many experts.
FoE Croatia’s intention is to include more citizens’ initiatives and civil society organisations in the campaign, and to mobilise the wider public. They have already organised several protest actions over the past year in front of relevant ministries and the government—on 13 February their activists climbed the Ministry of Economy with a 10m banner, and symbolic actions happened around the coast and islands simultaneously. People are starting to wake up and defend the Adriatic Sea—the only source of livelihood for many. They have a long fight ahead of them, as they face pressure from the government and mainstream media, but this campaign has the potential to finally shake up Croatia and the Balkans, and get people to stand up to this dirty industry. For now, you can support the campaign by liking their new Facebook page (currently in Croatian only) and visiting their website.