Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia obtain more than four-fifths of their energy needs from fossil fuels. The market is politically controlled by local elites and Russia, which plays a key role and uses its position to leverage political influence over the region.

Russian pseudo-private energy giants own Serbia’s oil and gas reserves, control imports and trade, and are often used as a tool to exert influence on strategic political and economic decisions – not only in the energy sector. It further controls large parts of the energy market and production in Bosnia, Macedonia and – to a lesser extent – in Montenegro. Crucially, significant political control over the sector has led to it being used by local autocratic elites as an instrument for retaining questionable practices, manipulating the market playing field, and further increasing over-employment in public enterprise.