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Adriatic countries united in combating oil drilling in the Adriatic Sea

Today (27.10.2015.), in Split, the S.O.S. Adriatic coalition gathered representatives of environmental organizations and initiatives from Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Italy to form a common platform for protecting the Adriatic from oil pollution.

Since governmental elites and oil companies are misguiding public opinion in similar ways in all of the Adriatic countries, we decided to address this by forming a common platform to combat the destruction of the entire Adriatic.

“Threats to the Adriatic go beyond national borders and can be dealt with only at international level. There is just one Adriatic and we can all benefit from it only if we share the responsibility of protecting it”, said Mosor Prvan from the Association Sunce from Split.

Mattia Lolli from the Italian national Association Legambiente commented that the same rhetoric is used by governments in all Adriatic countries.

“In Croatia, you are being told to proceed with oil drilling because we do the same in Italy, and in Italy they say we need to proceed because Croatia will drill. What they do not say is that in Italy there is a large movement against the oil wells which brings together not only environmental organizations, but also local institutions, fishermen, farmers, the church and many others. As a result, more than 60 000 people are taking to the streets to protest,” Lolli concluded. The mobilization of citizens in Italy has produced concrete results. Thanks to the pressure and work of the Italian movement against oil drilling, 10 regional governments have applied for a national referendum to amend the harmful laws and have already posted complaints to European Commission.

On the other hand, the public in Montenegro is not informed of their government’s plans when it comes to the Adriatic.

“The process of exploration and exploitation of the Adriatic Sea is run in the same manner in all countries, with extreme lack of transparency and adequate public information. The moment when citizens start getting the right information about the impact of oil exploration on their health and the environment, their opinions significantly change as shown by the latest research,” said Natasa Kovacevic from Montenegrin Association Green Home.

The S.O.S. Adriatic coalition commissioned a survey on the subject of oil in the Adriatic Sea that was conducted by agency Ipsos Puls this October, on a sample of 1000 respondents from all over Croatia. When asked, “are you for or against the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Adriatic?” 49.4% of citizens pleaded against, 37.9% pro, while 12.7% do not know. Respondents from the Croatian region Dalmatia  express particular opposition – the ratio is 56% against drilling, and 31% for.

“The latest survey shows that exactly half of the citizens oppose drilling the Adriatic, and little over a third approve. Only a year ago the situation was reversed. What happened in the meantime and made a difference is that the citizens got better informed on this subject with the help of associations, initiatives and prominent individuals. This result is a victory for all of us,” concluded Zoran Tomic, the head of Greenpeace in Croatia.

The S.O.S. Adriatic coalition invites everybody to attend tonight’s event “Party against drilling” which includes an exhibition of the winning photographs from this summer’s photo contest that we organised. This event to celebrate our victories will be held at the club Quasimodo in Split at 20:00 (a link to the Facebook announcement).