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Central Europe

The ECF’s Central Europe programme focuses on promoting a socially just transition to net-zero in Czechia, Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, where climate change is a public concern but bold political action is still lacking. The programme aims to address energy poverty, boost energy efficiency and savings in buildings, ensure affordable low-carbon transport, and support workers and vulnerable groups affected by the transition. It also highlights the region’s experiences with extreme weather events and constantly seeks new messengers of climate action.

Wojtek Witkowski 1fpya Z2woy Unsplash

Key challenges

  • The East-West “divide”: there is a striking imbalance across the EU when it comes to more ambitious climate policy and domestic decarbonization, which is a major bottleneck to the EU’s ambition.
  • Lack of climate ambition: while the climate crisis is increasingly high on people’s minds, it is still not a major public concern in many countries. Additionally, though most governments recognize the need for climate action, they are not ambitious on climate policies either domestically or at the EU level.
  • Lack of socially acceptable solutions for decarbonization
  • Sustainable and affordable decarbonization opportunities have yet to be identified and grasped in the region to address the economic and social implications of the transition.
  • Lack of climate strategy: Public administration in these countries lacks the capacity for climate change-related issues and is not accustomed to planning in a long-term context. Though the impacts of climate change are already visible, adaptation is not taken seriously enough.


  • Producing a narrative shift from perceiving climate action as a costly burden to embracing the economic opportunities of the transition to a net-zero GHG economy
  • Supporting the net-zero transformation of energy systems, building and residential sector, and transport
  • Developing and defining decarbonisation pathways
  • Supporting the creation of a stronger ministerial and diplomatic nexus between countries to support bold and proactive collaboration
  • Ensuring a socially just transition

How we work

We work on increasing public awareness (making the transition “popular”) through improved communication, broadening national-level climate coalitions and strengthening civil society capacity on the ground. We build political will among conservative/populist governments by supporting dynamic campaigns and the broadening of the climate coalition (for example by reaching out to faith groups, culture actors and other subnational actors).


Tomasz Terlecki

Director, Central Europe Programme

Ondřej Koutský

Strategic Communications Lead, Czechia and Central Europe

Adéla Denková

Senior Associate, Central Europe Programme

Klára Sutlovičová

Senior Associate, Central Europe Programme