Western Balkans: An Economic and Investment Plan to support the economic recovery and convergence

(Co-operators:
Photographer: Aurore Martignoni

European Union, 2020
Source: EC – Audiovisual Service)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to spur the long-term economic recovery of the region, support a green and digital transition, foster regional integration and convergence with the European Union.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said: “The citizens of the Western Balkans are part of Europe and we have a shared interest in helping these six partners move forward on their EU path. With the Economic and Investment Plan, we are backing our Enlargement Package assessment with action, providing deep and strong support for economic recovery and reform – for a modern, greener and more prosperous Western Balkans delivering better to their citizens on the road to the EU.”

Presenting the new Plan, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, commented: “Today we are presenting our Economic and Investment plan for the Western Balkans to boost the economic development and recovery of the region. We will mobilise up to €9 billion of funding for investment flagships in the areas of transport, energy, green and digital transition, to create sustainable growth and jobs. The Plan also offers a path for a successful regional economic integration to help accelerate convergence with the EU and close the development gap between our regions, ultimately speeding up the process of EU integration. This plan should help to transform the Western Balkans into one of the most attractive region for investments in the world. Implementation of course will need to go hand in hand with reforms.”

The Economic and Investment Plan sets out a substantial investment package mobilising up to €9 billion of funding for the region. It will support sustainable connectivity, human capital, competitiveness and inclusive growth, and the twin green and digital transition.

In parallel to the Economic Investment plan to support the region, the Commission has presented guidelines for implementing the Green Agenda in the Western Balkans, expected to be adopted at the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia in November 2020. It foresees actions around five pillars. These are (i) climate action, including decarbonisation, energy and mobility, (ii) circular economy, addressing in particular waste, recycling, sustainable production and efficient use of resources, (iii), biodiversity, aiming to protect and restore the natural wealth of the region, (iv), fighting air, water and soil pollution and (iv) sustainable food systems and rural areas. Digitalisation will be a key enabler for the above five pillars in line with the concept of the dual green and digital transition.

The Plan identifies ten investment flagships to support major road and railway connections in the region, renewable energy and the transition from coal, renovation of public and private buildings to increase the energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste and waste water management infrastructure, as well as the roll out of broadband infrastructure. Other flagships include increased investments in the private sector to boost competitiveness and innovation, in particular of small and medium sized companies and a Youth Guarantee.

In addition to the EU’s significant grant funding to the region, the EU can provide guarantees to help reduce the cost of financing for both public and private investments and to reduce the risk for investors. Support through the new Western Balkans Guarantee facility, under the EU External Action Guarantee and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus, is expected to mobilise potentially investments of up to €20 billion in the next decade.

The investment package will be a key driver for facilitating increased public and private investments in the region by European and international financial institutions.

Better connecting the economies of the Western Balkans within the region and with the EU requires a strong commitment from the Western Balkans to implement fundamental reforms, deepen regional economic integration and develop a common regional market on the basis of the EU acquis in order to make the region a more attractive investment area.

The Commission has been supporting the efforts of the Governments of the region to develop a new vision for the creation of a regional economic area expected to be endorsed at the Sofia Summit in November 2020. The EU will strive to bring the region closer to the EU Single market. Good governance is the foundation for sustainable economic growth. Boosting investment and economic growth will therefore only be possible if the Western Balkans firmly commit to and implement fundamental reforms in line with European values.

As reflected in the enhanced enlargement methodology, partners which progress in reform priorities should benefit from increased funding and investments.

Background

The Commission also adopted today the 2020 Enlargement Package, its annual assessment of the implementation of fundamental reforms in the Western Balkan partners and Turkey. These assessments are accompanied by recommendations and guidance on these reform priorities, which remain at the heart of the EU accession process. The implementation of these reforms, in particular in the rule of law area, will be crucial for the success of this economic plan and fostering sustainable economic development in the region.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

These 5 industries can drive digital financial inclusion

Can we balance conservation and development? Science says yes

Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle shows concrete results for EU citizens

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

How Bangladesh’s leaders should respond to the economic threats of COVID-19

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

Mobile health: The future of global healthcare

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Instability in Africa’s Sahel, spreading outwards, Security Council told

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

The West is struggling to hit its climate targets. What would the developing world do differently?

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

As Yemen relief operations face funding gap, timing of surge in violence ‘couldn’t be worse’

A European student just sets the question of the day: What kind of education policies are missing in Europe?

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

European Union policy for improving drought preparedness and mitigation

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

‘Passport to dignity’ that schools represent may expire fast, without emergency funding warns UN Palestine refugee agency

Precision medicine should be accessible to all

We have to fight for a fairer tech industry for women

Madrid is banning high-polluting vehicles from the city centre

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Disability inclusion, minimum wage, and LGBTI rights in Botswana

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

“Will TTIP solve the massive EU-US unemployment? Absolutely not!” A revealing Sting Exclusive with Tim Bennett from the Transatlantic Business Council

The financial future of Eurozone on the agenda of Friday’s ECOFIN council

Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users, says UN chief

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

Menu for change: why we have to go towards a Common Food Policy

Aid convoy for north-east Syria postponed over security concerns – UN relief chief

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Meet the man who drove from the Netherlands to Australia without visiting a gas station

Is there a way out of the next financial crisis? Can more printed money or austerity save us all?

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

How bad could British healthcare get for its citizens abroad post-Brexit?

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Going climate-neutral: expert-group recommendations to help energy-intensive industries contribute to the EU’s 2050 target

COVID-19: MEPs want safe vaccines, full transparency and liability for companies

How do we make artificial intelligence more humane?

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

EU-China: Council authorises signature of the agreement on geographical indications

5 shocking facts about inequality, according to Oxfam’s latest report

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

It’s time to build a responsible media supply chain

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

Myanmar willing to repatriate ‘verified returnees’ from Bangladesh

From farms to supermarkets: MEPs approve new EU rules against unfair trading

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s