EC to give €3.3 billion in financial support to Western Balkans

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 29, 2020 20:16

EC to give €3.3 billion in financial support to Western Balkans

April 29 - The European Commission have announced over €3.3 billion of EU financial support mobilised jointly with the European Investment Bank to the benefit of the Western Balkans. The package aims to address the immediate health and humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as help with the social and economic recovery within the region.

“We have a special responsibility to assist in this pandemic our partners in the Western Balkans, as their future clearly lies in European Union. The EU is mobilising a substantial financial package, confirming the strong solidarity. Together we will overcome this crisis and recover. And beyond that, we will continue to support the region, including with the reforms needed on their EU path, as the recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments,” President of the European Commission, Ursulavon der Leyen, said on Wednesday.

The EU financial support package includes reallocations from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance of €38 million of immediate support for the health sector,by delivering essential supplies such as PPE, masks and ventilators; €389 million to address social and economic recovery needs and a €455 million economic reactivation package, in close cooperation with the International Financial Institutions. It also includes a proposal for €750 million of Macro-Financial Assistance and a €1.7 billion package of assistance from the European Investment Bank.

The Western Balkans have also activated the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and have already started to receive assistance through delivery of equipment and repatriation of citizens from the UCPM Member States and Participating States. The Western Balkans were exempted from export authorization of PPE on April 26, following a European Commission proposal.

The European Commission is expected to introduce an Economic and Investment Plan for the region, in order to assist the region in achieving long-term recovery, boost economic growth and support reforms required to move forward on the EU path.

The Commission foresees a doubling in the provision of grants through the Western Balkans Investment Framework and substantially increasing the financial guarantees to support public and private investment in the region through a dedicated Guarantee Instrument under the Western Balkans Investment Framework.

EU heads of State and Government and those of the Western Balkans are expected to gather on May 6, 2020 for an EU-Western Balkans' leaders meeting to tackle common challenges. Although it was initially foreseen as a summit in Zagreb, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting will now take place via a video-call conference. 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 29, 2020 20:16