EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said on Tuesday that major investments in economic growth linked to the COVID-19 recovery would be made to support the Western Balkans.
Along with increasing EU guarantees up to €130 billion for investments in southern and eastern EU neighbours and the West Balkan region, he said that an additional €10.5 billion would be set aside through the EU Development Fund to support the neighbourhood.
The support, according to Verhelyi, would be directed at economic recovery, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as energy, transport, digital economy, environmental protection, and the “green economy.”
An additional €1 billion would ensure the Western Balkan region receive guarantees worth €2 billion.
Verhelyi said that a proposal had been submitted to the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to increase to €14.5 billion funding for the next programs supporting the region:
“I’m also very happy to share with you that we made a proposal when it comes to the Pre-Accession Assistance to raise back to the original proposal of the Commission from 2018 the levels of support. We are suggesting to raise it back to €14.5 billion under the next MFF.
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All this will allow us to come forward in the Autumn with a significant, meaningful economic development and investment plan for the Western Balkans region to start to work on connectivity, be it energy, be it transport, to work on the Green agenda in these countries and to work together on integrating them into our digital agenda but also to bring them much faster, much closer to our own economies.”
At the same news conference, the EU High Representative Joseph Borrell explained the aims and means of the Union’s international activities worth of 118 billion euro envisaged in the EU 2021-2027 budget.
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