The European Commission Plans to Allocate 6 Billion Euros for the Development of the Western Balkans
The European Commission has proposed to provide 6 billion euros to six Western Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - to implement a development plan and integrate into the European Union.
This was reported by AP, citing the words of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The decision was announced during the annual talks called the Berlin Process. This is an international initiative aimed at strengthening cooperation between selected EU member states and the Western Balkans.
This year's meeting was held in Tirana, the capital of Albania, with the participation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany.
As a result of the meeting, the EU announced an investment plan, within which countries will receive 2 billion euros in subsidies and 4 billion euros in loans, provided they undertake necessary reforms. Ursula von der Leyen expressed hope that the plan will be approved during the EU budget review until 2027.
The goal is to accelerate growth and investment in the region, which currently lags behind the EU average at only 35%. The financing plan is part of the EU's policy aimed at encouraging Western Balkan countries to carry out substantial reforms, including improving political and economic institutions, regulatory environments for businesses, combating corruption, and eradicating organized crime.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes that the "Berlin Process" is the best instrument not only to unlock the full potential of regional cooperation but also to expedite the integration of all Western Balkan countries into the EU.
With effective reform implementation, individual countries can join the EU's single market in various sectors, including goods and services, automotive transport, energy, customs cooperation, e-commerce, and electronic payments.
The six Western Balkan countries are at different stages of EU integration. Serbia and Montenegro have been negotiating membership for several years, while Albania and North Macedonia initiated the dialogue last year, and Bosnia and Kosovo are just beginning their integration process.
It's worth noting that the European Union has already allocated approximately 16 billion euros in investments to the region out of the promised 30 billion euros for the Western Balkans over three years ago.
Earlier, the Mediterranean countries announced their request for two billion euros of assistance from the European Union to combat migration.