The European Commission announced over €3.3 billion of financial support mobilized jointly with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the benefit of the Western Balkans’ citizens.
This package aims to address the immediate health and resulting humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as help with the social and economic recovery.
“We have a special responsibility to assist our partners in the Western Balkans, as their future clearly lies in European Union”, said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
“The EU is mobilizing 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”, she explained.
Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Olivér Várhelyi noted that the EU acted quickly and comprehensively to support the Western Balkans in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, with “unparalleled financial assistance as well as access to many of the EU’s initiatives”.
“And our work will continue as we prepare an Economic and Investment Plan for the region, to tackle the hard socio-economic impact of the crisis, to modernize economies in the region, support reforms and start closing the development gap, thus bringing concrete benefits to the people faster”, Várhelyi concluded.
The EU financial support package of more than €3.3 billion includes reallocations from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance of €38 million of immediate support for the health sector, in particular through delivering essential supplies to save lives, such as personal protective equipment, masks and ventilators; €389 million to address social and economic recovery needs; and €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 €1.7 billion package of assistance from the European Investment Bank.