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Brussels, 25 May 2018: today the Western Balkans and Turkey jointly adopted conclusions with policy guidance based on the countries' Economic Reform Programmes. The aim of the dialogue is to help the countries concerned improve their macroeconomic stability, management of public finances and to boost competitiveness and long-term growth in the region.
"The Economic Reform Programmes and today's high level dialogue are there to help our partner countries trigger more ambitious reforms. While progress achieved is welcome, more efforts are needed to improve fiscal frameworks and public finances, deepen macro-economic stability and support a shift to a more growth-friendly public spending", commented Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.
"Today all seven partners committed themselves to deepen economic and social reforms with the overall aim of boosting competitiveness and growth. The focus should now be on the vigorous implementation of these reforms so that people in the region can see tangible results: more and better jobs and more inclusive growth", added Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
The jointly adopted policy guidance is based on Economic Reform Programmes(ERPs), which the authorities prepare annually and submit to the European Commission; similar to what EU member states do in the European Semester. The ERPs play a key role in improving economic policy planning and steering reforms to boost competitiveness and improve conditions for inclusive growth and job creation. These structural reforms range from increasing the quality of education and bridging the skills gap that contribute to the very high levels of unemployment to improving the business environment and investment climate by fighting corruption and the grey economy, cutting red tape and strengthening the judiciary.
The exercise is meant to support the EU's enlargement partners in gradually meeting the economic criteria for accession to the EU and thereby ensuring more competitive, prosperous and inclusive economies that cater to the needs of citizens.