Pristina, 23 May 2017- The Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met today in Brussels for their annual economic policy dialogue.
The submitted 2017 Economic Reform Programmes (ERPs) of the Western Balkans and Turkey outline the medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal framework as well as structural reforms affecting areas such as labour markets and education, energy, innovation and the business environment to enhance competitiveness and long-term growth.
The programmes cover the period 2017-2019. They have been assessed by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Based on these assessments, Joint Conclusions with country-specific policy guidance were agreed and adopted by all seven enlargement partners and the EU at ministerial level on 23 May 2017. The implementation of the reforms outlined in the programmes, and in particular of the policy guidance agreed upon in the dialogue with the EU, will be reviewed in next year's ERP exercise.
On this occasion, the Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative, Nataliya Apostolova, underlined that by participating in the ERP exercise Kosovo and Western Balkans mirror a similar process undertaken by the EU member States called the European Semester.
"The process aims at ensuring macro-economic and fiscal stability by implementing structural reforms that foster economic growth, improve competitiveness and job creation. Together with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, and the European Reform Agenda as its implementing tool, the Economic Reform Programme is a mechanism to develop the economy and bring Kosovo closer to the EU."
In the context of the ERP dialogue, Kosovo agreed to strengthen their economic planning and to take steps towards establishing an independent oversight mechanism for fiscal policy. Kosovo also agreed to strengthen institutional capacities for public procurement and investment planning and management to improve investment, and to address the underlying causes for the difficult access to finance for enterprises. The authorities committed themselves to complete the risk assessments of sectors most vulnerable to the informal economy and take measures to reduce the informal economy.
Kosovo also agreed to establish a financing mechanism and provide incentives to increase energy efficiency of households and private sector enterprises. It also pledged to continue deregulation of energy prices and gradual adjustment of energy tariffs to reflect actual costs.
Kosovo agreed to adopt an action plan for tackling youth unemployment, to reform vocational education and training and higher education on sectors with labour demand, to increase enrolment in pre-school education and to strengthen the Employment Agency.
The Conclusions on Kosovo as well as the press release issued by the EU Council can be found under the following links: