The Economic Reform Programme (ERP) 2020-2022 was discussed by 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 at their annual economic policy dialogue meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
The highlight of the meeting were the outstanding challenges in the public health, economic and social aspects in Western Balkans, Turkey and the EU Member States created with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The parties agreed that this year’s economic policy dialogue will focus on measures providing an immediate fiscal, economic and social policy response to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, as well as transition to more structural measures to foster the medium-term recovery. As regards Kosovo’s economic situation in 2019, economic growth remained relatively robust during 2019, led by consumption and private investment. At the same time, major structural obstacles to growth and competitiveness remain a challenge.
This year’s meeting reviewed the Kosovo Economic Reform Programme, focusing on effective and well-coordinated structural reforms that will contribute to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and accelerate the post-crisis economic recovery. In particular to the challenges posed by Covid-19, Kosovo should strengthen the public health sector, preserve employment and improve social protection, enhance the business environment and provide support to the private sector.
Nataliya Apostolova, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative, underlined that by participating in the ERP exercise Kosovo and the Western Balkans mirror the European Semester process.
"The implementation of the reform measures outlined in this year’s ERP will focus on and contribute to Kosovo’s capacity to manage and mitigate the unprecedented public health, social and economic impact created during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. In strong solidarity, the EU has provided medical support to Kosovo to fight the pandemic crisis, and financial support to address the socio-economic impact. Implementation of the structural reforms not only will bring Kosovo even closer to the EU but more importantly they will bring tangible benefits for the quality of life of Kosovo people."
Besnik Bislimi, Kosovo's on duty Minister of Finance and Transfers and Economic Reform Programme Coordinator welcomed the approval of the Joint Conclusions on Economic and Financial Dialogue and said: “The Government of Kosovo approved the emergency fiscal package, which supports business community, employees, and the beneficiaries of social assistance. The policy guidance reflects the need to tackle important measures on the macro-financial framework, financial sector and structural reforms, such as the one made through the fiscal package resulting in 14,213 workers registered in the formal sector. Therefore, efforts of the Government for economic recovery package will include support for the private sector and employees affected by the crisis, and structural reforms on specific sectors to contribute to development of the overall economy. The Government is thankful for the support that has been pledged by different development partners, including EU for the financial support and policy dialogue”.
The Economic Reform Programme is a dialogue on economic governance between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey. The ERP is meant to prepare the region for future participation in the EU economic policy coordination system known as the European Semester.
This year, six specific targeted reform measures were agreed upon:
Please see below the webnews published: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/05/19/western-balkans-and-turkey-joint-conclusions-of-the-economic-and-financial-dialogue-of-19-may-2020/
The Joint Conclusions can be found here: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/44029/st08101-en20.pdf