As EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell commented: “The European Union is not complete without the Western Balkans. A credible enlargement policy is an investment in peace and security for the whole of Europe, even more so in times of increasing global challenges.”
Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans
The Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans aims to spur the long-term recovery, accelerate a green and digital transition, and foster regional cooperation and convergence with the EU.
High Representative/Vice-President Borrell said: “The citizens of the Western Balkans are part of Europe and we have a shared interest in helping these six partners move forward on their EU path. With the Economic and Investment Plan, we are backing our Enlargement Package assessment with action, providing deep and strong support for economic recovery and reform – for a modern, greener and more prosperous Western Balkans delivering better to their citizens on the road to the EU.”
The Economic and Investment Plan sets out a substantial investment package mobilising up to €9 billion of funding for the region. It will support sustainable connectivity, human capital, competitiveness and inclusive growth, and the twin green and digital transition. Green and digital transitions have tangible impact for the people and are essential components for the partners’ alignment to EU policies.
With this Plan, the EU is showing its commitment to the economic recovery of the Western Balkan partners in the perspective of their future in the European Union.
The Commission adopted its Communication on EU enlargement policy and the 2020 Enlargement Package assessing the implementation of fundamental reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey and recommending the way forward.
As EU High Representative/Vice-President Borrell said: "Reports on the Enlargement Package provides a rigorous assessment that indicates the way forward, highlighting what has been achieved and where there is still hard work to be done.”
The report stresses that a credible enlargement policy is a geostrategic investment in peace, security and economic growth in the whole of Europe, more so in times of increasing global challenges and divisions. The firm and merit-based prospect of full EU membership for the Western Balkans is in the European Union's very own political, security and economic interest. Also known as “the New Enlargement Methodology”, the Commission’s Communication “Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans, endorsed by Member States in March 2020, underlines the importance of a merit-based accession process built on trust, mutual confidence and clear commitments by the European Union and the Western Balkans, with an even stronger focus on fundamental reforms.