SKOPJE (North Macedonia), July 1 (SeeNews) - The European Commission has prepared a 28 billion euro ($33.24 billion) economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans, the European Commission's directorate general for neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations (DG NEAR) said.
The plan will include grants, guarantees and loans for sustainable transport, clean energy, digital and green future, skills and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), DG NEAR said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“The plan offers a path for a successful regional economic integration to help accelerate convergence with the EU and close the development gap between our regions, ultimately speeding up the process of EU integration. This plan should help to transform the Western Balkans into one of the most attractive regions for investments in the world," neighbourhood and enlargement commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said when presenting the plan.
The Commission proposes mobilising up to 9 million euro of IPA III funding by 2027 to support economic convergence with the EU primarily through investments and support to competitiveness and inclusive growth, sustainable connectivity, and the twin green and digital transition, according to the plan.
Furthermore, the Commission proposes boosting the investment capacity of the region by the mobilisation of a new Western Balkans guarantee facility, which is expected to raise investments of up to 20 billion euro.
In order to support reaching the goals of the plan and to ensure the sustainability of investment in the region, the Commission will soon propose a dedicated agenda for the Western Balkans on innovation, research, education, culture, youth and sport.
($ = 0.8422 euro)