European Western Balkans

Growth Plan for the Western Balkans adopted by the Council

EU flag; Photo: Pixabay

BRUSSELS – The Council Tuesday gave its final green light to setting up a Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans, a new instrument to support EU-related reforms and economic growth in the region.

As it is stated in a press release, Growth Plan will cover the period from 2024 to 2027 and is expected to provide up to €2 billion in grants and €4 billion in loans to the EU’s six Western Balkan partners in the coming years.

According to the text proposed by the Commission and amended by the European Parliament, preconditions for the support under the Facility shall be that “the Beneficiaries improve, uphold and respect”, among other conditions, effective democratic mechanisms, including a functioning multi-party parliamentary system, safeguard free and pluralistic media and fight against disinformation, and the rule of law.

European Parliament also added a precondition of the “alignment with the Union’s common foreign and security policy, including the adoption of restrictive measures against Russia”.

In order to receive any support under the Facility, each Beneficiary shall submit to the Commission a Reform Agenda for the duration of the Facility.

According to the Commission’s proposal, Reform Agendas shall reflect the assessments in the most recent Enlargement Package and the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.

European Parliament added that the Reform Agendas should also include “the Rule of law report, as well as of the relevant international institutions, including OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission and the relevant reports and resolutions from the European Parliament”.

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