3rd September 2023, Skopje – The дifference between the status as an EU candidate country and a Member State thereof, is by 21.8 times more resources under the Funds to be available to our country upon joining the EU. As per the approximate calculations, the EU membership will generate additional EUR 2,868 per capita in the country, i.e. additional EUR 5.2 billion in five years, equaling the amount of our 2023 State Budget. “These funds will provide for improved infrastructure, better living conditions, more operating assets for our businesses and higher living standard for our workers”, as Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi wrote in his most recent column.
Minister of Finance indicated that as the country approaches the Union, more Funds, both development and structural, are unlocked, available for usage thereby. He makes comparison between the Cohesion Fund, destined for the EU Member States and EU Pre-Accession Funds. The Cohesion Fund provides support to EU Member States with a Gross National Income per capita below 90% of the EU -27 average. The Cohesion Fund will be used for providing financial contributions in the fields of environment and trans-European networks in the area of transport infrastructure.
“In the period 2021-2027, the Cohesion Fund concerns Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia or around 128 million inhabitants of the Union. In the period 2021-2027, EUR 392 million was made available thereto via this Fund, or as per the rough estimates, approximately EUR 3,000 per capita at these countries (with total population of 128 million inhabitants). During the same period, Pre-Accession Fund – IPA III (2021-2027) is made available to the candidates or the potential candidate countries, amounting to total of EUR 14.2 billion. As per the approximate estimates, under IPA III, around EUR 140 per capita are provided for the citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey (with a total population of 103 million inhabitants). To sum up, the difference between the status as an EU candidate country and a Member State thereof, is EUR 2,868 per capita, i.e. 21.8 times more resources under the Funds (3,006/138=21.8)”, Besimi wrote.
Minister of Finance also indicated that the EU foresees many other additional Funds for its Member States. In the period 2021-2027, the EU Budget is estimated at around EUR 2,000 billion as funds aimed at supporting the following areas: Single Market, Innovation and Digital, Cohesion, Resilience and Values; Natural Resources and Environment; Migration and Border Area Management; Neighborhood and the World and the European Public Administration.
As of his latest column, Minister also announces the third annual Conference at Skopje Economic and Finance Forum (SEFF), which this year’s topic of discussion will cover the effects and the dynamics as regards the EU accession. Besimi announced the presence of top officials from the European Commission, the European Development Banks, international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, USAID, representatives from the Governments in the region, diplomats, business sector representatives, academicians, representatives of the public, etc.