9th November 2023, Skopje – Republic of North Macedonia and other countries in the region are given a strong tool for implementation of reforms on their road to EU through the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which will provide for connectivity, reform support and financial support in the form of grants and concessional loans. As the Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, pointed out at the meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union to North Macedonia, David Geer, it is a helping hand lent by the EU to the Western Balkan countries to be availed for creating favourable economic conditions for both the citizens and the private sector.
All Ministers of Finance and Economy from the region and lead negotiators for the requirements under the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans will attend the Ministerial Meeting to be held on 17th November in Skopje.
The Plan enhances country’s economic integration with the European Union’s single market, boosts economic integration through the Common Regional Market, accelerates fundamental reforms and increases financial assistance to support the reforms through a Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans. Boosted economic integration with the EU single market will be achieved through free movement of goods, services and workers, access to the Single Euro Payments Area, facilitation of road transport, integration into industrial supply chains, integration and de-carbonization of energy markets, as well as Digital Single Market. Western Balkan countries will be invited to prepare a reform agenda and to submit it within three months from the entry into force of the Regulation on Establishing the Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans. The Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans will cover a period of 4 years (2024 – 2027), including EUR 6 billion financial support.
As discussed at the meeting, North Macedonian Progress Report notes the progress achieved with the adoption of the Organic Budget Law, which provides for fiscal rules, Fiscal Council and medium-term budgetary framework. EC recommendations are adhered to as regards the preparation of by-laws and further operationalization of the Organic Budget Law. With respect to fiscal sustainability, the Government remains committed to fiscal consolidation within the public finance management by continuously reducing the budget deficit. As pointed out during the meeting, the reform agenda prepared by the Western Balkan countries will be the key driver of the Growth Plan, i.e. its implementation will bring benefits of the European Union’s single market and the Reform and Growth Facility, with EUR 2 billion as non-repayable support and EUR 4 billion in concessional loans available in the period 2024 – 2027. Reforms should focus on green agenda, digitalization and innovations, as well as de-carbonization, i.e. energy transition from coal to renewables.
EC announced the Progress Reports of the Western Balkan countries on Wednesday, together with the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, bringing economic benefits for the businesses, the workers, the consumers, also bringing benefits for the EU integration of the countries which are to build stronger and more resilient economies.