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The European Parliament adopts Resolution on the €6 billion Growth Plan for the Western Balkans

The European Parliament recently adopted a draft legislative resolution for establishing the Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans, which was presented last year by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The proposal, which aims to assist the Western Balkans with a significant financial package totaling €6 billion for the years 2024-2027, seeks to promote reform and economic growth within the region. This financial support is divided into €2 billion of non-repayable support and €4 billion in concessional loans, designed to enhance the region's infrastructure and institutional capabilities, which are crucial for its integration with the European Union.

According to the text of the resolution, the beneficiary countries have to ensure effective use of the funds by meeting a list of preconditions. These include the improvement and upholding of democratic mechanisms, such as maintaining a multi-party parliamentary system and safeguarding free media and pluralism, as well as the fight against disinformation and the adherence to the rule of law. 

To access the funds, beneficiary countries must draft and submit a detailed Reform Agenda that demonstrates alignment with the EU's broader strategic objectives, including assessments from the Enlargement Package and the Economic and Investment Plan for the region. These agendas are to reflect not only the latest Rule of Law reports but also inputs from international bodies such as the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission. 

The European Parliament has also advocated for an additional monitoring mechanism, including the establishment of an Audit Board to oversee fund management and a “Facility scoreboard” to track the progress on the implementation of reforms, ensuring transparency and accountability in the deployment of the EU’s financial assistance. 

This structured approach aims to foster substantial and sustainable improvements in governance and economic performance in the Western Balkans, thereby aiding their potential EU integration.

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Apr 24, 2024