Information News

Joksimović: The EU will increase funds for the recovery of Serbia and the WB

April 30 2020 | Belgrade

Joksimović: The EU will increase funds for the recovery of Serbia and the WB

“The EU’s investments and intentions to help and support the recovery after the pandemic have been extremely important for encouraging the short-term and long-term recovery of both Serbia and the entire region, as well as a significant incentive to the reform process and the approximation of the region to the EU,” said Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović.

Today, Joksimović has participated in a video-conference of the Western Balkan ministers of foreign and European affairs and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, in preparation for the upcoming video-summit of WB and EU leaders.

According to the Ministry of European Integration, the conference included a general presentation of the European Commission’s Communication, which was developed to demonstrate the Commission’s contribution and support to the Western Balkans in tackling the effects of COVID-19 and socio-economic recovery of the region after the pandemic, and which will constitute an important part of the agenda of the EU–WB video-summit to be held on 6 May 2020.

At the video-conference, Commissioner Várhelyi presented the EC’s positions and plans for the EU–WB meeting at the highest level, emphasising that, despite the current crisis, the Western Balkans remained in the focus of the EU.

He stressed that the Communication presented the financial assistance the EU had allocated for the Western Balkan partners in the total amount of EUR 3.3 billion.

In addition, he underlined that the EU would continue to allocate significant funds that were not part of the current financial package, and that it would focus on long-term plans for assisting the Western Balkans, primarily through the Economic Development and Investment Plan to be presented in autumn.

On the same occasion, the Commissioner announced the initiative to increase grants to the Western Balkans, in addition to credit lines, particularly for regional infrastructure projects related to trans-European networks (energy, transport, digital network and Green Agenda).

Joksimović emphasised that the crisis had been a sort of a ‘moment of truth’ for the EU and the region, noting that, overall, the test of credible partnership and solidarity had been passed.

Speaking about the Summit of WB–EU leaders, Joksimović expressed expectations that the Summit would be an opportunity for the EU to send a clear political message of concrete support to the region, as well as an opportunity to valorise the progress achieved, to confirm the European future of the region, and to make a list of priorities for support to the region through the announced EU Economic and Investment Plan.

She emphasised that owing to a responsible approach to economic and political reforms in the previous years, Serbia had demonstrated that it was ready for a global challenge such as COVID-19, and that it would continue the reform process with the support of its European partners and owing to general position of the EC that Serbia and the region should be included in all important initiatives and projects.

The Minister noted that, during the crisis, Serbia had offered help to almost all partners in the region and that it had significantly helped Italy as an EU member state that had been severely affected.“In that sense, the Summit will also be an opportunity to emphasise joint readiness to improve cooperation regarding all key matters,” said Joksimović.

She particularly thanked Commissioner Várhelyi for his readiness to personally get involved and promptly react to Serbia’s and the region’s requests during the crisis to reallocate unspent funds from national IPA funds.

Source: Tanjug