Information News

J. Joksimović: Regional connectivity projects will increase economic growth

December 10 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Regional connectivity projects will increase economic growth

Minister of European Integration and National IPA Coordinator Jadranka Joksimović has stressed today that, through the realisation of the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) for the Western Balkans, the EU will support the construction of the key regional infrastructure and encourage further development of the private sector and the integration of the region into broader economic flows.

Joksimović has stated this at a meeting of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) Steering Committee, which she attended along with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and ministers of foreign affairs and European integration from the region.

Várhelyi has emphasised the strategic importance that the Western Balkans holds for the EU, underlining that the EIP was developed with the aim of ensuring the region’s sustainable and stable development in circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic’s strong impact on global economic flows.

The Plan envisages EU grants worth up to EUR 9 billion to be invested into priority areas and projects that should contribute to stronger connectivity in the region and improve connections with the EU, which in turn will accelerate the free movement of people and goods, and deepen the overall trade and economic cooperation.

Joksimović has stressed that, through the realisation of the EIP, the EU will support the construction of the key regional transport, energy and digital infrastructure, help the region transition towards sustainable models of economic development in line with the Green Agenda, and encourage further development of the private sector, along with strong integration of the region into broader economic flows and processes.

The Plan will be financed through EU grants and favourable loans of international financial institutions (EIB, EBRD).

In that context, Joksimović expects that the combination of these funds, particularly the available guarantees, along with the funds for the plan ‘Serbia 2025’, will additionally encourage the participation of the commercial and private sector in financing certain projects, which would significantly increase overall investments in the region.

Joksimović has expressed special gratitude to Commissioner Várhelyi for the EU’s strong solidarity and additional assistance it has provided in the previous months for the purpose of curbing the spread of COVID-19 and strengthening the healthcare system in Serbia.

The Western Balkans Investment Framework is a special instrument of support provided by the EU and international financial institutions for the preparation and realisation of infrastructural projects.

From this instrument, since 2014, Serbia has received grants for the realisation of six large projects in the area of transport, energy and environment in the total value of almost EUR 135 million.

Source: Tanjug