Today, the European Commission is announcing over EUR 3.3 billion of EU financial support mobilized jointly with the European Investment Bank to the benefit of the Western Balkans' citizens.
– This package aims to address the immediate health and resulting humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as help with the social and economic recovery – the press release adds.
In addition to the reinforced support, the Commission is in its contribution ahead of the EU-Western Balkans' leaders meeting of 6 May 2020 also outlining the broad parameters of longer-term support to be presented later this year in the form of an Economic and Investment Plan for the region.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the EU had a special responsibility to assist in this pandemic its partners in the Western Balkans, adding that their future clearly lied in European Union.
– The EU is mobilizing a substantial financial package, confirming the strong solidarity. Together we will overcome this crisis and recover. And beyond that, we will continue to support the region, including with the reforms needed on their EU path, as the recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments – she said.
Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, commented that the European Union had acted quickly and comprehensively to support the Western Balkans in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, with unparalleled financial assistance as well as access to many of the EU's initiatives.
He added that their work would continue as they prepare an Economic and Investment Plan for the region, to tackle the hard socio-economic impact of the crisis, to modernize the economies in the region, support the reforms and start closing the development gap, thus bringing concrete benefits to the people faster.
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