Subscribe to our newsletter

EU Approves Instrument for Reform and Growth in Western Balkans

The EU Council has approved the Instrument for Reform and Growth in the Western Balkans, a financial framework to support EU-aligned reforms and economic growth in the region

The EU Council gave its final approval for the establishment of the Instrument for Reform and Growth in the Western Balkans, which will support EU-aligned reforms and economic growth in the region between 2024 and 2027.

This instrument, forming the financial pillar of the Western Balkans Growth Plan, is set to provide up to €2 billion in grants and €4 billion in loans to the six Western Balkan EU partner countries over the next several years.

Objectives and Reform Agendas:
The instrument aims to align partner countries with EU values, laws, policies, and practices, supporting their progressive integration into the EU single market. It will back socio-economic and fundamental reforms, including those related to the rule of law and human rights.

To qualify for support, each partner country must prepare a Reform Agenda outlining the planned reforms that will align with EU policies and objectives. Partner nations should also demonstrate how their measures will align progressively with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Financial Support:
Funding will be allocated through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), comprising €3 billion in grants and loans for infrastructure projects, and €3 billion in direct budget loans to spur growth rooted in socio-economic reforms.

Payments will be made biannually if qualitative and quantitative steps outlined in the Reform Agendas are met. The EU reserves the right to withhold funds if eligibility criteria are not met.

Conditions and Transparency:
Support is conditional on adherence to democratic principles, fair elections, independent judiciary, rule of law, and respect for human rights, including minority rights. Serbia and Kosovo* must also demonstrate progress in normalising relations as outlined in the Path to Normalisation Agreement.

Western Balkan partner countries will establish a web portal to publish information on final recipients of more than €50,000 over four years.

Next Steps:  
The regulation will be signed, published in the EU Official Journal, and take effect the next day. Partner countries will then submit their Reform Agendas, detailing planned reforms for 2024-2027.

*This designation is in line with UNSC Resolution 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

Must Read

SEEnergy Conference Sparks Innovation in Green Energy Transition

The SEEnergy international energy conference, held from 15 to 17 May at the Celje Fair, successfully concluded, marking a significant advancement in the energy...