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EU Pledges €6 Billion to Support Western Balkans’ Reforms

The European Union (EU) has earmarked a financial package of €6 billion to assist Western Balkan nations in implementing crucial reforms essential for integration, announced Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, during her visit to Skopje.

Countries including North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, she emphasised, must seize this window of opportunity for EU expansion and align their standards with those of the Union.

Von der Leyen underscored the EU’s fresh blueprint for the region’s growth, encompassing the opening of a shared market for the Western Balkans in areas like the free movement of goods and services, transportation, and energy. She also urged these nations to establish a joint regional market, accompanied by the necessary reforms.

“These reforms will be fuelled by investments,” stated the Commission President during a press conference alongside North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, Dimitar Kovačevski, marking the beginning of her Western Balkans tour.

In addition to this, the EU is poised to disburse €100 million in micro-financial aid.

“Our joint vision is to double your economy over the next decade,” von der Leyen concluded.

Later, during her visit to Kosovo, she called upon the authorities to grant increased autonomy to the Serbian minority by forming a Community of Serbian Municipalities. She reiterated the importance of normalising relations with Serbia, noting that it would consequently unlock access to the EU’s financial package.

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