The European Commission will give over €3.3 billion in financial support for the Western Balkans amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The EU and European Investment Bank joint financial package intends to address health and humanitarian needs triggered by the global pandemic, as well as the social and economic difficulties that have arisen as a result.
The financial package will allocate €38 million for immediate aid such delivering essential supplies like PPE and ventilators, €389 million towards social and economic recovery, and €455 million in an economic reactivation package.
The Western Balkans have also activated the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and have already begun receiving assistance. They are also exempt from the EU’s restrictions on exporting PPE.
The European Commission is expected to release an Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans later in the year, intended to boost economic growth after the pandemic and help the region along the path to EU accession. It will contain a substantial investment package with a focus on the transition to Green industries and digital transformation. With regards to reforms, the Commission highlights the need for a stronger focus on the rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration.
On May 6, 2020, EU and Western Balkans leaders will meet virtually via videoconference in lieu of the planned Zagreb summit.