Zovko: the €3 billion EU support for the Western Balkans and our neighbourhood shows the geostrategic importance of the region

Brussels/Split 13 May 2020,

In the plenary session starting today, the members of the European Parliament will vote on the Commission proposal of a macro-financial assistance package (MFA) of €3 billion to support the countries of Western Balkans and other neighbourhood partners in the fight against the coronacrisis. The European Union will make MFA available through a borrowing operation that the Commission will conduct on behalf of the EU. The package will cover the external financing needs in 2020-2021 of 10 partner countries. In total the €750 million is allocated for the Western Balkan region and €250 million of this budget will go to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EPP vice-coordinator for foreign affairs Zeljana Zovko explained that the MFA aims to help covering a part of our partners’ urgent external financing needs. The proposal supports external stabilization and it provides policy space to the authorities to implement measures to counter the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, it also stimulates the implementation of reforms aimed at improving macroeconomic management and economic governance. “The proposed MFA is in line with the aims of the EU’s enlargement and neighbourhood strategies. With this immediate reaction, the EU responds to the urgent needs of its partners and shows once again the geostrategic importance of the region in our common future,” Zovko stated.

Next to the MFA proposal, the agenda of the plenary session of the European parliament also includes, among other topics, a debate and a vote on the request to the Commission to propose a contingency plan for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that protects the beneficiaries of Union programmes. The members will also hold debates on the use of contact tracing apps in the fight against the coronavirus and they will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, shaping the foundations for the European Union as we know it.

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