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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article26 February 2024Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations2 min read

Commissioner Várhelyi travels to Montenegro and Albania to discuss key reforms and investments under the Growth Plan

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Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi will be in Montenegro and Albania this week, from Tuesday, 27 February to Thursday, 29 February to continue discussions on key reforms needed in order to access funding under the new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans and progress in their EU path.

In Montenegro, Commissioner Várhelyi will have a series of bilateral meetings, including with President Jakov Milatović Prime Minister Milojko Spajićand Members of the Parliament. The discussions will focus on the progress Montenegro needs to do in the area of the rule of law to move on to the next phase of its accession process, to start closing negotiating chapters. The discussions will be an important follow up to the Accession Conference with the country, held on 29 January in Brussels, at a time when the new government of the country has renewed is commitment to prioritise EU-related reforms.

Commissioner Várhelyi will then travel to Tirana to participate at a regional summit on the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans,  organised by Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama.

The new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans presented by the European Commission in November to significantly accelerate the region's socio-economic convergence with the EU by deepening regional integration through the regional common market and gradually bringing the Western Balkans into key areas of the EU single market in order to reap the benefits of membership in advance, provided that the necessary reforms are carried out, notably in public procurement, the fight against corruption and the rule of law. These reforms are necessary to attract private investment and increase growth.

Bringing together all the leaders of the Western Balkans, this second summit will also provide new opportunities for an exchange of views on the European future of the region and on common regional challenges.

This new Growth Plan complements the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) adopted in 2020, which aims to mobilise up to €30 billion in investment in the region, including €9 billion in European subsidies. To date, the EU has already mobilised €16.3 billion in investment, including €4.5 billion in European subsidies.

More information on the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which is currently being negotiated by the Council and the European Parliament, in available in this factsheet and on the dedicated web page. More details on the EIP are available in this brochure.

The regional summit will be followed by a press conference, which will be available on EbS.

(For more information: Ana Pisonero - Tel: +32 229-54320; Zoi Muletier – Tel.: +32 229-94306)