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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article17 December 2020Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

EU starts implementing Economic and Investment Plan in the Western Balkans

Over €58O million in extra resources is now being made available for further EU-supported infrastructure development in the Western Balkans region.

Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)

Over €58O million in extra resources is now being made available for further EU-supported infrastructure development in the Western Balkans region.

The European Union, acting together with major international and national financial institutions, has made available further financial support worth €582.8 million for the development of infrastructure in the region. Under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), almost €130 million extra funding has been granted as non-refundable assistance, supplemented by loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the KfW Development Bank and the World Bank.

A further €15 million in additional EU grants has been provided for technical assistance for the preparation of new investments. This brings to a total of €145 million the extra EU grant funding announced by the Steering Committee of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) at its earlier this month.

The announcement marks the beginning of the implementation of the European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. All these important investments concern flagship projects under the Plan in the region.

These EU funds allocated through the WBIF will finance the following:

  • Rehabilitation of the Fierza hydropower plant in Albania
  • Demining of the right bank of the Sava River in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Construction of major road and railway connections in the region, including the Pristina – Merdare section of the ‘Peace Highway’ in Kosovo, the Kvanj Tunnel – Buna Vc motorway subsection in Bosnia and Herzegovina , the Bar – Vrbnica railroad in Montenegro, and the Tirana bypass in Albania

In addition, the EU technical assistance enables the preparation of new investments. These include:

  • Future broadband and digital infrastructure in Albania
  • Renewable energy sources in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Water supply and wastewater treatment in Kosovo and Montenegro
  • Higher education facilities in Serbia

This preparation work also focuses on key road and rail interconnections for the Western Balkans region, including the ‘Blue Highway’ in Albania, the ‘Peace Highway’ in Serbia, the Bar – Vrabica railroad in Montenegro, and the Kraljevo – Rudnica railway line in Serbia.

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for Western Balkans in the Commission’s DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations said: “Every project supported by the Western Balkans Investment Framework brings the region closer to the European Union and contributes to the common regional market. Our investments in the flagship initiatives, as defined by the recent Economic and Investment Plan, support the Western Balkans in building the European future together. The Plan means immediate action, with the WBIF and its stakeholders as a driving force for the implementation.”

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