On 19 May 2020, the Western Balkans and Turkey came together for their annual multilateral economic and financial dialogue with the EU. Ministers of Finance of the seven partners met with their EU counterparts and agreed on Joint Conclusions outlining the key economic challenges faced by the Western Balkans and Turkey, as well as targeted policy guidance focusing on immediate fiscal, economic and social policy response to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as on the transition from the short-term to more structural measures to foster the economic recovery.
In his speech in the meeting, Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, briefly reviewed the main challenges faced by Western Balkans and Turkey in the current situation. He also stressed the need to ensure a high level of implementation of the jointly agreed policy guidance, which will be essential to cushion the impact of the crisis and lay the grounds for a strong and sustainable recovery thereafter. Commissioner Gentiloni concluded by saying: ”The Commission, in addition to the assistance already provided or ongoing, stands by you in implementing the agreed policy guidance, in particular in the current challenging situation.”
The dialogue is based on Economic Reform Programmes, prepared by each enlargement partner and assessed by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. The whole process mimics part of the economic policy coordination between EU member states that takes place during the European Semester. This year, the resulting policy guidance has been refocused on measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as well as on the transition to structural measures to foster the medium-term recovery.
The Economic Reform Programme exercise prepares candidate countries and potential candidates for their eventual participation in the European Semester, strengthening economic governance. Strong economic governance is the foundation for macroeconomic stability and the capacity to implement structural reforms and ultimately improve the lives of citizens through enhanced growth and job creation. Strengthened economic governance will also help the Western Balkans and Turkey mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, foster the economic recovery and build up economies’ resilience as well as gradually meet the economic accession criteria of having a functioning and competitive market economy.
- Publication date
- 19 May 2020
- Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations