The European Commission has approved the Economic and Investment Plan for the 6 countries of the Western Balkans that will focus on 10 main directions from road transport to the environment and aims to promote the long-term recovery of the region.
Considered as IPA three new economic plan will be extended for implementation during 2021 -2027. The investments envisaged by the EU cost around 20 billion euros, but the EU will allocate only 9 billion euros, while the rest will be provided from other sources.
But according to the official EU announcement, investments will be sustainable only if the Western Balkan partners accelerate reforms, including the area of rule of law and the fight against corruption.
According to the new EU plan, the projects to be funded are the railway line connecting the capitals of Tirana and Podgorica starting from the port of Durres. This is considered by the EU as an important project for the region and envisages the rehabilitation of 120 km of railway line from Albania to the border with Montenegro.
The EU wants concrete steps to be taken to complete the Adriatic-Ionian Highway, which runs along the coast from Croatia to Greece. To make this highway functional, the Tirana bypass and two sections of the center of Albania must be completed.
The new EU package requires the rehabilitation of HPP Fierza in Albania and the completion of the construction of the Skavica Hydropower Plant in order to increase the potential to increase the net export of electricity.
The EU will support as part of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, the construction of the Fier-Vlora gas pipeline in Albania and the Ionian-Adriatic line along the coast for greater diversification of gas supply sources in the Western Balkans, the Region and beyond.
The EU seeks to establish integrated regional waste management systems in Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. In parallel with the Economic Investment Plan to support the region, the Commission has presented guidelines for the implementation of the Green Agenda in the Western Balkans, which is expected to be adopted at the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia in November 2020. It envisions actions in five pillars.
These are the climate agenda, including decarbonisation, energy and circulating economy (waste addressing, recycling, sustainable production and efficient use of resources), biodiversity, in order to protect and restore natural resources in the region, reduce air pollution, water and soil and the establishment of sustainable food systems in rural areas.