The European Commission expects that the first projects from the EU Economic and Investment Package for the Western Balkans will be approved at the end of December, and that will be a sum of EUR1.1 billion for this year out of the total EUR9 billion planned until 2027, with measures for attracting another 20 or so billion in funds from financial organizations and private capital by that deadline.
Sources from the European Commission told BETA on Dec. 3 that some projects from the Western Balkan countries had already arrived in Brussels and each of the projects, which must be "very thoroughly prepared," would be reviewed individually.
The IPA III pre-accession assistance fund totaling EUR9 billion, approved for the period 2021-2027, is to be put into effect by the end of December. The fund is to finance projects from the Economic and Investment Package in anticipation of additional funds of around EUR20 billion.
The EU package, adopted in October 2020 with the aim of attracting considerable private investments, defines as the priorities development or reconstruction of the main road and railway links, renewable energy and a transition from coal to other energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, reducing the greenhouse effect, managing waste and wastewater, and the introduction of broadband Internet.
According to the EC officials, it is especially important that the Western Balkans adopt and achieve the EU climate and energy goals of reducing CO2 emissions by 55 percent by the end of this decade, which requires thorough transformations.