Politics & Economics

EU-Balkans, an important dialogue to strengthen partnership

May 2024
By Editorial Staff

An Economic and Financial dialogue between the EU and the Western Balkans, Türkiye, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine followed the EcoFin Council.

The aim of this meeting was for the current and two incoming presidencies (Belgium, Hungary, and Poland) to make the partners approach EU economic policies through the European Semester. As candidates for the EU membership, it was the first time for Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova to take part in this meeting.

This meeting gathers annually representatives of the EU Member States, the candidate countries and potential candidates, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the candidate countries and potential candidates. The goals are various, and the different perspectives of this meeting enlarge the power of the dialogue.

To support, but also to boost the partnership and cooperation, the meeting is crucial for both the Member States and the countries for the mutual help they could receive from each other.

The conclusions

The ongoing economic impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine has imposed significant economic and social challenges on EU Member States, candidate countries, and potential candidates. Participants in the economic and financial dialogue acknowledged the resilience of candidate countries’ economies and emphasized the importance of continued dialogue to address recent and future economic challenges.

Moreover, participants highlighted that this dialogue supports broader goals regarding good governance and economic prosperity. They agreed on the necessity of maintaining the dialogue to provide policy guidance for a sustainable medium-term economic recovery and to help meet the economic criteria for EU accession.

The Western Balkans aare encouraged to utilize the Growth Plan by implementing socio-economic reforms to accelerate their economic convergence with the EU. The new Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans is essential as a complement to the existing dialogue. Starting next year, this dialogue will also include progress reporting by Western Balkan beneficiaries on their Reform Agendas.

Furthermore, Participants noted the Progress Report on economic, monetary, and financial statistics for candidate countries. The 2024 dialogue is considered transitional, with plans to continue in 2025, incorporating experiences from the current year and the new Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans.