New investment of €1.2 billion to boost Western Balkans development News | WeBalkans


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New investment of €1.2 billion to boost Western Balkans development

The European Commission has announced the sixth investment package of €1.2 billion under the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. Eight flagship projects in water supply, sanitation and wastewater treatment, rail transport, including the green transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will be supported under this initiative to drive implementation.


Key projects


This investment package is primarily funded by the EU, with contributions from EU Member States, Norway, and international financial institutions. The projects consist of:


  • Water and sanitation: Improvements in Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina;
  • Sustainable transport: Investments in rail infrastructure on Corridor X, especially upgrading a high-speed connection from Belgrade to Velika Plana for both passenger and cargo traffic;
  • Business innovation: Physical premises to assist in innovation and environmental transformation for SMEs within the region.


EU support and endorsement


President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: ”Our €30 billion Investment Plan for the Western Balkans is delivering, with this new €1.2 billion package. It strengthens regional connections with quality infrastructure and brings us closer together, which is our ultimate goal. Our Western Balkan partners are building their European future.”


Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said:The EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans is being rolled out swiftly, with the shared ambition to bring the region closer to the EU, as the new investment package adopted today demonstrates. The Western Balkans Investment Framework has made a real difference over the last 15 years, including helping the region connecting their road, rail, energy and digital infrastructures, weather the energy crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Besides the €300 million in EU grants from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III), which makes up a part of this package, it will also include additional contributions by EU Member States and Norway, as well as loans coming from international financing institutions together with those provided directly by all Western Balkan economies. The package was approved by the Operational Board of Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) meeting on July 1-2nd.


Economic and Investment Plan Priorities


The new flagship investments fall under three main priorities of the Economic and Investment Plan:


  • Environment and climate: Focused on the reconstruction of water supply infrastructure in Montenegro, as well as waste-water collection plants and the construction/rehabilitation of regional landfills in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Sustainable transport: Advancing Corridor X railway infrastructure, particularly the Belgrade – Velika Plana high-speed line in order to facilitate passenger and freight flows through the region.
  • Facility for businesses: Introducing a new facility to promote innovation and green transformation in businesses throughout the region.

The strategic investment is in line with the wider objectives of the EU to promote regional integration, economic development, and sustainable growth throughout the Western Balkans.




As part of the Global Gateway, the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans (2021-27) aims to spur long-term recovery, accelerate a green and digital transition, and foster regional cooperation and convergence with the EU. Adopted by the European Commission in October 2020, the Plan mobilises up to €30 billion in investments, including €9 billion in EU grants through IPA III, over the seven-year period. Of this amount, €5 billion has been committed through the WBIF.

So far, the EU has approved programmes set to mobilise up to €17.5 billion in investments under the Economic and Investment Plan, including €5.4 billion in EU grants.


The WBIF is a joint financial platform launched 15 years ago, bringing together the European Commission, financial organisations, EU Member States and Norway, to enhance cooperation in public and private sector investments. It supports the region’s socio-economic development and contributes to the European integration of the Western Balkans. Alongside being the main financial vehicle for implementing the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan, the WBIF will also play an important role in the implementation of the new €6 billion Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans, which has the double objective to boost socio-economic convergence with the EU and accelerate the accession process. The WBIF will channel €3 billion of grants and loans under the Facility to support priority investments in transport, energy, digital and human capital areas.


For More Information

Factsheet: Summary of approved projects

Factsheet: EIP

WBIF brochure



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