The Growth Plan for the Western Balkans: Brighter future on path to EU Integration News | WeBalkans


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The Growth Plan for the Western Balkans: Brighter future on path to EU Integration

Last week’s Growth Plan Summit in Kotor was an important moment for the Western Balkans, as its leaders came together with EU representatives to discuss the EU’s new Growth Plan for the region and the path forward towards EU integration. The summit, held under the slogan “One region, common vision” was more than just a gathering, it was a sign of a joint future of collaboration and support for a better tomorrow.

Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Milojko Spajić, opened the summit with a clear message about the commitment of the Montenegrin government to boosting regional development while receiving unwavering support from the EU. “I invite you to seize this historic opportunity presented to the Western Balkans, to perceive the Growth Plan as part of a broader vision for a better future for the region and the EU as a whole”, Spajić said.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr. Olivér Várhelyi, also stressed the three new objectives related to the already mentioned focuses on critical medicines alliance, EU digital identity wallet, and agreements on conformity assessment. “The Growth Plan is no longer a draft. It is a reality, a reality that we already have started implementing”, said Várhelyi.

At the summit, leaders took stock of priorities discussed at the previous Tirana summit, for example on integrating the Western Balkans into the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which is expected to save businesses and citizens at least half a billion euros annually. Additionally, the establishment of “Green Lanes” at border crossings aims to reduce waiting times and cut export and import costs significantly. The Wi-Fi4WB project and access to European Digital Innovation Hubs will help improve digital connections throughout the region.

At the summit, three new priorities to help integrate the region into the EU’s single market were presented and discussed: the inclusion of the region in the EU’s Critical Medicines Alliance and the EU’s digital identity wallet will significantly boost the resilience of the region’s economy by ensuring easy and secure access to critical medicines and digital services. The agreements on conformity assessment will reduce costs for certifying the safety and quality of Western Balkans products on the EU market, thereby attracting investment and boosting trade.

The summit also made it clear that regional integration is linked to EU integration – closely working together based on EU rules is a stepping stone to the opportunities of the EU’s Single Market.

Learn more on EU’s Growth Plan for the Western Balkans

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