Growth Plan for the Western Balkans
The European Policy Institute – EPI organized an event on the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which took place on December 21, 2023. starting at 1 p.m., at Hotel Panorama in Skopje. The European Policy Institute – Skopje (EPI) lead the Thematic Focus Group (TWG) Access to Single Market as one of the seven TWGs of the Berlin Process CSF in Tirana. Following the thematic consultation events and the advocacy meetings held in European capitals, EPI has prepared a policy paper with recommendations for deeper economic integration of the WB to the EU. The “Growth Plan for the Western Balkans” presented by the European Commission proposed a plan for gradual and easier access to the markets of the European Union. The Commission proposal outlines avenues for closer integration of the EU Single Market in 7 areas for trade in goods and provisions of services. The main precondition of the plan is that the countries from the region deliver with on fundamental reforms and meet the EU acquis in the respective areas. While it is still unclear how this conditionally would be operational in practice, it is clear the EU will require the WB Countries first to integrate regionally in the identified areas. The event aimed to offer a platform to reflect and discuss the proposal for the Growth plan of the EC if can support the improvement of the economic governance framework and bring the candidate countries from the Western Balkan to meet the economic criteria in the accession process. The event bring together policymakers and representatives of civil society, academia and the business sector to reflect on these pertinent issues. At the invitation of EPI, NEXT-EM dooel also had its presence.