The European Commission has paid the first installment of €28 million in non-repayable financial aid to Montenegro. This important budget support assistance is aimed at mitigating the economic fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic and supporting the authorities’ social and economic response.
“This €28 million is just one part of the support available to Montenegro within the budget support resilience contract of €40.5 million. This budget support is part of the €53 million in non-repayable assistance granted by the EU to Montenegro for the procurement of urgent medical equipment and for assisting socially underprivileged individuals, entrepreneurs, companies, the health sector and other sectors affected the most by the COVID-19 crisis. It complements the € 30 million Macro-Financial Assistance the EU made available to Montenegro in October”, the EU Delegation to Montenegro announced in a press release.
The disbursement of the second and final tranche of the total amount of €40.5 million will be conditional on Montenegro meeting a set of commitments relating to social and economic factors. The most important conditions refer to the Government directing the EU funds to support as many small businesses as possible, and in particular to assist them in paying their workers’ salaries and continue funding social allowances for underprivileged children, elderly, disabled people and families in need. Other important conditions are that social allowances be not reduced and that the transparency and access to information regarding budget expenditures improve. Half a million out of the 40.5 will go towards the cooperation with the International Labour Organisation in supporting the roll-out of employment programmes aimed at helping people get re-employed.
The COVID-19 financial response also arrives at the same time as the recently published Economic and Investment Plan and the preparations by both Montenegro and the European Union for the new IPA III programme allocated for the next seven years. This underlines the EU’s continuing support to Montenegro, as well as to the wider Western Balkan region. /ibna