The Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev chaired the National Investment Committee which, together with EU Ambassador David Geer, stressed in their introductory speeches the importance of implementing the plans set out in the European Commission-approved Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, and the only list of infrastructure projects.
The meeting reviewed the unified list of projects to determine which ones are in line with the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan, which will mobilize funding of up to 9 billion euros for the Western Balkans under a new pre-accession instrument called IPA III.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Zaev stressed that the Economic and Investment Plan is of great importance, adding that the country has gained extensive experience in the use of funds through the Investment Framework for the Western Balkans.
“The funds will be invested in transport, energy, green and digital transition, as well as human resource development to ensure sustainable growth and jobs, encouraging economic growth and recovery in the region. So far, more than 23 projects worth about 2.1 billion euros in grants and loans have been implemented in the Republic of North Macedonia. I believe that the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans will have a strong and positive impact on the region’s economic recovery, support the green and digital transition and encourage regional integration into the European Union. The national institutions present at the meeting will work with great concentration according to their responsibilities, in order to use the available funds. We are committed to good governance which is the basis for sustainable economic growth. Our focus is on stimulating the economy and investment by implementing key reforms in line with European values,” Zaev said.
Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Nikola Dimitrov outlined the government’s future plans for the implementation of projects in the 5 priority areas: transport, environment, energy, social and digital transformation, during the transition from IPA II to IPA III, when examining the capital investment agenda in accordance with the innovations in IPA III and the Financial Investment Plan.
“We have decided on a more credible, dynamic and predictable investment agenda with strengthened political governance, in order to create a resilient economy to challenges such as the pandemic; an economy that will have the power to deal with sudden shocks but also sustainable, socially just and neutral. We will overcome these challenges with intensive efforts to implement structural reforms, overcome structural weaknesses and strengthen convergence in these difficult times,” Dimitrov said, referring to “climate change”.
Finance Minister Fatmir Besimi noted that “we have a good opportunity to implement a significant part of our public investment plan through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to stimulate long-term recovery.”
“To reap the benefits of this IPA III-supported project, and to ensure sustainable economic growth – we must implement the reforms of the economic and financial dialogue with the EU under the recommended Economic Reform (ERP) programs recommended in the annual expansion of the package. In addition, the ERP dialogue should provide important guidelines for investment decisions under the Economic and Investment Plan and careful planning and prioritization of resources,” Besimi said.
The Ministers of Transport and Communications, Economy, Environment and Physical Planning, Agriculture, Forestry and Water, Information Society and Administration, Labor and Social Policy, Education and Science, Health and Justice presented the priority sectoral projects. The meeting was also attended by government representatives, EU ambassadors, senior representatives of international financial institutions, bilateral partners and the donor community on a permanent mission to North Macedonia.
The National Investment Committee is an advisory body in which strategic projects are classified in a transparent manner, mainly in the field of infrastructure, energy and transport linkage of the Western Balkans and the EU, environmental protection, social and digital infrastructure, as key growth factor. and job creation in the area./ibna