Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said countries in Southeastern Europe that intend to join the European Union agreed with its Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. The summit was organized in Sofia within the Berlin Process and co-hosted by Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.
Top officials from the European Union, its member states and the governments of countries of Southeastern Europe attended a summit in Sofia. It was organized in the framework of the Berlin Process. Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the leaders of the states in the region that are attempting to join the EU have agreed with the Green Agenda for Western Balkans.
“We want those people to have a higher income and we want to keep those people living in the region”, he stated.
The endorsement of the action plan for the common regional market and the said agenda will boost economic growth while also addressing some of the related environmental and health challenges and offering huge potential for growth and job creation, said Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, who co-hosted the meeting.
Zaev stressed the Western Balkans Guarantee Facility may bring EUR 20 billion in investments, in addition to the planned EUR 9 billion in grants. “We have entered a new stage of our cooperation,” he underscored.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered congratulations on the progress in the transition to a CO2-free economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. “You have to get along with each other. Don’t forget this. It is really important,” she said.
The initiative is part of the EUR 9 billion Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. It should be implemented with IPA III funds. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans is a blueprint for climate action, circular economy, biodiversity, sustainable food systems and rural areas and the fight against pollution.
EU’s development plan offers opportunities for green transition
The development plan defined projects in areas of sustainable transportation, clean energy, the environment and climate, digitalization, human capital and the private sector. Some of the flagship components are renewables, transition from coal, the Renovation Wave and waste and wastewater management.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, its Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi attended the meeting.
Also present at the summit, which was mostly held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, were the representatives of the Regional Cooperation Council, Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).