EU Announces €1.2 Billion Investment Package for Sustainable Transport, Infrastructure, and Entrepreneurship in Western Balkans

The European Commission has announced a new €1.2 billion investment package for the Western Balkans, aimed at supporting infrastructure development and entrepreneurship in the region. The package includes funding for eight new flagship projects, with a focus on sustainable transport, water supply and sanitation, wastewater treatment, and innovation and green transformation in small and medium enterprises.

The investment package is part of the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to spur long-term recovery, accelerate a green and digital transition, and foster regional cooperation and convergence with the EU. The plan mobilises up to €30 billion in investments over the seven-year period, including €9 billion in EU grants through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III).

In the area of sustainable transport, the new investment package includes funding for the advancement of Corridor X rail infrastructure, with a high-speed connection between Belgrade and Velika Plana. This investment will enable faster passenger and freight flows in the region while also promoting greener modes of transportation and reducing carbon emissions.

The package also includes funding for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation infrastructure in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and wastewater treatment facilities in the region. These investments will help improve local communities’ access to clean water and sanitation while also supporting the region’s transition to a more sustainable future.

In addition, the investment package includes support for innovation and green transformation in small and medium enterprises in the Western Balkans. This will help businesses in the region to become more competitive and resilient, while also contributing to the green transition and creating new job opportunities.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, emphasized the importance of the investment package in strengthening regional connections and preparing the economies of the Western Balkans for eventual integration into the EU. “Our Western Balkan partners are building their European future,” she said. “These investments, along with necessary reforms and access to our Single Market, will prepare our partners’ economies to join our Union.”

The new investment package was endorsed by the Operational Board of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) during its 1-2 July meeting. The WBIF is a joint financial platform launched 15 years ago, bringing together the European Commission, financial organizations, EU Member States and Norway, to enhance cooperation in public and private sector investments. It supports the region’s socio-economic development and contributes to the European integration of the Western Balkans.