Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for the annual economic policy dialogue. Participants welcomed the submission of the 2015 Economic Reform Programmes (ERPs) of the Western Balkans and Turkey. For the Western Balkans, these programmes consist of two distinct parts: Part I outlines the medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal framework as well as concrete macro-structural reforms to support the policy framework and are thus an enhanced version of the previous Pre-Accession Economic Programmes submitted by candidate countries. Part II, as a new element, covers structural reforms of a sectoral nature (such as transport, energy, education, etc.) to enhance competitiveness and long-term growth. Turkey was only asked to submit Part I. The programmes cover the period from 2015-2017.
Participants took note of the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council on 16 December 2014 in which the Council welcomed the Commission’s proposal to strengthen the dialogue on economic governance with the Western Balkans and Turkey, including through the preparation of ERPs, to better reflect the European Semester process at EU level. Participants recalled the commitment to set out targeted policy guidance to support efforts towards meeting the Copenhagen economic criteria.
As regards statistics, Participants underline the importance of reliable and up-to-date data and therefore welcome the 2015 Progress Report on the Action Plan on Economic, Monetary and Financial Statistics in the Western Balkans and Turkey. They were comforted that all the Western Balkans and Turkey made progress in fulfilling the Action Plan requirements, but noted that additional efforts in some statistical areas are still needed to achieve a full compliance with the Action Plan requirements.