Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for their annual economic policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for their future participation in the European Semester.
The COVID-19 pandemic has confronted EU member states, the Western Balkans and Turkey with similar unprecedented major public health, economic and social challenges. Participants acknowledged the strong solidarity between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey, demonstrated by providing medical and financial assistance to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and contributing to address its socio-economic impact in the region. Participants welcomed the overall timely fiscal and monetary support measures adopted by the Western Balkans and Turkey to mitigate the economic fall-out of the crisis. Participants considered it appropriate to continue mitigating the pandemic’s impact on growth, employment and social cohesion by adequately targeted, temporary and transparent fiscal and financial measures until a self-sustained recovery is firmly established.
Looking beyond the protracted crisis impact, participants agreed that the economic policy dialogue should continue to play a central role for providing jointly agreed policy guidance to support medium-term economic recovery and sustainability and support the enlargement partners in meeting economic accession criteria in line with the revised EU Enlargement Methodology. In order to build up economic resilience in the longer term, measures should also foster the digital transformation and the green transition. Participants emphasised in particular that strong ownership will be key to a successful implementation of the jointly agreed policy guidance. Participants underlined their commitment to this economic and financial dialogue and encouraged the Western Balkans and Turkey to foster a strong recovery via further improvement of their macroeconomic, budgetary and structural policies in a medium-term perspective in view of their long-term development. Participants regretted that Montenegro’s Economic Reform Programme had been submitted with a significant delay. The dialogue will continue in 2022, including on the implementation of these conclusions.