On Wednesday 6 May, Prime Minister Sanna Marin will attend the EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will be held as a videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a release by the Finnish Government Communications Department, the main items on the agenda are cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, economic cooperation and reforms related to the rule of law.
By holding the summit, the EU emphasises that all Western Balkan countries have a perspective on EU membership and that the EU is also the most important partner for the Western Balkans in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, the summit will be an opportunity for the Western Balkans to reaffirm their commitment to the values of the Union and to the reforms required for EU membership.
The EU is providing financial support to the Western Balkans during the COVID-19 crisis. The total amount of COVID-19 support channelled to the region by the EU, including the support package from the European Investment Bank, is 3.3 billion euros.
Later this year, the Europen Commission will publish an economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to support the region’s long-term recovery and create the economic conditions for EU convergence.
In Finland’s view, it is important that the plan be linked to the countries’ progress on key actions required for EU membership, such as implementing reforms related to the rule of law. The opportunities provided by the green economy and digitalisation must be utilised in the reconstruction of the economy.