News archive - Support for Innovation through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans

The main aim of the Economic and Investment Plan is to spur the long-term economic recovery of the region and foster regional economic integration. We want to support a green and digital transition in the Western Balkans, the implementation of reforms required to move forward on the EU path, and bring the region closer to the EU Single Market. All of this should lead to sustained economic growth and job creation.

This Plan is all the more necessary as COVID-19 is having massive disrupting effects on the economies of the Western Balkans, which were already lagging behind in terms of economic convergence with the EU and face challenges from weak competitiveness, high unemployment and structural weaknesses.


The plan identifies ten investment flagship initiatives in key areas for economic development such as sustainable transport and energy connectivity, the green and digital transformation, strengthening the competitiveness of the private sector and support to health, education and social protection, including a youth guarantee to create job opportunities for young people.  

In the context of the Green and Digital transition, the Commission will examine the costs, the benefits and the impacts of the following priority investment flagships and their corresponding project proposals with a view to take them forward actively and expediently

Under Flagship 8 (DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE) the development and roll-out of national broadband infrastructure in the six Western Balkans partners will continue and the preparation of further investments elsewhere will be accelerated with particular focus on connecting rural areas. Secure, energy-efficient and trustworthy data centres, edge and cloud infrastructures are to be set up while ensuring alignment with EU's rules and fundamental values, including data protection, as well as linking to EU initiatives on high performance computers, digital incubators and innovation hubs.

Under Flagship 9 (INVESTING IN THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR) a plan shall be fostered to increase the grant amount to support the private sector under the Western Balkan Investment Framework. 50% of EU private sector funding should be dedicated to innovation and green growth.

In addition to the EU's significant funding to the region already foreseen under IPA III, the EU aims to provide guarantees to help reduce the cost of financing for both public and private investments and to reduce the risk for investors: support through the new Western Balkans Guarantee Facility has the potential to mobilise up to €20 billion of investments in the next decade.

The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), including its private sector platform the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) and the Western Balkans Guarantee Facility, gathering Western Balkans partners, bilateral donors and International Financial Institutions will be the main vehicle to ensure swift deployment of the investment package.

The plan's broad approach is expected to support the development of connected, competitive knowledge-based, sustainable, innovation oriented and thriving economies in the Western Balkans, with an increasingly dynamic private sector. 



Geographical focus
  • SEE
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin on August 27, 2021
Modified on August 27, 2021