36th Project Financiers’ Group (PFG) meeting, 9 November 2023
The WBIF Project Financiers’ Group (PFG) met in Brussels on 9 November. The meeting, co-chaired by Holger Schröder, Head of Unit Western Balkans Regional Programmes, Economic Investment Plan at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, and Matteo Rivellini, Head of Division at the European Investment Bank, covered both projects and policy priorities. The meeting was attended by over 170 representatives from international financial institutions, EU Member States and Norway bilateral donors, and representatives from the six Western Balkans economies.
The project-oriented session provided an overview of projects proposed under the 9th investment round, and an update on the implementation of private sector investments and the guarantee facility.
The policy-oriented session focused on presenting the EU Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, launched on 8 November, which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had presented to the Western Balkans during her tour to the Western Balkans on 29 October – 1 November. It aims to bring some of the benefits of membership to the region in advance of accession, boost economic growth and accelerate much needed socio-economic convergence.
The Growth Plan builds on the €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) launched in 2020. This new €6-billion plan is a catalyst to accelerate the implementation of fundamental reforms, while opening the Single Market to the Western Balkans.
Road Corridor Vc in BIH, October 2023 (c) WBIF
On 8 November, the European Commission also adopted the 2023 Enlargement package, which sets out the state of play and the progress made by the Western Balkans, alongside Türkiye, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. The Commission recommends the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved.
The WBIF Project Financiers' Group meets every six months in advance of the WBIF Strategic and Operational Boards for blending operations, whose next meeting is scheduled on 8 December. It will decide on endorsing new investments in priority areas for the Western Balkans.
WBIF B2B Event Video, October 2023 (c) WBIF