European Union pledges €3bn assistance package for 10 neighbouring countries

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The Commission has adopted a proposal for a €3 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) package to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal comes on top of the ‘Team Europe’ strategy, the EU’s robust and targeted response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. It represents an important demonstration of the EU’s solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis.

The proposal, following a preliminary assessment of financing needs, provides for the MFA funds to be distributed as follows: the Republic of Albania (€180 million), Bosnia and Herzegovina (€250 million), Georgia (€150 million), the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (€200 million), Kosovo (€100 million), the Republic of Moldova (€100 million), Montenegro (€60 million), the Republic of North Macedonia (€160 million), the Republic of Tunisia (€600 million) and Ukraine (€1.2 billion).

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “European solidarity must not stop at the borders of our Union. Because in this global crisis, we stand or fall together. Today the European Commission is taking a decisive step to help ten of our neighbours in their fight against the Coronavirus. I call on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly agree this important package.”

The MFA funds will be made available for 12 months in the form of loans on highly favourable terms to help these countries cover their immediate, urgent financing needs. Together with the International Monetary Fund’s support, the funds can contribute to enhancing macroeconomic stability and creating space to allow resources to be allocated towards protecting citizens and mitigating the coronavirus pandemic’s negative socio-economic consequences. This instrument also remains available for other eligible countries experiencing balance-of-payments difficulties.

The Commission’s proposal is subject to adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Given the urgent need for this support, the Commission counts on the cooperation of the co-legislators to ensure swift adoption of the proposal.

Following the adoption of the proposal, the Commission stands ready to disburse the first instalment as swiftly as possible after the adoption of the MFA decision and upon the agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding with each partner country. The second instalment could be disbursed in the fourth quarter of 2020 or in the first half of 2021, provided that the policy measures attached to it have been implemented in a timely manner.

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