The EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, handed over today in Pristina the 16th in a row annual Financing Agreement between the European Union and Kosovo under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) to Deputy Prime Minister, Besnik Bislimi.
The Agreement worth EUR 62 million is part of IPA III covering the 2021-2027 period. It brings the overall EU’s direct financial assistance to more than EUR 1.3 billion and reconfirms the EU and its Member States as the largest providers of financial assistance to Kosovo.
This is the second financial assistance agreement between the EU and Kosovo this year; just last month, the EU provided to Kosovo EUR 75 million under its Energy Support Package for the Western Balkans to help its citizens and businesses cope with the increased energy prices, stimulate energy saving, and improve energy efficiency.
“The Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance funding is an important EU tool helping Kosovo to develop its economy and create new jobs and to align its laws and standards with those of the EU, all to help Kosovo advance on its EU integration path,” said Ambassador Szunyog.
“IPA funding is clear and tangible proof that the EU wants Kosovo to meet all the standards necessary to join the Union. Use of IPA funding is planned with the Government of Kosovo and targets priority areas ranging from the rule of law, respect for human rights and education, to infrastructure development, environmental protection, green energy transition, and road, rail and IT connectivity,” he added.
The Financing Agreement signed today by Deputy Prime Minister Bislimi will help Kosovo to enhance the socio-economic integration of non-majority communities and returnees, develop waste and wastewater management infrastructure, including the sewage system in the capital Pristina, improve energy efficiency in the public sector, and align Kosovo laws with the EU acquis and support legal professionals.
“In addition to the funds provided by the EU, the projects will be co-financed from our budget in the amount of 4.7 million euros and also with funding from other bilateral partners in the amount of 24.88 million euros. So, the implementation of funds will reach the amount of a total of 91.83 million,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bislimi.
“I emphasize that it is a pleasure to conclude in such a short time three agreements for IPA programs, which means that almost half of the funds dedicated from IPA III have already been committed to Kosovo. This is also an indicator of our international partners and allies belief that Kosovo has the capacity to successfully implement these projects,” he added.
The EU started providing IPA funding to Kosovo back in 2007. IPA I and IPA II programmes covered the 2007-2020 period, including 14 annual Financing Agreements worth EUR 1.2 billion. IPA III funding covering the 2021-2027 period and associated annual Financing Agreements started being implemented last year, with the Agreement for 2021 worth EUR 64 million and for 2022, delivered today, worth EUR 62 million.
“I hope that the Assembly of Kosovo will swiftly ratify the Financing Agreement,” concluded Ambassador Szunyog.
The EU will continue supporting Kosovo on its EU integration path. It remains the largest provider of financial assistance to Kosovo and its biggest trading partner.