The EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, and Kosovo First Deputy Prime Minister, Besnik Bislimi, signed today in Pristina a financing agreement that will enable the EU to transfer to Kosovo EUR 75 million as direct financial assistance and help its citizens and business to cope with the energy crises.
The EUR 75 million is the first tranche of money Kosovo will receive from the EU’s Energy Support Package for the Western Balkans worth EUR 1 billion created by the EU and its Member States to help the region overcome the energy crisis and the major energy prices increase caused by Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked full-scale invasion against Ukraine.
The entire package will be delivered in two parts, EUR 500 million each, with the first and immediate one focusing on providing direct support to most affected families and businesses and the second one on the clean energy transition of the region and lowering dependence on Russia’s fossil fuels.
“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified full-scale invasion of Ukraine has affected the whole world causing energy and food crises. The effects of those crises are felt the hardest by the more vulnerable economies, and the EU has stepped in, to both support Ukraine fend off the invasion and help its partners cope with the crises,” said Ambassador Szunyog.
“The EU has been standing with Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion and has included the Western Balkans in its actions helping the Member States deal with the crisis, including REPowerEU. The financial support provided through the EU Energy Support Package comes on top of that and aims to directly support people and businesses in Kosovo,” added Szunyog.
Out of EUR 75 million the EU is now transferring to Kosovo, one third, or EUR 25 million, will go towards subsidising energy bills and alternative heating methods such as wood and pellet for around 200,000 households, including pensioners, single mothers, social scheme holders, and marginalised people and families.
EUR 15 million will go towards motivating the public to save energy by providing households with energy bill subsidies equal to the amount of saving they achieved in comparison to the same month last year. This measure will apply to the January-April 2023 period and should benefit some 160,000 households.
The remaining EUR 35 million will be used to help households and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) increase energy efficiency. Some 12,000 families residing in private houses or apartments in social housing will be supported with improving thermal insulation (facades, windows, and doors), and 10,000 more will be supported in buying energy-efficient appliances. Some 1,000 MSMEs will be supported to buy and install energy-efficient heating systems and renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic or thermal panels.
“The funds provided will be used by the Kosovo Government to continue implementing the measures planned for reducing the socio-economic impact of the energy crisis on our citizens. This is the first time in the framework of benefiting from IPA funds that the EU offers all the funds of the annual program as means that are directly poured into the country’s budget, and this is exactly after our request as Kosovo towards the European Union,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bislimi.
“The EU’s support of 75 million euros complements the Government’s energy support scheme. I want to express my gratitude to the European Union for its support and trust in our country. This belief encourages us to work even harder and continue with the building of institutional capacities in all line institutions,” added Bislimi.
The EU remains the biggest provider of financial assistance to Kosovo, with EUR 1.2 billion provided through the Instruments of Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) I and II, from 2007 to 2022. Further financial assistance is now being provided through IPA III. The EU is also Kosovo’s largest trading partner.