Access to European Single Market – Access to European Funds

The TWG Access to the European Single Market held its second consultation event on 30th of June where the TWG members discussed the use of existing and were making the case for increased EU funds for the countries from the WB.  

The members of the working group acknowledged that drawing from the lessons learned from previous enlargements, more European funds would lead towards economic convergence of the region with the EU average. Greater funds would address underinvestment– not only transport and energy but also infrastructure in other sectors like healthcare, education, social services, etc.

The discussion recognized the issue of absorption capacities, or lack thereof, as a challenge for making use of existing and possible increase of EU funds. The group argued, however, that there is a need to focus on decentralized management of funds and increase the number of projects that allow for accredited institutions as a way to retain qualified professionals and build capacities for future use of EU structural funds.

More meaningful participation of civil society organizations’ participation in planning, programming, and monitoring in the existing institutional structures that manage and implement projects from EU funds was also a point the TWG turned to.

The TWG will continue with consultations over the summer and a public event will take place in Skopje in September.  The insights from the consultation and public events will support the development of the policy paper with recommendations for the forthcoming Berlin Process summit in Tirana.

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