EBRD To Boost North Macedonia’s EU Accession Drive
By Axel Reiserer
Offering crucial support at a critical moment, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of North Macedonia Tuesday to boost the country’s European Union (EU) accession drive.
The document was signed in a virtual ceremony by EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.
EBRD President Renaud-Basso welcomed the agreement: “We are encouraged by the steps North Macedonia is taking towards the EU accession and we are pleased to support these vital efforts with our contributions. In these demanding times it is more important than ever that we all join forces not only to rise to the current challenges, but also to realise the country’s long-term goals.”
In the Memorandum of Understanding the Bank outlines a combination of policy engagement, technical assistance and investment to maintain the momentum in the EU approximation process.
The cooperation between North Macedonia and the EBRD will focus on three areas: strengthening private sector competitiveness and inclusive growth; sustainable infrastructure, the green economy and just transition, including regional connectivity priorities; and strengthening the investment climate and governance.
The government will identify reform areas, investment opportunities and promote the activities under this memorandum. The EBRD will support the development of domestic companies through financing and long-term advisory, strengthen competitiveness through greater access to finance and support economic inclusion, young people and those in remote regions.
Furthermore, the Bank will assist the completion of core transport infrastructure, promote sustainable municipal infrastructure and support the diversification of the energy mix with the aim of strengthening the role of renewables.
The government of North Macedonia and the EBRD will also cooperate to improve the investment climate, promote cross-border trade and investment and engage with state-owned enterprises in the energy and infrastructure sectors to improve their corporate governance.
The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested more than €2 billion(US$2.37billion) in 136 projects in the country. The Bank focuses on supporting the country’s integration into regional and global markets, especially in intensified cooperation with key partners such as the European Union and the European Investment Bank.