IMF, EU 3bn Loan Welcomed in Balkans Despite Unknowns

EU candidate states from the West Balkans have welcomed the offer of 3 billion euros in emergency loans, to be distributed among 10 states bordering or near the EU, although the borrowing conditions remain to be determined, the European Commission confirmed to BIRN.

According to the proposal, the 10 countries should get the 3 billion euros as a macro-financial assistance MFA package for dealing with the COVID-19 situation and its consequences.

The Commission said on Wednesday that the funds would be distributed as follows: €180 million for Albania, €250 million for Bosnia and Herzegovina, €150 million for Georgia, €200 million for Jordan, €100 million for Kosovo, €100 million for Moldova, €60 million for Montenegro, €160 million for North Macedonia, €600 million for Tunisia and €1.2 billion for Ukraine.

BIRN asked the Commission about the repayment conditions and was told the terms will be agreed with each country in a Memorandum of Understanding following the adoption of the Commission's proposal. But the Commission did say that the MFA funds will be available for 12 months as loans "on highly favourable terms".

"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," the press release said.

The only EU candidate Western Balkan country not included in this package is Serbia. This is because one of the criteria for being part of the MFA package is whether it had asked the IMF for emergency liquidity assistance.

"The Serbian authorities currently do not see a need for external financial assistance, and thus...

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