EU growth plan potential ‘game changer’ for Western Balkans, official says

North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski attends a meeting of the Western Balkans leaders in Skopje, North Macedonia, January 22. [Reuters/Ognen Teofilovski]

Leaders of the six Western Balkan countries, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, met on Monday in Skopje, North Macedonia to discuss reforms needed to access the European Union growth plan presented last October.

The EU's 6-billion euro growth plan for the Western Balkans is a potential "game changer" that could double the size of regional economies in the next decade, an EU official said on Monday.

The EU aims to give greater stability to a region that emerged from the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia but is still racked by tensions.

"The growth plan is a potential game changer and could double the size of your economies in the next decade," said Gert Jan Koopman, the European Commission's Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

The EU growth plan for the region would include...

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