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On the 8th November 2023, the European Commission adopted the 2023 Enlargement package.
It provided a detailed assessment of the progress made with candidate countries but also included recommendations to open negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and grant candidate status to Georgia.
In this framework, the EU budget is instrumental in supporting the enlargement strategy and the development of the concerned countries.
In the Communication, the Commission mention the following financial resources:
– The new Ukraine Facility will support efforts to sustain macro-financial stability and promote recovery. The plan comprises EUR 50 billion in grants and loans for 2024-2027.
– A total of EUR 62 million to support the Georgian Defence Forces through the European Peace Facility.
Interestingly, in June 2023, the European Commission proposed a medium-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 budget in a targeted manner to make sure the EU budget can continue to deliver on essential EU challenges and to support the EU in reaching its priority objectives.
The proposal touched on the enlargement process, including:
– the above-mentioned Ukraine facility for long-term support for Ukraine, addressing Ukraine’s immediate needs, recovery and modernisation on its path towards the EU. The Ukraine Facility will support Ukraine’s efforts to sustain macro-financial stability, promote recovery, and modernise the country whilst implementing critical reforms on its EU accession track.
– €15 billion to help the EU address the issues related to migration, needs arising from the global consequences of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, and stronger partnerships with key third countries
This funding is additional to other EU programmes, like the Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), the leading financial instrument supporting the enlargement process. The 2021-2027 IPA III envelope is €14.162 billion and provides funds to candidate countries and potential candidates to help them prepare for EU membership. IPA funds aim at various purposes such as institution building, administrative capacity development, infrastructure investments, and support for implementing EU standards and policies.
The decision to allocate more financial resources to the enlargement strategy underlines its role for the future of the European Union and the willingness of the European Union to accelerate the enlargement process and assist aspiring Member States in their journey towards EU membership.
Written by: Cristina Ceccarelli