NewsThe European Commission promises 500 million euros to the...

The European Commission promises 500 million euros to the countries of the Western Balkans to face the energy crisis

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The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Wednesday, from Skopje, a financial aid of 500 million euros for the countries of the Western Balkans, so that the region can deal with the energy crisis.

This amount will be intended for “the entire region for investments in what is necessary to achieve independence” in the field of energy, Von der Leyen said, without specifying the terms when this aid will be provided, reports AFP, quoted by Agerpres.

The announcement comes at a time when energy prices are rising due to Russian aggression against Ukraine and with the approach of winter.

Thus, starting from January, North Macedonia will be able to count on a budget support of 80 million euros, announced the president of the European Commission from the capital of this country, the first stage of a diplomatic tour in the Western Balkans.

This announcement is likely to help the countries in the region, in the context where North Macedonia, for example, produces only two thirds of the electricity it needs annually.

“The energy and economic crisis caused by the war in Ukraine united Europe. Only united will we be able to face the lack of energy and food”, said the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski.

North Macedonia and most of the countries in the region are at different stages in their accession negotiations to the European Union.

Despite the duration of this process, over a decade in some cases, the EU has repeatedly reiterated that the Western Balkans are part of the European family.

The slow approach to the EU has caused a rise of Euroscepticism in these countries, paving the way for a strengthening of Russian influence in the region, experts warn.

Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Skopje on Wednesday is her second visit to North Macedonia this year. In July, she addressed members of parliament in Skopje, a day before the official opening of EU accession negotiations.

Ursula von der Leyen is also due to travel to Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania as part of her tour of the region.

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