‘We cannot take stability in the Western Balkans for granted. Developments this summer and early autumn have shown that there is still a need for international support and engagement in the region. The Government is therefore proposing an increase of around NOK 55 million in the allocations to the Western Balkan countries, bringing our support for the region to just over NOK 374 million,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Since the devastating conflicts of the 1990s, Norway has, in cooperation with a number of other countries and organisations, made substantial investments in the Western Balkans aimed at promoting stability and democracy in the region. The recent developments and instability in the Western Balkans have made it clear that international support and engagement in the region are still needed.
‘The Government will promote economic and social development, and thus also stability, by supporting reforms to strengthen the rule of law, combat corruption, promote job creation and enhance cooperation between the countries in the region. We will do so in close cooperation with the six Western Balkan countries, and this will entail a combination of efforts in the individual countries and cross-border, regional efforts,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
It is essential that the Western Balkan countries implement their reform programmes if they are to succeed in achieving their aim of closer integration with the EU. The Government will therefore continue to coordinate its efforts in the Western Balkans with the EU and with other EU member states that are actively engaged in the region.
(Press release – MFA)