Trade MEPs have voted in favor of macro-financial aid (MFA) of up to €100 million for North Macedonia to help the country cover part of its financing needs in 2023.
On Thursday, members of the International Trade Commission approved the Commission proposal to provide the government of North Macedonia with support to stabilize the country’s economic situation by 33 votes, none against, with 1 abstention.
The support would be divided into two tranches, the payment of which would be conditional on progress made in the implementation of political measures to be agreed between North Macedonia and the EU in a memorandum of understanding. They would likely focus on fiscal governance, tax policy, public investment management, public-private partnerships, improving the business environment, state aid transparency, energy efficiency, reform justice and the fight against corruption.
In addition, the aid is conditional on a satisfactory track record of implementing a International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After a partial recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, North Macedonia has been badly hit by the fallout from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Amid tighter global financial conditions, higher energy prices and higher than expected losses for the national electricity producer, North Macedonia requested macro-financial assistance (MFA) in 2022.
“North Macedonia has been and continues to be hit hard by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This year they are faced with significant needs to repay their external debt. With this aid, we are sending a strong sign of solidarity towards North Macedonia and the Western Balkan countries,” said the rapporteur. Angelika Winzig (PPE, AT).
North Macedonia is an EU candidate countrywhich officially opened accession negotiations with the EU in July 2022.
Macro-financial assistance is part of the EU’s wider engagement with its neighboring and enlargement partners, and is designed as an exceptional crisis response instrument for partners facing serious balance of payments problems. This demonstrates the EU’s solidarity with these partners and support for effective policies at a time of unprecedented crisis.
The INTA report is expected to be voted on by all MEPs during the June plenary session. Once the EU Council approves the support, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will apply the day after its publication.