Parliament voted to grant macro-financial assistance (MFA) of up to 100 million euros to North Macedonia to help the country cover part of its financing needs in 2023.
On Tuesday, MPs approved the Commission proposal to provide the government of North Macedonia with support to stabilize the country’s economic situation by 536 votes, 38 against and 23 abstentions.
The aid would be paid in two tranches, subject to progress in implementing policy measures agreed in a memorandum of understanding between the EU and North Macedonia. They would likely focus on areas such as fiscal governance, tax policy, public investment management, public-private partnerships, improving the business environment, state aid transparency, efficiency energy, judicial reform and the fight against corruption.
Furthermore, the aid is conditional on North Macedonia maintaining satisfactory performance in implementing a International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After a partial recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, North Macedonia now faces substantial impacts from Russia’s war against Ukraine. Amid tightening global financial conditions, rising energy costs and higher-than-expected losses from the national electricity producer, North Macedonia requested macro-financial assistance (MFA) in 2022.
Rapporteur Angelika Winzig (EPP, AT) said: “North Macedonia has been and still is hard hit by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This year they are faced with significant needs to repay their external debt. With this aid in the form of loans, we are sending a sign of European solidarity towards North Macedonia and the countries of the Western Balkans.”
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.
Once the aid has been approved by the Council of the EU, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and applicable the day after its publication.