Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)
The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) supports socio-economic development and EU membership in all Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) through the provision of funds and technical assistance for strategic investments. It is a joint initiative of the EU, international financial institutions (IFIs), bilateral donors and the governments of the Western Balkans.
WBIF provides financing and technical assistance for strategic investments in energy, environment, social sector, transport and digital infrastructure. Furthermore, supports initiatives of private sector development.
Applications are evaluated by the WBIF Project Funders Group, which recommends selected applications for approval to the Steering Committee. Approved grants are then implemented by infrastructure project implementation teams and/or the IFIs themselves.
WBIF is a funds platform that finances the preparation and implementation of priority infrastructure projects through grants from IPA and combined bi-lateral donors with credits from participating financial institutions and national funding from beneficiary countries. For more information: https://www.wbif.eu/
So far, Kosovo has benefited from combined funds within the WBIF (grants and credits) for 46 different projects in the following sectors: transport, energy, environment, digital infrastructure, as well as in the social and private sector. These projects are in different stages: some have been completed, some are being implemented, and some others are being prepared for implementation. The total investment amount estimated for these projects is approximately 3 billion Euros. This amount includes the grants obtained within the framework, loans from international financial institutions as well as co-financing from the side of Kosovo.
The Berlin Process and the Priority List of Infrastructure Projects
In 2014, a diplomatic initiative was launched by the then German Chancellor Angela Merkel, known as the Berlin Process, which aims to increase regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and help the integration of these countries into the European Union.
The process is carried out with the support of the European Commission, international financial institutions and the Member States involved in the process and completes the institutional integration process of the separate countries into the EU.
The connectivity agenda of the Berlin Process refers to connecting people (social dimension), economies (economic dimension) and states (political dimension) of the region. In reference to this agenda, the process has created projects and initiatives in the areas of transportation and infrastructure, economic ties, collaboration between youths, businesses and civil societies of the Western Balkan region. Additionally, it has fostered intergovernmental cooperation through the establishment of entities such as the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), the Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum (WBCIF), and the Western Balkans Fund (WBF).
In the framework of the Berlin Process, every Western Balkan country has established a government decision-making structure in the form of a National Investment Council and has drafted a Priority List of Infrastructure Projects (LPP) as a trusted planning mechanism, ensuring that countries have the fiscal space to secure the necessary financing to implement all projects in time. In Kosovo, the National Investment Council role is played by the Strategic Planning Commission, chaired by the Prime Minister and established by Government Decision No.042/12 of 09.07.2020.
Priority List of Infrastructure Projects in Kosovo was created for the first time in 2015 while it was recently updated in 2017, and contains projects from the field of environment, energy, transport and social sector.