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Brussels, 29 September 2008

Commission adopts multi-annual planning of financial assistance to the Western Balkans and Turkey

The Commission has completed today the strategic planning of EU financial support for 2008-2010 to the candidate countries and potential candidates: Croatia, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo[1]. This financial assistance aims to enhance political and economic reform and development to realise their European perspective. For 2008-2010, the overall indicative amount of EU financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is €4.471 billion.

On the adoption of the strategies Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said: "The road towards the EU is paved with reforms to improve the every day lives of citizens and to comply with the strict EU accession criteria. Progress on this road not only requires a lot of political will and stamina, but also considerable financial efforts. The Commission contributes to these efforts with substantial financial assistance."

The execution of EU pre-accession aid under the IPA programme starts with the definition of the Commission's intentions in terms of indicative financial allocations. This has last been published in November 2007 for the period 2009-2011[2]. This step is followed by the adoption of the strategies, based on specific needs. Those adopted now set out the priorities for EU financial assistance for the period 2008-2010. The next step is to prepare, with the beneficiaries, programmes to implement the assistance.

For Croatia, the pre-accession assistance strategy concentrates on institution building, cross-border cooperation and preparation of the country for participation in the EU's cohesion and rural development policies.

EU assistance to Turkey focuses on support to the stability of institutions so as to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the respect for and protection of minorities, and promotion of the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue.

For the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, EU assistance will be provided for instance for institution building, to the improvement of governance and the rule of law.

For Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo assistance will focus on improving governance and the rule of law, supporting economic and social development and helping them to adopt laws in line with those of the EU and building their capacity to implement the laws on the ground.

Besides the country-specific financial assistance, a multi-beneficiary programme will support joint projects by several partners, in areas such as economic and social development, exchange of students and academic staff, supporting civil society, administrative and judicial reform, fight against organised crime and corruption and disaster risk reduction.

EU assistance will also help strengthen ties with neighbouring countries, including EU Member States, through cross-border cooperation projects.

To illustrate what kind of projects will be financed from the strategies adopted now, here are a few examples of already executed projects:

Montenegro: Support to the development of rural business (€3.8 million)

This project has provided direct advisory support to 185 small and medium sized enterprises. It is now concentrating on business development in rural and less developed areas, specifically targeting women and disadvantaged groups.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Support to the border police (€2.4 million)

Through this project, the EU co-funded the construction of the new headquarters of the Border Police. It will facilitate the institution's ability to adopt European standards in monitoring and control of border crossings, as well as strengthening its capacity to combat illegal migration, human trafficking and other cross-border criminal activities.

Turkey: Supporting the fight against child labour (€5.3 million)

This project has supported the efforts of Turkey to eliminate the worst forms of child labour completely by 2011. It provided approximately 3000 children and their families with education, rehabilitation and support services. More than 2000 children were registered in schools and part of their educational costs was covered by the project budget.

More info:

EU-funded project

Individual strategies

Indicative IPA financial allocations for the period 2008-2010

Planned allocation in million €
(figures are in current prices)
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Multi-beneficiary programme
TOTAL 2008-2010

[1] under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999

[2] multi-annual indicative financial framework

[3] under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999
[4] Additional €100 million assistance has been pledged for Kosovo at the Donor's Conference in July 2008. The use of this money is pending agreement of the Budgetary Authority

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