EU earmarks €5.5 billion for reforms in the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland
13. July 2011. | 09:54
The European Commission has finalised its plans for financial support for ongoing reforms in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, as well as Kosovo1 for 2011–2013. The plans, called Multi-Annual Indicative Planning Documents (MIPDs), outline a revised strategy for funding under the EU's Instrument for Pre-Accession assistance (IPA).
"The funds should act as a catalyst to drive forward reform in the enlargement countries and support the countries along their path of European integration. The EU assistance will also directly impact upon the daily lives of citizens by contributing to improved rule of law, governance, social conditions and economic prospects, particularly important as a number of countries in the region recover from the economic crisis", said European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
The funding will focus on areas such as reform of the judiciary and public administration, enhancing regional cooperation in the fight against organised crime and corruption, building up a vibrant civil society, fostering reforms and regional cooperation in education, as well as underpinning sustainable recovery from the economic crisis through investment in strategic infrastructure projects.
The European Commission has taken a number of steps in recent years to strengthen the link between the priorities established in the EU enlargement strategy, the Commission's Progress Reports and the programming of IPA assistance. With this goal in mind the Commission has adopted sector-based planning of pre-accession assistance. Sectors given special attention in the different beneficiary countries also include, inter alia, private sector development, transport, environment, climate change and energy, agriculture and rural development.
Around 10% of the available IPA funds will be allocated to strengthen multilateral relations in the Western Balkans and Turkey, in areas identified as crucial for European integration and stability in the region where there is a clear need for regional co-operation: tackling cross-border problems, seeking greater efficiency through closer co-operation, leveraging existing instruments and facilitating networks of experts. Funds available for this will total around €521 million for the period 2011-2013.