IPA: €2 billion package to support reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey in 2014ipa2-mapThe European Commission has finalised its 2014 package of pre-accession assistance programmes to support reforms in countries wishing to join the EU. The funding, totalling EUR 2 billion, comes under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), and will be available to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Turkey. The package also includes multi-annual programmes to support specific sectors over the next three years in Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

“These funds will support concrete democratic and economic reforms: from modernisation of the judiciary and public administration, to investments in infrastructure and connectivity between the enlargement countries and with the EU Member States. This will further strengthen the region’s stability, its economy and its investment potential”, said Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

This year’s funding will provide for a stronger ownership by the beneficiaries through integrating their own reform and development agendas.It will notably include a budget support programme to reform the system of public finance management in Albania, the first of its kind in the Western Balkans.

Serbia could expect to sign the Financing Agreement and start implementation in the second quarter of 2015.

Out of 115 million euros available for Serbia, two million euros will be allocated for support to civil society under the IPA 2014 multi-country Action Programme. Part of the overall programme will be managed under indirect management for a total amount of €65.59 million. The other part for a total amount of €49.5 million will be implemented by the EU Delegation under direct management as well as with international organisations and IFIs.

This programme represents a more focused sectoral approach. It contains 11 action documents covering 5 different sectors.

A Democracy and Governance Sector would receive 44 percent of all funds focused on rightsizing of public administration, support to local self-governments for regulatory and budgetary reforms, as well as other measures, including EU integration facility to support technical preparations related to accession negotiations and preparation/implementation of Serbia’s single project pipeline of investment for infrastructures in transport, environment, energy and business infrastructures.

Some 24 percent of the funds will be allocated to the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Sector, with a focus on home affairs and strengthening the migration and border control management, including construction of three crossing points as a part of agreement in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Another 11 percent would be allocated to the energy sector with a foruc on alignment with the EU energy acquis, while 4.5 percent are planned for Competitiveness Sector in order to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises.

Education, Employment and Social Policies Sector, as one of the key for further development of the country through improving youth employability and entrepreneurship, as well as reforms in educational system, would be able to count on 16.5 percent of the ammount.

An additional €62 million is mobilised to assist Serbia in the recovery effort following the floods of May 2014 and of September 2014. This special measure will contribute directly to implementation of Government priorities in the post-flood period, both the recovery needs as well as upgrading the emergency response and prevention systems.