The European Commission said on December 11 it has adopted a €1bn financial package to support pre-accession programmes in the Western Balkan countries and Turkey.
Brussels has increased its attention to the EU-aspirant countries in the region since the Berlin process was launched in mid-2014 with the aim of demonstrating its commitment to enlargement. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in Europe has further highlighted the importance of cooperation between current and future EU members facing a common crisis.
The aim of the newly announced funding is support democratic and economic reforms, regional cooperation and the modernisation of the judiciary and of public administration.
The funds will be provided under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) to seven countries: Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
"This package expresses our strong commitment to the EU perspective for the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is a long-term investment in the EU's own stability, security and prosperity and will support the political and economic reform process of the countries on their EU accession path", Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations said in a statement.
The package includes €155mn for major regional infrastructure projects in the energy and transport sectors in the Western Balkans: four power interconnections, two road projects and two rail projects. The EU contribution is expected to trigger loans from partner financial institutions totalling €540mn.
The statement noted that the EC’s top priority is to help the Western Balkan countries to improve their connectivity, as well as connectivity between the Western Balkans and the EU.
|EC's 2015 financial package|
|Country||€mn||Main sectors financed|
|Albania||89.9||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, Education, Employment and Social Policies|
|Bosnia||37.2||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights|
|Macedonia||24.1||Democracy and Governance, Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Kosovo||78.0||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, Energy, Agriculture and Rural Development.|
|-2015 national programme||25.1||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights|
|-2015-2017 multi annual action programme||15.3||Education, employment and social policies|
|Serbia||196.6||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, Transport policy|
|Turkey||255.1||Democracy and Governance, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, Energy, Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Multi-Country 2015 – part I||122.6||Horizontal support to sector policies and reforms;Regional structures and networks; Regional investment support.|
|Multi-Country 2015-2016 - Connectivity||155.3||Regional investment support.|
|Support measures||71.6||Audit 2015 (€2mn); Evaluation and Monitoring 2015 (€2mn); Information and Communication 2015-2016 (€20mn); 2015-2018 support to OHR in Bosnia (€9.6mn); TAIEX 2015 (€38mn)|
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