Brussels, 23 December 2013
EU to grant 178.7 million EUR to support key reforms in Serbia
Today the European Commission adopted the 2013 national programme for Serbia under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The €178.7 million programme will help Serbia implement reforms in key areas such as rule of law, public administration, social inclusion, private sector development, transport, environment, energy and agriculture. These reforms are crucial elements of the country's European integration process and will directly improve the daily lives of Serbian citizens. With today's agreement, the EU's pre-accession assistance for Serbia since 2001 has reached €2.6 billion.
"This was a historic year for Serbia's relations with the EU, with the decision to open accession negotiations and the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. It is important that Serbia now uses this momentum and continues to vigorously implement key reforms. The EU's pre-accession funds, now totalling €2.6 billion since 2001, will help implement these reforms, bringing concrete benefits for Serbian citizens", said Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
The programme will help Serbia in the area of rule of law by supporting the implementation of national strategies for the fight against corruption, improving the prison system and strengthening the independence and competence of the judicial system. Funds will also be used to strengthen the efficiency of the Serbian customs administration and border control facilities.
The funds will also go to improve the capacity of the public administration at central and local levels by developing the country's public finance management and public procurement. In addition, 34 municipalities in South and South West Serbia will be specifically targeted to develop local governance capacities, conditions for business and infrastructure development and support the implementation of social inclusion and employment policies.
The development of the private sector will be supported through measures that will improve the environment for doing business in Serbia, increase the competitiveness of Serbian enterprises and support investment in research and innovation. In the area of transport, navigation conditions on the Danube will be improved.
On top of the national IPA programme adopted today, EU funds for Serbia will also be available through the Civil Society Facility (€2.5 million), TEMPUS programme (€4 million), and funds for refugees under the Regional Housing Programme (€12 million).
For more information:
Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)
Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)