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Serbia and EU Discuss Ongoing EU Assistance and Future Projects

21. February 2017. | Belgrade

Serbia and EU Discuss Ongoing EU Assistance and Future Projects

The meeting of the EU-Serbia IPA Monitoring Committee, which took place in the Palace of Serbia, was co-chaired by Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister without portfolio for European integration and Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for Western Balkans in the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission.

The meeting took stock of the implementation of on-going EU funded projects as well as preparations for future EU financial assistance. It underlined the importance of national sector policies and strategies which underpin effective use of EU assistance.

Minister without portfolio in charge of European integration and National IPA coordinator stressed: “A lot was done in the IPA programming and implementation process. However, it is very important to stress the challenges of implementation as well as determination of the Republic of Serbia to work closely with our partners in order to provide for sound and efficient management of IPA funds. In that context, the IPA Monitoring Committee resulted in some very concrete and operational conclusions that will lead to more efficient delivery of results”.

European Commission Director Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, stated: "Serbia is firmly on the path to the European Union. Effective use of EU funds is essential to ensure that Serbian citizens derive real benefit from reforms before and after accession. Making sure this happens is a joint responsibility of Serbia and the EU".

The Committee also acknowledged the importance of the Single Project Pipeline (SPP) and the National Investment Committee as an example of good practice in the region and the framework to select and prioritise investment projects.

Participants stressed the need for further strengthening the Serbian institutions managing EU financial assistance and the importance of retaining experienced staff. They also supported the efforts of the Ministry of Finance to accelerate implementation of EU assistance and preparation for the IPARD programme that will benefit farmers and stimulate rural development. 

The meeting called on all responsible institutions to overcome blockages in the implementation of municipal investment projects related to waste and waste water. This is necessary for making good use of larger funds for environmental projects in the future.

The Committee also acknowledged the importance of Cross Border Cooperation Programmes, and welcomed the start of a programme with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The IPA Monitoring Committee meets once a year in order to monitor the implementation of financial assistance to Serbia through projects implemented under IPA, which is the main financial instrument helping Serbia prepare for EU accession. Serbia is expected to receive an indicative amount of €1.5 billion in the period 2014 to 2020 under IPA. The EU is by far the biggest donor to Serbia with more than €3 billion of non-refundable grants provided over the past 16 years from IPA and other financial instruments in many areas ranging from economic and social development, education, environment, innovation and entrepreneurship, agriculture to the rule of law and public administration reform.