SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 9,2008) - Hosted by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), a two-day coordination meeting gathering participants in the Multi-Beneficiary Programme under the European Commission’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), has commenced in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today.
Head of Operations of the European Commission Delegation to Bosnia Boris Iarochevitch and Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Hido Biščević addressed the participants at the opening ceremony. They both emphasized the importance of the meeting and of the Multi-Beneficiary Programme, which might become an important tool for the very essence of the work of the RCC.
Delegations of Bosnia, Albania, Croatia,Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and European Commission have gathered to discuss and evaluate implementation of the ongoing projects, Programme’s strategy and possibilities for future cooperation.
Iarochevitch underlined how important and useful is to held meetings like this one in order to exchange information among the beneficiaries of the countries and delegations of the region and discuss future regional cooperation and steps forward.
“I think that the timing is very important. As you all know, we are currently engaged in the IPA programming cycle. You have been recently asked to commence to draft programmes and plans for the years 2009-2011, and I think our work today will help us to generate ideas with a regional scope for the future indicative programmes.”- stressed Iarochevitch.
Biščević pointed out that the next year, a year of 2009, would be a crucial year for the countries of the southeastern Europe, and particularly for the Western Balkans countries.He said that these countries, which are at the crossroad now, could experience two possible outcomes – a positive one, where the positive trends can be sustained and accelerated, and a negative one, a scenario of standstill.
“I need to tell you that the countries in the region are eagerly waiting for a strategy to be finalised. The governments in the region are very much preparing to see in what way, how, to what dynamics and to what methodology the Multi-Beneficiary Programme strategy will be translated, in the forthcoming period, into concrete work, concrete projects.” – said Biščević.
The multi-beneficiary programme will complement and add value to the support given by different national programmes. Multi-beneficiary actions consequently focuses on support that requires collaboration among the beneficiaries, such as regional structures, networks of experts or civil servants or to tackle needs or problems of a cross-border nature.
Purpose of support under the IPA programme is to help candidate and potential candidate countries (the Beneficiaries) to progress towards fully meeting the Copenhagen political and economic criteria as well as adopting and implementing EU acquis.
Besides the country-specific financial assistance, a multi-beneficiary programme supports joint projects by several partners, in areas such as economic and social development, exchange of students and academic staff, supporting civil society, administrative and judicial reform, fight against organised crime and corruption and disaster risk reduction.
For 2008-2010, the overall indicative amount of EU financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is 4.471 billion Euros.