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Western Balkan countries advocate increase in IPA funds-Serbian Deputy PM

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Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic said that the national coordinators of the Western Balkan countries for the use of EU pre-accession funds (IPA) took a common stance at yesterday‘s meeting regarding the use of this assistance, in which they propose a gradual increase of the assistance to these countries prior to their accession into the community.

Djelic, who is the national IPA coordinator for Serbia, said after meeting with national coordinators of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, that the assistance after the EU accession would decrease.

He recalled that the European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule said during last week’s visit to Belgrade that the European Commission will support this common position of countries of the region, which will certainly have more weight than individual requests by some countries.

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Noting that Serbia is using the EU pre-accession assistance of about €2 billion for the period of 10 years, Djelic explained that the Western Balkan countries suggest that this assistance increase gradually until the countries acquire full membership.

These funds would be used for building infrastructure, improving business conditions in agriculture, industry, environment and overall growth of the standard of living, Djelic said.

We agreed to ask the EU to determine all the necessary conditions for obtaining this financial support, Djelic explained, adding that one of the requirements is to increase the involvement of the national IPA coordinators in the formulation of policies for the use of assistance from the European budget for Western Balkan countries.

He stated that the agreement on common requirements from the EU will be signed when the national coordinators receive authorisation from their governments, while, as he explained, Croatia will not sign the agreement because it is about to join the EU, but it will provide advisory and other forms of support to other countries – candidates for admission into EU.

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