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Serbia to get €190.9 mln EU assistance in 2008

Serbia will receive €190.9 million (some $280.4 million) in financial assistance from the European Union for the improvement of the economic and social development of the country this year, local media reported on Wednesday.

The largest part from the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Aid (IPA), some €25 million is envisaged for the development of local infrastructure, reported the Beta news agency, citing Ognjen Miric, the government’s coordinator for the management of EU funds. Miric said €11 million will be spent on establishing a system of adult education and expert training of company managers, while projects designed to tackle corruption will receive €2.5 million, the same amount as that to be set aside for the media, “in support of EU integration promotion.” He said these plans are still negotiated with the EU Commission Delegation in Belgrade, “so small changes in the sums presented can occur.” Other planned projects include those in the sectors of jurisdiction, internal affairs, human and ethnic rights, refugees and internally displaced persons.

The EU’s IPA financial aid program for Serbia started in early 2007. EU’s overall assistance to Serbia, as a potential membership candidate, is at some €1 billion for the period from 2007 through 2011. Serbia has received around €1.4 billion of EU aid since 2001. (