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EU pledges to invest €3.5 bln in SEE by 2011

The European Union will approve €3.5 billion (about $5.2 billion) in pre-accession assistance to the South East European countries by 2011, intended for support of their cooperation and accession to the Union. the Deputy Director General of the EU Enlargement Directorate General, Jan Truszczynski, said at the Regional economic forum in Dubrovnik – reports Makfax.

“The European Commission is here to encourage the region to stay on the path of the Euro-integrations,” Truszczynski said, adding that “although there are no guarantees that things in the region would move forward faster than before, it certainly is a political priority of EU and EC.” He stressed that EU enlargement is a win-win situation for both new and old members, pointing out that the annual GDP growth of the new 12 members reached 4.3%, compared to the 2.3% of the older members.

The forum brought together about 160 state officials, businessmen and scientists from eight region’s countries, discussing the economic cooperation and the standards for membership in EU. Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, Albanian President Bamir Topi, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski and Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Zejlko Komsic will take part at the afternoon’s session. Bulgaria will be represented by its vice president. (