European Union

Building a brighter future  

The European Agency for Reconstruction in 
Serbia
News bulletin, Aril 2002

 

Presentation of 2002 Programme

Following approval by the European Commission on 15 March, the EU’s 2002 programme of support for Serbia was presented at a press conference in Belgrade on 29 March. The total budget will be €179.7 million, of which all but €9 million will be managed by the Agency (the €9 million will be spent on programmes managed direct by the European Commission). With the new programme, the total commitment for Serbia will increase to nearly €560 million.
“Our activities are now evolving from the emergency programme which we launched at the end of 2000, through the focused support to particular sectors which we gave in our 2001 programme”, said Richard Zink, the Agency’s Head of Operations in Serbia. “For the first time we are giving substantial assistance to the processes of public administration reform, institution-building and vocational and educational training. We will start two large projects – overhaul of Nikola Tesla A3 and, provided all the conditions are met, reconstruction of Sloboda Bridge – and continue working in many other key sectors,” and he added, “Our aim is to assist Serbia along the road to economic recovery and towards European integration. This programme is a vital step in that process.“
Photo; press conference line-up. L.to r.: Maja Kovačević (Head, European Integration Office, Federal Government), Dr. Goran Pitić (Serbian Minister for Foreign Economic Relations), Richard Zink, Ambassador Geoffrey Barrett (Head of EC Delegation)

The programme has three priority areas:
Good governance and institution building - €34.7 million
For the first time, the Agency plans to give considerable support to the process of public administration reform, in the fields of training, and statistics. Support for the upgrading of court administration systems will also be granted. A major new component consists of assistance to the European Integration Office. In the health sector, the Agency will help to reorganize and upgrade the national blood transfusion service.

Economic Reconstruction, Regeneration and Reform - €132.5 million

Support for the rehabilitation of the electricity sector is going to continue, including a major project to overhaul an entire block (A3) of the Nikola Tesla power station. Besides this, the Agency will aid the government to set up the Serbian Energy Efficiency Agency and the Serbian Energy Regulatory Agency. 

In the field of economic development, the Agency continues to help small and medium-sized enterprises, and for the first time will help “micro-enterprises”, by funding credit lines managed by domestic banks. Its current project to assist the Ministry of Privatisation is going to expand.

For the first time also, the Agency will enter the transport sector: it will fund the reconstruction of the Sloboda Bridge (in photo), and support major projects funded by loans from the EIB and EBRD.

Another “first” are the planned projects in the fields of environment and food safety. Here, the Agency will fund the upgrade of local veterinary and phyto-sanitary laboratories to facilitate exports to the EU, and improve food safety.

Social Development and Civil Society - €9.5 million
This year, for the first time, a vocational education and training programme has been developed, to assist the retraining of industrial personnel. Additional funds will also be provided to strengthen the NGO sector and local media.

Fast rate of disbursement
The 2000 programme is almost complete. Most of the 2001 programme budget (89%) has been contracted, and well over half (58%) spent. The Agency has already disbursed €292 million, i.e. 77% of total EU funds committed to Serbia since Oct. 2000 (not including those for the 2002 programme).

Preparations for the 2002 agriculture programme
The Agency’s 2001 programme contains many elements which “look forward” to parts of its 2002 programme. For example, in the agriculture sector, the plans to upgrade veterinary and phyto-sanitary laboratories have been preceded by a survey of current lab facilities. The Policy Advisory Unit, which started in the Ministry of Agriculture in January 2002, has been evaluating the state of equipment and system quality in all Serbian labs. The aim of the whole project is to harmonise the country’s agricultural policy with EU standards. 

Energy programme moving forward
The 2001 energy programme, worth over €100 million, is well advanced. 100% of the total budget (€107.3 million) has been committed and 70% has been disbursed. Well over 200 contracts have been signed in the main fields of activity: the coal mines (supply of machines, spares and materials), the power plants (where, e.g. in the rehabilitation of block A5 in the Kolubara power station, repair of the main boiler is almost complete and installation of a new control room is well under way), and the transmission system (high-voltage overhead lines have been replaced in the systems around Belgrade and Novi Sad). Studies for an Energy Efficiency Agency, for expansion of coal production, and on environmental issues, are complete.

EU visit to Subotica
On 8 March, the third of a regular series of EU missions to municipalities took place in Subotica, on the border with Hungary. As before, the delegation included Ambassador Geoffrey Barrett, Head of the EC Delegation, an ECHO representative and, from the Agency, Maurizio Ranalli and John White.

The European Agency for Reconstruction in Serbia

Start of operations:  December 2000

Budget 2000:  €185.2 million

Budget 2001:  €193.8 million

Budget 2002:  €170.7 million

Key sectors: good governance, economic regeneration, social development & civil society, energy, health, agriculture, SME development, media

As at 8/4/2002

Budget 2000

Budget 2001

Budget 2002

Committed

100%    (€185.2 m)

100%   (€193.8 m)

100% (€170.7 m)

Contracted

  99%    (€184.0 m)

  89%   (€172.4 m)

   0%

Paid

  97%    (€179.0 m)

  58%   (€112.3 m)

   0%