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Friday, April 2, 2004

2004 CARDS Annual Programme

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News The European Commission (EC) has adopted its 2004 Annual Programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo.

The European Commission (EC) has adopted its 2004 Annual Programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In 2004, within the Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS) Programme, a total of €65 million will be spent assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina in its reform and modernisation efforts. The priorities of the 2004 programme are: building the capacity of BiH's State institutions to serve their country effectively and act as reliable counterparts for the international community; supporting economic reform and development, and strengthening the rule of law. Since 1991, the European Union has been the largest donor of assistance to the Western Balkans. Bosnia and Herzegovina - Priorities within the CARDS Annual Programme 2004 Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) (€ 23.5 million) BiH faces challenges in areas such as immigration, border control and organised crime. In August 2003, the United National Security Council, in Resolution 1503, endorsed the establishment of a War Crimes Chamber within the BiH Court as an essential prerequisite for compliance with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The fight against organised crime and Border management are other key issues in the JHA sector which the Commission's CARDS assistance continues to address as matters of priority, notably by providing support to the administration of justice, through capacity building activities within the government in order to enhance the ability to combat organised crime and by further promoting concepts of integrated border management. Democratic stabilisation (€ 4.5 million) To achieve democratic stabilisation objectives, BiH's Action Programme 2004 will focus on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. Objectives and strategies for the return sector were set at the end of 2002 in the "Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the implementation of Annex VII of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (the "Dayton Agreement")". CARDS assistance aims to build BiH authorities' capacity to take over full responsibility in the sector. Administrative capacity building (€ 21.5 million) The BiH administration is still characterised by fragmentation, under-qualified and poorly trained personnel as well as by administrative overlaps and lack of co-ordination between its various levels. BiH set out its strategy for the reform of the public administration in March 2003, and following a CARDS-funded analysis of needs and identification of required reforms, assistance under the 2004 Annual programme will help BiH to implement the necessary reforms. Economic and social development (€14.1 million) Although BiH has enjoyed the benefits of strong post-conflict growth, the basis for sustainable development remains questionable over the medium term. This situation is exacerbated by a rigid labour market, high levels of unemployment (estimated at 40%), underdevelopment of the education and training sector, a large proportion of the population living close to the poverty line (45% estimated to earn less than 500 Convertible Mark (CM)/month(1) ) and continued dislocation of much of the population. Shortages of government funding to support pensions and the social safety net, further expose disadvantaged groups. Under CARDS the Commission and BiH have formulated effective strategies to address these issues such as the implementation of a comprehensive framework for corporate governance, the creation of a regional economic development framework for sustainable development and preparing the country for EU integration, the development of external trade as well as expanding opportunities for vocational education and training. Environment and natural resources (€ 1.4 million) The EU is promoting environmental protection and sustainable development in BiH, in particular by supporting the institutional strengthening of environmental management, especially focusing on the upgrade of the legal framework and on technical assistance to public authorities. Background: Since 1991, the European Union has been the largest donor of assistance to the Western Balkans. Since the establishment of the Cards programme for the Western Balkans in 2001, € 325.9 million has been made available to Bosnia & Herzegovina in technical assistance (this amount includes the € 65 million for 2004).

Source :  Press release Eureopan Commission


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