Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)
The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) is a financial instrument launched in 2009 by the European Commission, leading financial institutions and several donor countries in order to facilitate the preparation and implementation of priority investments in infrastructure in the Western Balkans countries. It is a regional instrument which, through various sources of funding, supports the enlargement of the European Union and the socio-economic development of the countries of the Western Balkans that are the beneficiaries of this instrument.
The Western Balkans Investment Framework deals with financing and providing technical assistance in the implementation of strategic investments in the following areas: energy, environmental protection, social sector, transport and private sector development.
WBIF consists of two funds through which it combines donations and loans: the Joint Grant Facility and the Joint Lending Facility. Funds are provided by donors and financial institutions, with the purpose of financing the preparation (grants for technical assistance) and implementation (investment grants and loans) of infrastructure projects.
In addition to infrastructure projects, WBIF also finances the development of general studies dealing with individual sectors, as well as capacity building, thus contributing to the overall development of investments in the Western Balkans region.
The European Commission has approved approximately USD 1 billion to the Western Balkans Investment Framework during the period 2014-2020 for improving key transport and energy corridors in the Western Balkans countries, as well as corridors that link the region and countries of the European Union. This initiative, known as the "Connectivity Agenda", is a part of the Western Balkans 6 process (Berlin Process), and aims to create safe and efficient transport routes through corridors, as well as a safer and more accessible matching between the electricity needs and total supply. The Western Balkans Investment Framework has so far supported investments in a total value of around EUR 4.65 billion in Serbia, through projects in all sectors which are eligible for funding. Of this number, 46 grants were for technical assistance, while the remaining 6 projects were approved through investment grant rounds. The Republic of Serbia also participates in 19 regional projects supported through the Western Balkans Investment Framework.
For more information, check the following link: https://www.wbif.eu/
The European Commission has, by its decision of 10 December 2014, established the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis - the "Madad Fund". The initial objective of this fund was to support the refugees from Syria and the countries of their residence (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey). The Fund was later extended to refugees and migrants from other vulnerable countries, as well as to providing support to non-EU countries affected by the migrant crisis, which enabled the Republic of Serbia to apply for funding.
In 2016 and 2017, from the funds of the Madad Fund, support was approved for the Republic of Serbia for financing current operating expenses, nutrition, provision of health services and access to education for migrant children and improvement of the conditions for accommodation of refugees and migrants at reception centres - primarily in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the Ministry of Interior, as well as with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
For more information about the Madad Fund, please visit the European Commission's website at the following link:
EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF)
The European Union has established the Solidarity Fund (EUSF), with the aim of providing support to Member States and states in the process of EU membership negotiations in order to more easily overcome the consequences of large-scale natural disasters. This expresses European solidarity with the regions and countries in Europe that are affected by natural disasters. By covering parts of public expenditures, the EUSF contributes to the efforts of the states to carry out activities aimed at reconstructing the country and remedying the damage caused by natural disasters.
The Republic of Serbia, as a country in the process of EU membership negotiations, applied for a grant from the EU Solidarity Fund on 30 July 2014, in order to remedy the damages and reconstruct the areas affected by the floods in May 2014. On 17 December 2014, the European Parliament and the Council approved the proposed decision of the European Commission to grant Serbia funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by May floods in the amount of EUR 60.2 million (EUR 60,224,605), while the European Commission adopted the formal decision on 13 March 2015.
At its session held on 26 March 2015, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the text of the Agreement on the Conferral of Implementation of the Commission's Decision of 13 March 2015, granting a financial contribution from the European Union Solidarity Fund for financing emergency and recovery operations, which arose as a result of a catastrophe caused by great floods in Serbia. Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović signed the Agreement on 1 April 2015. The assets from the Fund were paid in one tranche to a special-purpose account of the Serbian Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief.
You can find the results of the implementation of the contribution from the EU Solidarity Fund on the website of the Public Investment Management Office at the following link:
More about the EUSF can be found at the following link:
Regional Housing Programme
The Regional Housing Programme is a joint initiative of four countries - Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro - which aims to provide permanent housing solutions for 27,000 most vulnerable refugee families (74,000 individuals) in the region. Of this, 16,780 families (about 45,000 individuals) are from Serbia.
The Programme is being implemented as part of the "Sarajevo Process", and on the basis of the "Belgrade Declaration", signed on 7 November 2011 by ministers of foreign affairs of four programme beneficiary countries. These countries were most affected by the conflicts of the 1990s and, on this basis, they have a significant refugee population.
The funding for the implementation of the Programme is provided by donors, the European Union being particularly prominent, which finances this Programme from Multi-country and National Pre-accession Funds (IPA). Other donors are the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Norway, the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Italy, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Turkey and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The total funds pledged by donors by October 2017 for implementing the entire Programme in all four countries amount to EUR 280 million. In order to access these funds, four Programme beneficiary countries apply by submitting concrete project proposals. By the end of 2017, the Republic of Serbia submitted 8 project proposals in the total amount of cca EUR 106 million in grants approved by the Donors Assembly. In this way, the Republic of Serbia represents the largest single beneficiary of this fund.
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović is entrusted with the responsibility of signing donation contracts for the implementation of projects in the Republic of Serbia. The leading institution for the implementation of the Programme is the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia.
Through the Programme, a large number of different housing solutions are provided: assignment of construction material packages, construction of prefabricated houses, purchase of rural houses and construction of residential buildings. In this way, it is ensured that refugee families solve their housing problems/issues in a way that suits them the most, at their current place of residence, bearing in mind that the Programme is implemented in more than 120 municipalities in the Republic of Serbia.
More information about the Regional Housing Programme can be found at the following link: www.regionalhousingprogramme.com, as well as on the website of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration: www.kirs.gov.rs