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J. Joksimović: IPA programmes – concrete EU assistance intended for the development of our country

May 29 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: IPA programmes – concrete EU assistance intended for the development of our country

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has assessed today that EUR 70 million in grants that the EU has allocated to Serbia is a concrete Union’s assistance intended for the development of the country, emphasising that this is only the first part allocated for 2020, and that the agreement for the second part is soon expected to be signed for an amount of EUR 98 million.

Joksimović has said that the funds will contribute to the reduction of regional inequalities in Serbia, adding that, with these funds and with the measures of a responsible economic policy the Serbian Government is implementing, which resulted in the fact that Serbia is now less and less lagging behind the European average, Serbia has a chance to maintain – and even to accelerate – the trend in the following years.

On the occasion of signing the Financial Agreement for the first part of the 2020 IPA programme worth EUR 70.2 million in grants, Joksimović has said that the areas that will be supported through this programme are related to local economic development and support to economy and employment, particularly to the less employable categories.

In addition, the first part allocated for 2020 will support education, higher access to the education system – particularly for vulnerable groups and children with disabilities, healthcare – which is particularly significant in the post-pandemic period, and social protection at the national and local level.

According to Joksimović, the second part, worth EUR 98 million, will support projects related to environmental protection and energy, as well as large infrastructure projects, while it will also support the process of European integration in terms of negotiations by chapters.

“We are treating the EU taxpayers’ money as responsibly as we treat the money of the Serbian citizens,” stressed Joksimović.

The Minister has assessed that today, as well as every such day since 2014, is one of the crucial days for Serbia’s European path and for the citizens’ understanding of the importance of Serbia’s European path.

According to her, if Serbia were an EU member, it would annually have around EUR 1.3 billion available from structural funds, but now as a candidate country, it has received EUR 1.3 billion over the period of seven years.

“I am glad that today we are finalising the seven-year period of pre-accession funds intended for Serbia, which is well-advanced in the accession process,” stated Joksimović.

She has further said that this type of assistance dates back to even before 2014, adding that the assistance was less visible then and that the visibility was less than five percent.

“Today, every third citizens in Serbia knows about a project financed from EU funds – local schools, roads, kindergartens, large projects such as the construction of water purification facilities, which is crucial for our citizens’ understanding of why the European path is important,” said  Joksimović.

She has emphasised that, since 2014, she has had the support of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to ensure that all projects that apply for EU funds are projects that are strategically important for Serbia, for the development of the country and for its citizens.
Furthermore, she has had support in ensuring that these projects are well-prepared, not a product of political imagination and needs, but projects that are truly prepared, ready and beneficial to the Serbian citizens.

She has thanked President Vučić for this approach he has applied for years, which, nonethelees, has not always been popular among politicians. 

Source: Tanjug