Thursday

24th May 2018

EU funding for Serbia well spent, says EU budget watchdog

  • Serbia started accession negotiations in January 2014 (Photo: Wolfgang Klotz/Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung)

The EU’s budget watchdog says the €1.2 billion of EU money spent to help Serbia’s future membership with the Union was relatively well managed.

In its report out Tuesday (13 January), the Luxembourg-based European Court of Auditors said Serbia’s pre-accession assistance (IPA) for 2007 to 2013 delivered on social and economic reforms despite the poor execution of some projects.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Learning from its past pre-accession support, the commission successfully supported Serbia in addressing key areas such as good governance, the rule of law, and the fight against corruption,” said the Court in a statement.

At the same time, the Court noted some projects suffered from “weaknesses regarding their design, implementation and sustainability” and recommended the commission improve transparency and set up better quality control checks.

It noted, for instance, that an EU project on a judiciary system had run parallel - without any coordination - to another system funded by the United States.

The Court audited 15 IPA funded projects and 'desk' reviewed 10 others. The audits focused on project results while the reviews assessed governance and fight against corruption where projects did not have good governance as a primary objective. The probes took place from May 2013 until January 2014.

Serbia received around €170 million annually from the fund. The money went to areas like justice, transport, and social development.

Around a quarter of it supported governance projects, which include fighting corruption and improving public administration.

The European Commission, in its annual package of EU hopefuls published last October, highlighted corruption in Serbia as a persistent problem.

Despite the political impetus to fight graft by Serbian leadership, corruption remains prevalent, said the commission.

Serbia’s accession negotiations started in January 2014. It faces big political challenges that require it to normalise relations with Kosovo - a pre-condition for future membership.

Full recognition of Kosovo has not been tabled.

But Latvia’s foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics, speaking on behalf of the EU presidency, told Serbian media last week that Belgrade needs to continue high-level dialogue with Pristina.

“The dialogue at a high level after the forming of the government in Kosovo should be continued in the near future, in order to accelerate implementation of existing agreements," he said, reports the Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti.

The European commission, for its part, has downgraded its overall enlargement campaign.

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said there would be no new EU countries during his five-year term. He also changed the name of the “enlargement” portfolio to “enlargement negotiations”.

EU enlargement heading into chilly period

The EU commission is not recommending any fresh steps on Western Balkan enlargement in the next 12 months, with one official saying the policy is in "de facto freeze".

'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit

At the first summit in 15 years with Western Balkan leaders, EU chiefs made it clear that enlargement is not at hand - but offered economic incentives to keep the region close to the bloc.

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

EU tells Moldova it is still corrupt

In an annual progress report, European Commission says "independence of justice, law enforcement as well as national anti-corruption authorities need substantial improvement".

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  2. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  3. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  4. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  5. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  6. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  7. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  8. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains