- European Agency for Reconstruction
Infobox European Union agency
name=European Agency for Reconstruction
x = 173
y = 207
director=Acting Director Adriano Martins
website= [http://www.ear.europa.eu/ ear.europa.eu]
The European Agency for Reconstruction manages on behalf of the European Commission the European Union's main assistance programmes in the Republic of Serbia, Kosovo "(under UNSCR 1244/99)," Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The agency was established in February 2000 as the EU's main reconstruction arm in war-damaged Kosovo and later expanded to Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The agency's headquarters are in Thessaloniki, Greece. It has operational centres in Pristina, Belgrade, Podgorica and Skopje.
As an independent agency of the European Union, EAR is accountable to the Council and the European Parliament and overseen by a Governing Board composed of representatives from the 27 EU Member States and the European Commission.
The Agency’s mandate was extended twice by Council Decisions and will run until 31 December 2008. That extension allowed the agency to continue to manage the ‘Community Assistance for the Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation’ (CARDS) programme in the Western Balkans. The EAR also assisted the beneficiaries and the European Commission in the design and implementation of the new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) 2007 and 2008.
Since 2000, the Agency managed a cumulative total of some €2.9 billion of EU taxpayers' money across its four operational centres. The Agency’s work was part of the wider Stabilisation and Association Process – the EU’s key strategy for the Western Balkans region. As the largest EU body managing assistance in the Balkans, the Agency helped the region achieve lasting peace, prosperity, and progress towards eventual EU membership.
The Agency’s emphasis evolved from post-conflict reconstruction to helping countries with reform in areas such as justice and home affairs, public administration and public finance, and economic development. Its programmes strengthened central and local administration, the police and the judiciary, public finances, the agricultural, transport and energy sectors, the environment and state utility providers. EC funds are helping the region establish the conditions for economic growth, with a particular emphasis on attracting investment. Projects also promote social development, with a special focus on minorities, women, refugees and the displaced, and the strengthening of civil society, including independent media. Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also benefit from European Commission assistance not managed by the Agency. This includes macro-financial, humanitarian, democratisation, customs and fiscal planning aid, support for higher education cooperation programmes, the CARDS Regional Programme, and support for the EU Pillar of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The region also receives bilateral aid from EU Member States.
An independent Evaluation on the work of the European Agency for Reconstruction was published on 4th June, 2004. The Evaluation highly commends the Agency's role in delivering EC assistance in Serbia, Montenegro, UN-administered Kosovo, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Director: Adriano Martins
2008 Budget: €20m for administrative expenditure (plus managing €2.87 billion from previous years.
The European Agency for Reconstruction managed a cumulative portfolio of some €1.11 billion in different projects and programmes across Kosovo.
The Agency had its roots in the aftermath of the Kosovo war. In early 2000, it took over from the European Commission Task Force for the Reconstruction of Kosovo, a temporary emergency assistance body set up in the summer of 1999, following the NATO-led intervention against Yugoslavia. Pristina was the city where the Agency established its first operational centre.
In 2008, the Agency finalised several projects, such as the one facilitating the return of families belonging to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) communities. A training programme to raise awareness on EU policies was also completed, as well as the programme providing support to the Kosovo Assembly.
Justice institutions received support in capacity building, and a new project helped them on policy formulation and enforcement. Assistance was also provided on agricultural land utilisation issues, while the agriculture’s Ministry received training on collection and analysis of data, in accordance with the standards of the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network.In 2008, one of the key priorities was the energy sector, such as an assessment of renewable energy sources, improving technical and management skills in the Kosovo Energy Company and assisting the Energy Regulatory Office.
2007 focused on better management at the border crossing points, greater economic development with an emphasis on the private sector development and strengthening the public administration.
Here are some of the highlights of the Agency’s work in 2007:
• Home Affairs: Helped establish an Integrated Border Management system and up-graded border police and customs station buildings at border crossing points
• Municipal Infrastructure: Building schools for Albanian and Serbian children
• Economic development: Supported the Fund for Agro-processing and Industrial Revitalisation programme to help local economic development and create jobs in the northern part of Kosovo
• Education: Supported higher education for Kosovar students at various European universities to pursue a Master’s degree in European issues
• Public Administration: Assisted the Kosovo’s statistics office in producing higher quality statistics, more compliant with European and international standards
• Rural Economy: Rehabilitated Kosovo’s irrigation networks to support the overall improvement of the rural economy.
In the Republic of Serbia, the European Agency for Reconstruction managed a cumulative portfolio of some €1.3 billion worth of European Union funds.
The Agency was active in Serbia since December 2000. It first managed a €180 million Emergency Assistance Programme launched at that time, which was designed to help get the country back on its feet. Many years of economic mismanagement and external sanctions, and hostilities in 1999, had seriously impaired power supplies and reduced the standard of living of Serbian citizens. Substantial assistance was given for fuel oil and electricity imports and to help people through the winter. Medicines were locally bought and distributed. Subsidised vegetable oil and sugar were provided to consumers.
In 2008, the Agency continued to support projects that combat discrimination against minorities and vulnerable groups. Activities were also underway for reconstruction work at two key border crossings and refurbishment of secondary crossings. In the health a comprehensive management training programme for the health sector in accordance with international standards was completed, as was a major project to improve the disposal of medical waste.
Other projects supported the computerisation of municipal courts and the upgrading of prison security. The Treasury started to use a sophisticated Financial Management Information System also supplied through an EU-funded project.
In the fields of energy and transport, the Agency continued to renew district heating systems in five key towns, as well as managing an extensive project to reduce pollution from a major power station near Belgrade. In transport, the focus was on Serbia’s main rivers – with projects to improve navigation on the Danube and Sava, as well as design for replacement of a river bridge in the city of Novi Sad.
In 2007, projects focused on reforms needed in prior to implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU.
Here are some of the highlights of the Agency’s work in Serbia in 2007:
• Economic development: Strengthened the capacity of the Serbian Ministry of Economy and Regional Development Ministry to create, negotiate and implement trade policy, and to negotiate international trade agreements.
• Agriculture and trade: Supported the Serbian wine sector to enhance its great production and export potential.
• Energy: Start of renewal of district heating systems in five towns and launch of a major pollution control project at a power plant near Belgrade, as well as continuing support to reform of the industry through aid to regulatory and energy efficiency agencies.
• Local government: Assisted local authorities in the south, south-west and north-east of the country in modernising municipal administrations, providing better services to citizens and increasing economic development.
• Road infrastructure: Provided equipment to the Serbian roads authority – for inspecting bridges and testing road surface materials; rehabilitating 30 km of the major road artery in eastern Serbia.
• Health: Delivered equipment for laboratories in 30 Serbian public health institutes to improve routine laboratory work and enhance the quality of services.
In Montenegro, the European Agency for Reconstruction managed a cumulative portfolio of some €130.8 million worth of projects and programmes.
In 2008, the Agency continued to support the country in their effort towards EU and regional integration. The capacity of the government’s Secretariat for European Integration to manage Cross-Border Cooperation programmes was enhanced following the award in March of a direct grant to the Secretariat. The grant will pave the way for the functional establishment of those national and joint management administrative structures necessary for the IPA cross-border programme to be launched.
2008 saw the completion to date of three major projects: setting-up an animal identification and registration system, creating the operational base for implementing a transparent, competency and performance based modern civil service recruitment and career development policy, improving safety features and widen 2 sections of coastal roads near Petrovac and Rafailovici.
Supporting the economic development was one of the components of the EU-funded assistance in 2007 for Montenegro. Projects concentrated on developing cross-border cooperation initiatives, improving fishing policies and legislation, and harmonising the country’s trade and single market policies with those of the EU and WTO.
Here are some of the highlights of the Agency’s work in 2007:
• Public Administration reform: Supported the Government in establishing a Public Procurement Agency.
• Home Affairs: Constructed a new border facilities at Scepan Polje on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• Economic development: Helped the micro, small and medium sized enterprises through Business Advisory Services (BAS) programme.
• Energy: Assisted the process of unbundling the energy utility company EPCG, and the privatisation of energy production facilities.
• Environment: Reconstructed the country’s largest wastewater treatment plant in Podgorica.
• Civil society: Supported the development of national strategies on social protection of elderly, of children, and on integration of people with disabilities. All strategies have been adopted by the Government.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the European Agency for Reconstruction managed a cumulative portfolio of some €327 million worth of projects and programmes.
In 2008, the EU continued to assist the government in implementing political and economic reforms. Assistance was given in implementation of employment related policies, while a newly launched project supported the economic growth and improved the business climate through fostering development and performance of SMEs.
A key priority was the support to the decentralisation process, with a completed construction of new administrative headquarters to house the association of municipalities being completed.
Other projects addressed the contaminated areas in the country as part of effort to eliminate industrial hotspots, while a pilot investment in building a waste water treatment plant was on-going.
2007 saw the completion of several projects on police reform. A key priority remained the support to the decentralisation process by bringing the public administration closer to EU standards. German expertise gave an EU-funded boost to the competition policy, while experts from Hungary and the Netherlands cooperated with the Ministry of Health and other state bodies to strengthen their ability to combat drug-related crimes.
Some of the highlights of the Agency’s work in 2007 were:
• Civil Society: Establishment of a civil society platform bringing together major civil society organisation in the country.
• Decentralisation: Reconstruction of the elementary school under the EU-funded Municipal Award programme.
• Judiciary: Assistance in the fight against organised crime and corruption, and strengthening the country’s new Department for the Fight against Organised Crime and Corruption inside the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
• Cross-border cooperation: Nine grants realised through the Neighbourhood Program with Bulgaria promoting economic, tourist, environmental and educational development of the border regions. Seventeen grants were signed with municipalities and NGOs through the Neighbourhood Programme with Greece equally promoting economic, tourist, environmental and educational development in the border regions.
• Police Reform: Refurbishment of the Police Academy.
• Education: Building new premises of the Business Centre for Education and Post-graduate Studies at the South East European University in Tetovo.
• Economic reform: Creating a strategy to attract foreign direct investment projects.
* [http://ear.europa.eu/ European Agency for Reconstruction]
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