Cvetkovic: Decreased International Assistance Means Reforms in Serbia Have Progressed

Serbian Minister of Finance Mirko Cvetkovic said today that international assistance to Serbia was around EUR370mn last year, which was EUR130mn less than the year before.

"Decreased international assistance means that reforms are progressing and that Serbia is increasingly relying on its own forces in economic development and institutional reform”, he told a donor meeting at which Annual Plan on International Assistance to Serbia was presented.

Serbian Minister of Finance Mirko Cvetkovic
said today that international assistance to Serbia was around EUR370mn last
year, which was EUR130mn less than the year before.

"Decreased international assistance means
that reforms are progressing and that Serbia is increasingly relying on its own
forces in economic development and institutional reform”, he told a donor
meeting at which Annual Plan on International Assistance to Serbia was presented.

Representatives of European Commission, World
Bank, U. S. Agency for International Development and top donor countries
attended the gathering organized by the Ministry of Finance.

According to official data, international
assistance to Serbia between 2001 and the end of 2007 totaled EUR4.4bn, with
largest assistance received in 2001 – EUR868.5mn, and the lowest amount
received last year – EUR379mn.

The aid included soft loans and grants, and was spent in line with donors’
preferences without any abuses, the Ministry representatives underlined.

Assistant Finance Minister Gordana Lazarevic said that at the beginning the
largest part of international aid was spent on energy and transport, while now
the funds are mostly directed into institutional and legislative reforms, in
line with the EU accession plan.

The Head of European Commission Delegation to Serbia Josep Lloveras confirmed
that the European Union, the largest donor, will continue to assist Serbia in
the process of EU accession.

Mr. Lloveras said that the European Union will increase the funds so that
Serbia may meet the EU accession requirements earlier.

Mr. Lloveras warned that
some EU donations have been suspended because the new government has not been
formed. He expressed his hope that the government will be constituted soon,
adding that the EU will support any Serbian government that stays on the
European track.

Head of the World Bank Office in Serbia Simon Gray underlined that this
financial institution will help Serbia in further reforms, adding that the WB
will continue to focus on encouraging private sector and local community
development.