EUROPEAN AGENCY FOR RECONSTRUCTION (EAR)
The European Agency for Reconstruction is responsible for the management of the main EU assistance programmes in Serbia and Montenegro (Republic of Serbia, Republic of Montenegro, UN-administered Kosovo) and FYR of Macedonia.
It was established in February 2000 and has its headquarters in Greece at Thessaloniki, and operational centres in Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina and Skopje. An independent agency of the European Union, it is accountable to the European Council and the European Parliament, and overseen by a governing board composed of representatives from the EU Member States and the European Commission. The Agency now oversees a total portfolio of EUR 2.3 billion across its four operational centres.
The objectives of new EU-funded programmes managed by the Agency are:
- to support good governance, institution building and the rule of law;
- to continue supporting the development of a market economy and to invest further in critical physical infrastructure and environmental actions,
- to support social develop ment and the strengthening of civil society.
From its early focus on post-crisis physical reconstruction, the Agency now manages projects which are designed to support the region’s own reform processes, and especially to help strengthen the ‘State machinery’ of central and local administration, the police, the judiciary, public fi nances, and State utility providers.
In its areas of operation, the Agency manages the majority of EC funds available under the Community assistance for reconstruction, development and stabilisation (‘CARDS’) programme, which is a wider EU commitment to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro. ‘CARDS’ is part of the EU’s ‘stabilisation and association’ process which is currently in place with these fi ve countries in south-eastern Europe.