Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence


Written evidence submitted by Save the Children UK

  Save the Children UK is pleased to submit evidence to this inquiry on UK policy in relation to the following topics referred to in the announcement of the inquiry:

    —  the prospects for the region's economic growth in the near future;

    —  the role of the European Union, including the impact of enlargement.

  Save the Children will be happy to provide additional evidence upon request. Moreover, our Country Programme Directors in the region have already expressed their willingness to arrange relevant meetings in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia and Montenegro including Kosovo if Committee members are visiting the region.

  In case Committee Members would be interested in referring to more detailed work by Save the Children, we attach for reference purposes (rather than evidence) three of our research documents:

    —  Contributing to Change for Children and Families. Towards developing a medium Term Strategy for the Care and Protection of Children in Serbia, Save the Children, 2004.

    —  Diminishing Returns: Macroeconomics, Poverty and Children's Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Save the Children, 2004.

    —  Social Indicators for the Western Balkans. Tools for Assessing and Promoting Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion. Maja Gerovska and Paul Stubbs, Save the Children 2004, unpublished.

  The name of the contact person for the memorandum is Stefan Stoyanov, s.stoyanov@savethechildren.org.uk, telephone: 0207 012 6709.

Pram Unia

LACME/Balkans Regional Director

Save the Children UK

SUMMARY

  Save the Children UK has been operational in the Western Balkans for 10 years. We have separate country programmes in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, and we participate in a programme led by Save the Children Noiway in Albania.

Save the Children UK's main conclusions are:

1.   Economic growth must be accompanied by poverty reduction and social welfare policies which protects vulnerable children

  (a)  The UK should use its influence in the EU—to begin to apply the EU Lisbon Strategy to social policy in the Western Balkans within one to three years.

  (b)  The UK should use its influence to ensure that within the World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy plans for Serbia, Montenegro & Kosovo, childhood poverty receive concerted attention and sufficient financial sponsorship.

  (c)  The UK should also maintain its investment role as a bilateral donor pursuing pro-poor policy and social justice (including an emphasis on children) in the Western Balkan countries, which continue to be heavily indebted with inadequate investment in social welfare provision.

2.   The EU Stabilisation and Association processes present opportunities for promoting child rights in the Western Balkans through the human rights monitoring process

  (a)  The UK should use its influence in the context of EU Stabilisation & Association processes to ensure that children are treated as a distinct section of society with specific rights. These should be specifically monitored as identified under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; it is inadequate to monitor child rights simply within the context of minority rights (eg Roma people), although this is also relevant.

1.  INTRODUCTION

1.1  Save the Children UK in the Western Balkans

  Save the Children UK is the UK's leading international children's charity with programmes in 70 countries world-wide. It is one of the most influential INGOs in the Western Balkans, and has been operational there for 10 years. We have focused on improving the rights of vulnerable children in relation to emergency response, access to basic services, child protection and childhood poverty alleviation.

  Of primary importance to our work in the region is the fulfilment of the rights of the child. The governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and they have signed the Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session for children ("A World Fit for Children 2002")[6] We support local communities, non-governmental organisations and governments to work together to set out the policies and the mechanisms to bring about the conditions for fulfilling the rights of all children in the region.

  The UNCRC places responsibility on governments to alleviate child poverty. Article 27 stipulates that: "States Parties recognise the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development".

1.2  International commitment to child rights

  The commitment made by the UK Government and other State Parties in the document "A World Fit for Children" (the outcome of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session for Children 2002) acknowledges that "Implementation of the present Plan of Action will require the allocation of significant additional human, financial and material resources, nationally and internationally, within the framework of an enabllng international environment and enhanced international co-operation, including North-South and South-South co-operation, to contribute to economic and social development" (2002). This engagement should be seen in the context of the UNCRC which sets the basis for international co-operation for the realisation of the rights of the child:

    "States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognised in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation" (Article. 4, UNCRC).

1.3  UN Definition of Poverty

  Save the Children's conceptual approach to child poverty in the Western Balkans takes as its starting point the definition of "Overall Poverty" agreed at the World Summit on Social Development in 1995. This expanded the definition beyond income poverty, to include aspects such as lack of access to basic services, social discrimination and exclusion.

    "Poverty has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterised by a lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life." (UN, 1995)

  This definition is consistent with the UK Government's approach to poverty and social inclusion in the UK, which in turn is mirrored in the EU Lisbon Strategy.


1.4  Save the Children's comments

  In the context of 1.1-1.3 above, we urge the UK Government (both independently and in conjunction with its EU partners) to actively and systematically support the Western Balkan governments in their efforts to:

    —  Prioritise childhood poverty reduction, and develop social protection and social inclusion mechanisms as a complement to economic growth; and

    —  Adopt policies to protect and promote the rights of the child.

  This will demand both political and diplomatic leverage, as well as funding for these priority areas. A sufficient level of political and financial involvement and support should be maintained until post-conflict stabilisation is fully achieved and Transition completed.

  Save the Children's contribution to the Inquiry will cover developments in the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), and Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) including Kosovo. Specifically, they will relate to the following items of the Committee's inquiry:

    —  the prospects for the region's economic growth in the near future, including the role of the UK; and

    —  the role of the European Union, including the impact of enlargement.

  The following is a discussion of how these issues could be addressed and where they stand within the framework of this inquiry.

2.  THE PROSPECTS FOR THE REGION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE NEAR FUTURE

2.1  Economic Growth and the incidence of poverty

  The European Commission report "The Western Balkans in Transition" states that: "The Western Balkans achieved another year of good economic performance in 2003, with GDP growth estimated slightly above 4% and inflation below 5%. Public finances maintained a positive trend of fiscal consolidation, recording an estimated average regional deficit of around 4% of GDP" (European Commission, 2004). Despite recent growth, economic performance is still well below that of the Communist era. Only Albania has exceeded its 1989 GDP level, whilst Serbia is at 50% of its 1989 level (DfiD Regional Assistance Plan for the Western Balkans, December 2003).

  Since the early 1990s a high level of indebtedness has developed and, indeed, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania are regarded by the World Bank as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. At the same time, the incidence of poverty is very high and growing. As DfID acknowledges there is significant poverty in all Western Balkan countries except Croatia. Nearly a quarter of the population is classified as poor, and roughly 500,000 refugees and IDPs are "in extreme poverty, unable to meet their basic nutritional needs" (2003).

  To take the example of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH):

    "The social and economic rights of BiH citizens remain limited by continuing economic debility. Officially, up to 40% of the population is unemployed. Around 20% live below the poverty threshold, with a further 30% close to it. In part this reflects a failure of (admittedly rudimentary) social security systems to address the needs of the economically most deprived" (European Commission, 2003).

  In its Country Assistance Strategy for BiH (2000), the World Bank recognises that "children and the elderly are more at risk of poverty, as are single female (often widowed) heads of households". The progress report on the above strategy (2002) notes that "Around a third of the poor are below 18 years old and two thirds of the poor live in households with children" and recognises that "there is a strong link between poverty and education, with the majority (60%) of the poor living in families where the household head has only a primary education or less" (World Bank, 2002), which leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty.

  In Serbia, children aged 7-14 comprise 12.71% of the poor, and children between 15 and 18 comprise another 10.72% of the poor population. (Annex 1 of the Serbia PRSP, 2004)

2.2  Poverty linked to other child rights violations

  Save the Children's experience in the region and world-wide, points to the link between income (& resource) poverty and the violation of a wide range of child rights. For example:

    —  Poverty is a major contributor to the numbers of children in care. Faced with an inability to adequately feed, clothe and educate their children, combined with a lack of community based family support services and readily available spaces in institutions throughout the region, parents temporarily or permanently leave their children to the care of the state, often believing that their decision to do so is in the best interests of their child.

    —  Poverty in its extreme forms can lead to the drop-out from school of large numbers of children:

    "In Sarajevo's municipality llidza, for example, approximately 300 Romani children were unable to attend schools due to extremely poor living conditions, lack of proper clothing and the inability to purchase the necessary schoolbooks" (Country report on BiH, US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2004).

  Over the past decade poverty has also brought about increases in child trafficking, with thousands of children being bought and sold for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, begging, petty crime, pornography and illegal adoption. Post-communist Transition, compounded by armed conflict in the 1990s, has led to other contributory factors including disintegration of social structures and support networks, institutional weaknesses, increased migration flows, an exacerbation of gender-based discrimination and violence, weakened rule of law, rampant corruption, and a surge in organised crime. Poverty, however, remains the underlying cause of these problems.

2.3  Children are a low priority

  Child poverty is often seen as a low priority compared with other aspects of social protection. Whilst there is a problem stemming from the lack of available resources, the main issue seems to be one of political will, as can be seen from the fact that "social welfare and child protection expenditures in BiH are the lowest in South East Europe, while veterans benefit expenditures at 3.5-4% of GDP are extremely high by any country's standards" (World Bank, 2002)

  Similar examples can be found elsewhere in the region. In Kosovo, at 16% of total government spending, the Social Welfare sector has the largest budget share. However, of the total

82.6 million approved for social assistance, most is allocated to the basic pension[7] and social assistance schemes[8], leaving little funding for children in need of support and protection.

  Across the region public financing of education is rather poor: on average 3 to 4% GDP, sometimes even below 3%. Chronic under funding erodes the quality of education, especially in education systems that were clearly designed for a much higher level of public financing (OECD, 2002).

  Currently Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Albania are involved in applying Poverty Reduction Strategies. Save the Children has been involved in lobbying for a more explicit focus on children in these strategies and their implementation. Save the Children with other child-focused civil society groups has had some success in advocating for specific actions to address childhood poverty as part of the PRSP mechanism in the Western Balkans, such as a establishing a database for monitoring the beneficiaries of child protection in BiH, in line with the European standards, with constant monitoring of the vulnerability of families and children. However, a much more explicit focus could be developed.

  Save the Children recommends that DflD develop an explicit emphasis on child poverty in the Regional Assistance Plan for the Western Balkans, and use its influence to persuade other donors to do the same.

2.3  Donor Funding

  Donor funding has been critical in promoting economic growth. Reconstruction and infrastructure development has been a high priority, and indeed continues to be one. This is clearly the case with the EU CARDS programme[9] DfID however, notes the poor co-ordination of donors "driven by divergent and external agendas" (DfID 2003)[10]

  Currently the EC does not emphasise poverty reduction or social protection. The government of BiH however recognised in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2004) the need for comprehensive reforms in social policy and increased social protection expenditure. The EU is nevertheless not addressing the issue in the short-term priorities for BiH outlined in the European Partnership. The EU Commission, in the European Partnership for BiH—2004, urges the government to "Ensure macro-economic stability" and "Improve the business environment", but does not insist on any measures on social protection.

  Poverty reduction and social protection have been relatively neglected, despite the fact that poverty is rising significantly and social protection has also considerably declined following the transition from the previous regime and the disruptions caused by conflict[11]

  Continued economic growth without social protection and social inclusion is likely to lead to a widening gap between the rich and poor.

  Although investment in poverty reduction and social protection has been boosted by the current implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategies, there remains a shortage of donor funding for the implementation of the plans. For example, in Serbia "The process of analysing the full cost implications of the long-term measures identified in the PRSP has just begun. At present, there is concern about the potential gap between the fiscal resources required to implement the whole PRSP programme of policy measures (long-term) and the funds available in the short- and medium-term" (Serbia PRSP, 2004).

  The implementation of PRSPS has however coincided with a fall in donor funding to the region. At the height of post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction aimed at promoting economic growth and political stability, overall annual assistance averaged

3.3 billions, but is expected to fall to

2.6 billions by 2005. There are therefore questions about the sustainability of current economic growth if investment declines.

  DfID intends to make a major reduction in its investments in the Westem Balkans from £20 millions in 2004-05 to £13.7 millions in 2005-06 (DfID 2003). Whilst this amount may appear negligible in the overall context, DfID's important contribution in targeted interventions to reduce poverty, and its importance in leveraging policy change, needs to be protected. During the implementation of PRSPs it is all the more important that investment is maintained until EC funding dedicated to targeting poverty reduction and social inclusion comes on stream (see section 3). DfID notes that new donors will need to be found, but even if this is possible it cannot be assumed that they will give the same priority to poverty reduction. DfID intends to assert its influence through activities such as co-ordination and technical assistance, but Save the Children fears this may be unrealistic[12]


  Finally, it is worth noting that the flow of investment aimed at the development of inclusive social policies into the Western Balkans is primarily in the form of re-payable loans, inevitably restricting the extent of investment the Western Balkans can afford to take up, and therefore limiting expenditure on social protection and inclusion[13] If in the in future debt-repayment becomes a problem, it is likely that social protection will be one of the main areas to be cut, as experience from other parts of the World demonstrates.

  Save the Children urges DfID to maintain a high level of direct investment in the Western Balkans particularly focused on child poverty reduction.

  Overall recommendations related to section 2.

  The UK should use its influence to ensure that within the World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy plans for Serbia, Montenegro & Kosovo, childhood poverty receives concerted attention and sufficient financial sponsorship.

  The UK should also maintain its investment role as a bilateral donor pursuing pro-poor policy and social justice (including an emphasis on children) in the Western Balkans, which continue to be heavily indebted countries with inadequate investment in social welfare provision.

3.  THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, INCLUDING THE IMPACT OF ENLARGEMENT

3.1  Commitment of the EU to the Western Balkan countries

  The Western Balkan Stabilisation and Association process has already been highlighted in the Multi-annual Strategic Programme of the European Council 2004-06 prepared by the six presidencies (Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Austria and Finland): "The Union will continue its strong commitment to the region of the Western Balkans. Support for reform will remain a high priority in the context of achieving the shared goal of integrating the region into European structures, on the basis of full compliance with the Copenhagen criteria and with international obligations. The Stabilisation and Association Process . . . will constitute the overall framework for the European course of the Western Balkans countries. Efforts towards concluding Stabilisation and Association Agreements with those countries which do not yet have one will continue."

3.2  UK Presidency

  In the next round of European Partnerships for the Western Balkans, Save the Children urges the UK Presidency to secure a commitment on the part of governments in the Western Balkans to develop strategies to enforce child rights and take action to combat child poverty, social exclusion and discrimination. This can be achieved in two ways:

    —  By giving child rights equal priority in human rights monitoring; and

    —  by reducing the gap between the Lisbon Strategy and social policies for the Western Balkans.

  This should go hand in hand with a renewed commitment to the Lisbon Strategy by EU member states[14]

3.3  Giving Child Rights equal priority in human rights monitoring

  As a child rights organisation, Save the Children welcomes the inclusion of, and reference to, the Rights of the Child in the body of the Draft Constitutional Treaty. We see it as a premise for streamlining child rights issues within the EU and would therefore support any efforts aimed at increasing the public awareness of the draft Constitution and its ratification.

  The EU is already committed to human rights monitoring as part of the Stabilisation and Association process, however children are subsumed within the monitoring of social groups such as Roma. Unfortunately, such an approach fails to identify abuses which may be specific to children, or which may have a specific manifestation. For example, the treatment of children deprived of parental care is a specific child rights issue. Action to prohibit discrimination is more likely to be applied to employment than to the school system.

  There are existing mechanisms for monitoring child rights which could be used as a starting point, such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reporting mechanism. Specific evidence may have to be collected (by the Council of Europe, OSCE and civil society) because of a dearth of official data in the region, particularly concerning minority groups. The under-registration of births of Roma children, itself a breach of the UNCRC, is one such problem. Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, has not had a reliable census since 1981, and estimates of the current population vary widely (Gerovska and Stubbs, Save the Children 2004, unpublished).

  Save the Children urges the UK Government to use its influence both as a Member State of the EU and in the context of the UK Presidency of the EU to fulfil its international commitments to child rights, and to improve the situation of children living in the region. We believe a lot can be achieved through the Stabilisation & Association process.

  The Enlargement framework has presented the European Union with a unique opportunity to motivate political reform in applicant countries by placing conditionalities on membership (in terms of both harmonised legislation and implementation capacity). Save the Children would favour adding membership requirements related to child rights, particularly in the sector of social protection.

3.4  Reducing the gap between the Lisbon Strategy and the social policies for the Western Balkan countries

  The Report of the High Level Group on the future of social policy in an enlarged European Union (May 2004), published by the European Commission, recognises the gap between "the broad and integrated approach to social policies in the Lisbon Strategy and the somewhat narrowly defined understanding of social policies in the accession process." This gap is even more notable in the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  The same report also raises concerns about the gap between "the character of social policies as a core of Union policies in the Amsterdam/Lisbon approach and the trend to a liberal neglect of social policies in some new Member States in the recent past." Again, this applies with even greater severity in the Western Balkans. The competing agendas of the EU and major donors, such as the IME and to some extent the World Bank and DfID, lead governments to confusion and could be used as a justification for inaction.

  The Report of the High Level Group also suggests that "(t)he merits of the European Social Model should be presented in the framework of technical co-operation focused on the promotion of good governance in the social field", a point which is to be considered both with a view to the SAp in general, and with a view to the funding priorities of the CARDS programme[15]

3.5  The first steps towards development and implementation of a comprehensive social policy for the Western Balkan countries should be a short term priority

  The development and implementation of comprehensive social policy for the SAp countries is currently only a mid term priority (ie three to five years according to the European partnerships). Save the Children would argue however that the work on its development has to start in the short term (ie within one to three years). Furthermore, we would argue that the debate on these issues within the Western Balkans has to take place now. The current placing of economic goals in the short-term priorities of the European Partnerships as opposed to the placing of social policy development in the mid-term goals is inconsistent with the Lisbon Strategy. As already noted, funding for social development will be contingent on its inclusion in the SAp priorities.

  The policy of the European Commission seems to be to take a gradual approach to the introduction of new priorities to the Western Balkans. Pragmatically, Save the Children could support a gradual approach, as has been the approach to other policy areas prioritised in the European Partnerships. For example, in the area of public administration the short-term priority for Serbia in the Partnership is to "adopt a comprehensive strategy on public administration reform including a precise calendar of actions, in particular address civil service pay system reforms and related human resource development measures; establish and maintain the relevant institutions and allocate the necessary resources; prepare the legislation on government and civil service." A similar gradual approach should be taken for social policy development[16]. Nonetheless, we would argue that the starting point needs to be included in the short-term priorities in the next revision of the European Partnerships.

    —  One important means of achieving this will be the inclusion of the Western Balkan countries into the EU's open method of co-ordination (OMC). The OMC is a mechanism set up for member and candidate states to exchange information on practice and policy with respect to social policy. However, in order for the OMC to be effectively utilised, the involvement of civil society is crucial. This means that further investment has to be made in the development of civil society. This requirement needs to be accompanied by relevant funding through the EU programmes.

    —  Another means of achieving this is to increase the staffing of the EU Commission Delegations experts in social policy, particularly with respect to poverty and social exclusion.

3.6  Ensuring that the EU budget for the next period is not set at a lower level than the current budget

  A serious concern is the possibility that the next EU budget for the period 2007-13 will be set at a level lower than the current budget. This concern has already been expressed by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), as well as by Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, the incoming president of the European Commission: "You cannot have more Europe for less money, especially if we want a similar level of solidarity towards the new member states as we have shown to the less developed regions in the past."[17] Enlargement is an exercise leading to "more Europe" in terms of widening.

  If expenditure involving the new Member States becomes restricted, it is all the more likely that the new phase of financial stringency will operate to the detriment of the post-2004 wave of applicant and aspirant countries, including the Western Balkans.

  In recent weeks, the UK Chancellor has been speaking publicly of the need to restrict EU expenditure. We urge the Chancellor to ensure that these restrictions do not lead to the undermining of much needed poverty reduction and social reform strategies for the Western Balkans. Such strategies will underpin the future prosperity and political stability of the region, and are essential building-blocks to the realisation of child rights.

Overall recommendations linked to Section 3

  The UK should use its influence in the context of EU Stabilisation & Association processes to ensure that children are treated as a distinct section of society with specific rights. These should be specifically monitored as identified under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is inadequate to monitor child rights simply within the context of minority rights (eg Roma people), although this is also relevant.

  The UK should use its influence in the EU to begin to apply the EU Lisbon Strategy to social policy in the Western Balkans within one to three years.

List of References

  1.  Social Indicators for the Western Balkans. Tools for Assessing and Promoting

Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion. Ma]a Gerovska and Paul Stubbs, Save the Children 2004, unpublished

  2.  Contributing to Change for Children and Families. Towards developing a medium

Term Strategy for the Care and Protection of Children in Serbia, Save the Children, 2004

  3.  Diminishing Returns: Macroeconomics, Poverty and Children's Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Save the Children, 2004

  4.  United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989

  5.  The Western Balkans in Transition, European Commission, 2004

  6.  Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Kosovo, UNICEF, 2004

  7.  Serbia PRSP, 2004

  8.  Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session for children (A World Fit for Children 2002)

  9.  Report of the High Level Group on the future of social policy in an enlarged European Union, European Commission, 2004

  10.  Multi-annual Strategic Programme of the European Council 2004-06, 2004

  11.  European Partnership 2004, European Commission

  12.  Draft DfID assistance strategy for the Western Balkans, 2003

  13.  Country report on BiH, US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2004

  14.  Country Assistance Strategy for BiH, the World Bank, 2000

Save the Children UK

3 October 2004







6   Since Kosovo does not have the status of an independent state, it is not a party to the UNCRC, but its Provisional Institutions of Self-Government have embraced child rights and have set up an Inter-Ministerial children's committee under the office of the Prime Minister (UNICEF, 2004). Back

7   A total of 43.3 million was provided for pensions (monthly payment of 35 for 107.000 recipients-persons above 65 years old). Back

8   Around 51,000 families were assisted during 2003. Back

9   CARDS-Community Assistance for Reconstruction and Development-is the main source of EU grant funding for the Western Balkans. The CARDS programme is a vitally important source of grant funding to the Western Balkans, though Save the Children and the Platform of European Social NGOs would wish to see its scope widened. Back

10   Save the Children has noted the diverse outcome frameworks and indicators used by international agencies (Gerovska & Stubbs, 2004). Back

11   The EC is not yet investing in poverty reduction in the Western Balkans. Because its investment priorities are informed by the Stabilisation and Association process, it will not do so until poverty reduction and social inclusion are included in the priorities of the SAp process (this will be expanded in Section 3). As DfID notes "While the requirements of EU accession are generally compatible with development and poverty reduction, the two processes are not well co-ordinated" (2003). Back

12   Our concern stems from our experience in the Balkan region as a whole. We are wary of the fact that the influence capacity of any international agency often is not a function of its technical expertise and authority, but of its actual expenditure dedicated to the reforms in the region. This is the case when it comes to influencing other donors and even more so when it comes to influencing the governments themselves. Technical assistance in transitional contexts often comes in abundance, and different donors exert diverging reform influences. This is why its absorption by the governments is proportionate to the scale of the assistance provided by the same donor. Often, the technical assistance unmatched with other types of development assistance, is overlooked and, ultimately, without any long term effect. Back

13   Outside the PRS process an illuminating example is provided by the Decade of Roma Inclusion. Supported by the World Bank, the EC, the council of Europe, the OSI and the ODIHR, with eight participating countries, this is a high public policy priority. Yet, it appears that for Serbia & Montenegro, new investment will be repayable loans, with the exception of grants from the Roma Education Fund originating from OSI (the EU Member States will receive grant funding through structural funds). Back

14   The arguments for this come from various bodies: Back

15   CARDS-Community Assistance for Reconstruction and Development-is the main source of EU funding for the Western Balkans. Back

16   Recent experience in Serbia has demonstrated how social reform processes can be de-stabilised by a change of government and how some reforms may be deemed to symbolise "pro-western" policies which cannot be supported by all political tendencies. Back

17   Quoted in "Paymasters threaten EU budget chaos", By George Parker, Financial Times, 30 July 2004. Back


 
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