Macedonia eyes at using at least 90 pct of European Union funds

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-26 02:02:17|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SKOPJE, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Macedonian government wants to use at least 90 percent of the funds made available by the European Union (EU) through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), according to Macedonian Vice Prime Minister Bujar Osmani on Friday.

"We mustn't allow a single Euro from the IPA funds being wasted because we must use this money to make our country more European," Osmani told reporters at a round table.

He said that the process of using the funds should be transparent to the public.

The vice prime minister also said that the Macedonian government was working on drafting a master plan aimed at improving Macedonia's capacities to fully use EU's funds.

He admitted problems with management of EU funds in the past, stressing that any misuse of funds would be strongly denounced.

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the main financial instrument that the European Union has established to provide support and help through grants the beneficiaries in implementing reforms with a view to EU membership.

For the 2014 - 2020 period, European Union has projected a fund of 644 million euros (760 million U.S. dollars) for projects in Macedonia, according to European Commission website.

Projects financed by EU are mainly focused on democracy and governance, rule of law and fundamental rights, environment, transport, competition, agriculture, etc.

However, speaking in overall terms, Macedonia is still lagging behind with the use of IPA funds. Under the first IPA program (2007-2013) EU allocated 622 million euros but only 47 percent of these funds were used, according to official data.

On the reasons,economy experts here said there is a confusion about who manages the funds, which ministry or agency.

Another problem is the lack of strategic documents, and there is no clear definition of priority sectors or projects, the experts said.

They have suggested more public advertising of IPA funding schemes as well as a better coordination of projects and consultations with the interested parties.