Cohesion Policy Project
Title: Development of system for management of Cohesion Policy
Commissioned by: European Union
Financier: European Union (EU)
Country: Republic of Serbia
Partner: Italy: Archidata, Romania: Mott McDonnald, Ismeri Europe
Lead executing agency: Ministry of European Integration
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
The objective of the Cohesion Policy is to support the member states of the European Union (EU) in promoting economic development, reducing unemployment and improving the competitiveness of national territories and the European Union as a whole. The Cohesion Policy also provides resources for closing the development gap between different European regions, in line with the principle of solidarity. Candidate countries are preparing for Cohesion policy through Chapter 22 (Regional Development and Coordination of Financial Instruments).
In order to be prepared for the proper use of Cohesion Policy instruments, a future EU member state has to start preparations early on. Success in the management of Cohesion Policy is far from obvious and there are major differences among EU member states as regards their ability to utilise EU funds.
Serbia has gone through several steps in the chapter 22 accession negotiations process. An analytical review and conformity assessment with the EU acquis i.e. screening for Chapter 22 took place on 1 and 2 October 2014 while bilateral screening was held on 28 and 29 January 2015. As a result of the screening process, the European Commission issued a Screening Report stating that Serbia cannot be considered to be sufficiently prepared for negotiations on this chapter and recommending as opening benchmark, the development of a detailed Action Plan setting out clear objectives and a timeframe in order to meet the EU Cohesion Policy requirements. Moreover, a screening report provided assessment of the degree of alignment and implementing capacity where Serbia is partially aligned with the acquis in the fields covered by this chapter. Serbian authorities, under leadership of MEI, have designed the Action Plan for Chapter 22 that was adopted on 4 April 2019. The Action Plan covers all major areas in Chapter 22: Legislative Framework; Institutional Framework; Administrative Capacities; Programming; Monitoring and Evaluation; Financial Management and Control. Implementation of this Project will support implementation of the Action Plan for Chapter 22 and activities which will lead to the closing of Chapter 22 benchmarks in accession negotiations.
The Serbian public administration has successfully prepared for effective implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the Republic of Serbia.
The approach of the project is to reach modern and efficient public administration capable to implement cohesion policy in the Republic of Serbia that will be expressed in absorption capacity to efficiently use European Structural and Investment (ESI) funds. This should be achieved through the following methods:
- strengthening and developing a legal and institutional framework for the implementation of EU Cohesion Policy
- the development of relevant planning and programming documents for EU Cohesion Policy
- strengthening the capacities of institutions and bodies nominated for the implementation of Cohesion Policy-partners and potential beneficiaries at national and sub-national levels via Capacity Building programmes
The overall approach to contract implementation covers the following key aspects:
- Promote Cohesion Policy as part of Serbian development policy;
- Build on achieved results and take into consideration developments relevant for project implementation;
- Project implementation based on the Governments Action Plan for Chapter 22
- Stakeholder Involvement Plan.