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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > June
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 25, 2003

United States-European Union Cooperation in the Balkans

The United States and European Union work closely together in the Balkans to ensure that our actions are complementary and our message is unified.

During the period of the Greek Presidency, the United States and the European Union have intensified our efforts to coordinate medium and longer-term assistance strategies, maximize the impact of our assistance programs, and ensure their compatibility with our mutual overarching policy goals for each country and for the region as a whole.

Albania: At United States-European Union informal consultations in Tirana in March, we discussed our common vision for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Albania and committed to strengthen our assistance coordination. We are working closely on joint and complementary programs to help Albania achieve this vision and meet EU standards. Together we:

  • Cooperate and in some cases co-finance law enforcement and other technical assistance projects, and provide training and equipment;
  • Place priority on better border control, fighting trafficking, organized crime and corruption, and promoting the rule of law;
  • Pursue jointly a "Three Port Strategy" to promote Albania's coordination and oversight of border and customs police;
  • Are establishing a "Total Information Management System," coming on line and expected to be fully operational in FY 2004, for the Ministry of Public Order and the Albanian National Police;
  • Collaborate on nonproliferation projects.

We also promote Albania's progress toward European Union membership, by working closely in the areas of economic reform and growth, reform of the judiciary, and the development of civil society.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The United States and the European Union together:

  • Collaborate as the two exclusive donors for the Independent Judicial Commission. (Our combined support helps ensure that the Commission carries out its mandate effectively in judicial and prosecutorial selection and court restructuring);
  • Coordinate their efforts in helping make the Bosnia and Herzegovina courts and prosecutors' offices more efficient and effective through enhanced IT solutions;
  • Support the development of a single, state-level High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, which will be responsible for vetting and disciplining all justice system positions;
  • Provide technical and resource support for the transfer of human rights cases from the Human Rights Chamber to the Constitutional Court, while building capacity in the latter;
  • Help introduce the VAT, through automation and training.

Croatia: With United States and European Union collaboration:

  • The government will implement a standardized court and case management software platform to help unblock a million-case backlog and improve judicial efficiency country-wide;
  • The government will strengthen Croatia’s export and border control system.

The United States and European Union also speak with one voice on the link between Croatia’s cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and further refugee returns and the fulfillment of its European Union and NATO aspirations.

Kosovo: United States and European Union collaborate extensively on:

  • Economic restructuring in privatizing Kosovo’s socially-owned enterprises, tax reform, and economic policy;
  • Refugee/IDP returns, and border security and management;
  • Promoting stability. Along with the US, key members of the European Union (Germany, Italy and France) are leading contributors to KFOR, which ensures a safe and secure environment for the implementation of UNSCR 1244, and to the UN international police force.

Macedonia: Together with NATO and OSCE, the United States and the European Union partnership:

  • Helped facilitate the Ohrid Framework Agreement that ended the 2001 insurgency;
  • Continues to contribute daily to advancing Macedonia on the path of durable stability;
  • Coordinates respective assistance efforts in many fields, including elections, census, decentralization, financial policy, education, police, economic and judicial reforms, and strengthening civil-society institutions, with the shared goal of promoting Macedonia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

The U.S. welcomed the EU's Operation Concordia, which replaced a NATO-led operation as the international security presence in April.

Serbia and Montenegro: The United States and European Union cooperate closely on:

  • Promoting the country's swift integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions;
  • Supporting the European Union-led negotiations that led to the Belgrade Agreement and the creation of the new state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

We continue to cooperate on building the new union institutions, as well as on economic and political reform and in pressing for cooperation with The Hague Tribunal.

Region-Wide: Through the "Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe," the United States works with the European Union and countries of the region to improve the climate for increased trade and investment and to fight corruption.

  • We have steps in train toward the creation of a Regional Electricity Market;
  • A network of 21 Free Trade Agreements has been established;
  • An "Investment Compact" has brought focus to key economic policy measures needed to attract investment; and
  • A regional anti-corruption office is being established in Sarajevo.

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