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ADVISORY: Pre-accession assistance for the Western Balkans, Iceland and Turkey IPA Conference 2010, 6-7 December, Charlemagne building, Brussels

December 3, 2010

The European Commission,in cooperation with the World Bank, is hosting a two-day conference in Brusselson 6 and 7 December 2010 to discuss how the Instrument for Pre-accessionAssistance (IPA) can be improved to have the most positive impact on theprogress of the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland towards the European Union. The conference will also address cross-border cooperation in the WesternBalkans.

The conference will lookat the challenges facing the Western Balkans and Turkey and the role offinancial assistance in their path to EU membership. Iceland will alsoparticipate to the conference.

The conference willoutline the post crisis difficulties faced by candidate countries and potentialcandidates and the need for deeper partnerships between the EU, the Europeanfinancial institutions and the World Bank to help them meet these challenges. It is an occasion to discuss with candidate countries and potential candidatestheir own assessments of needs for preparing for EU accession, and forachieving broader development aims, macro-economic stability and sustainablegrowth.

The participants willexamine how political and economic support, EU financial assistance and otherdonor financial support can be made more coherent and mutually reinforcing; andhow IPA can be further improved to support sustainable results and impacts.

The conference will alsobe used to launch a stakeholder’s consultation on the future of pre-accessionassistance after 2013. Participants will have the opportunity to set the tonefor the debate on what form EU financial mechanisms should take in order tobest assist sustainable change and efficient reforms that benefit the citizensof the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland.

The second day focuseson cross-border cooperation between the Western Balkan countries. This meetingwill take stock of the regional efforts and achievements during the period2007-2010, and discuss future prospects for cross-border cooperation in the region.

There is a largeinterest in the conference, which gathers over 450 participants, among whomministers and senior officials from beneficiaries of the Western Balkans,Turkey, and Iceland as well donor agencies, international financialinstitutions and civil society organizations.