Nezavisne novine: SARAJEVO – By signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU (SAA), BiH will not gain right to usage of additional financial support from the pre-accession funds of the EU, confirmed yesterday Osman Topčagić, director of the Directorate for European Integrations.

“European Union created five instruments of pre-accession assistance. BiH today uses two of those five instruments. Remaining three, we will be able to use after we receive candidate status, which is a next step after signing the SAA with the EU. After we sign the agreement we will still have a status of a potential candidate, and countries which are potential candidates can use two out of five instruments of pre-accession assistance”, clarified Topčagić.

The European Union, through the Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), this year will donate to BiH around 74 million Euros. Financial assistance will grow from year to year. Next year, assistance of the EU for BiH will amount around 89 million Euros. BiH, from the EU, in the budget period 2007-2013 will receive 440 million Euro in total.

“The amount of financial assistance will be increased when we receive candidate status. We can say that additional assets are already waiting for BiH”, added Topčagić.

BiH, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, as potential candidate countries, receive from the EU money for transition and institutional building, and cross border cooperation. By receiving candidate status, besides these two instruments, the EU will assist BiH also in the areas of human resources, rural and regional development.

“The EU assists potential candidates to implement necessary reforms, in order to prepare for the membership in the EU. Therefore, those are two instruments of financial assistance, which we already use. Instruments approved for candidates serve for their preparation for usage of structural funds of the EU”, added Topčagić.