The purpose of Community programmes is to support the European Union’s internal policies. They are action programmes, designed primarily as a means of achieving objectives set by the EU and its Member States, based on internal budget headings. The Community programmes cover various sectors: culture, media, education, science and research, social policy, environment protection, transport, energy, competitiveness and innovation, justice, fiscal and customs policy, etc.
The candidate and potential candidate countries cannot participate in Community programmes unless they pay into the Community budget a financial contribution to cover the estimated costs of participation by their citizens, the so-called, ’entry ticket’. The opening of Community programmes to candidate countries took place at the meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen in June 1993.
According to the Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans, moving towards European integration, endorsed at the European Council on 20 June 2003, Community programmes were opened to SAP countries along the lines established for the participation of candidate countries, and SAP countries were allowed to participate in Community agencies, in ways similar to those established for candidate countries.
The endorsed Thessaloniki Agenda represented a political signal from the EU to the Western Balkan countries by inviting them to participate in Community programmes and agencies in line with the principles laid down for participation by the candidate countries for EU membership. The Community has a great deal of experience of opening up Community programmes to associated European countries, having done so with the candidate countries and non-EU members of the European Economic Area.
As regards the countries of the Western Balkans, involvement in Community programmes and in the work of Community agencies gives them a firm symbolic, practical and operational foothold in the EU. It enables the EU to support their efforts towards European integration by facilitating the transfer of know-how thatand good practice, particularly in those areas of the EU Acquis (EU legislative framework) will serve as a central reference point for the reform process in the Western Balkans.
Participation in EU programmes and agencies offers citizens and authorities in the Western Balkan countries the chance to make considerable progress towards European integration. The aim of this initiative is to familiarise the countries concerned and their people with the policies and working methods of the EU.
In the light of the Thessalonica Council, the Commission Communication to the Council on “Preparing for the participation of the Western Balkan countries in Community programmes and agencies” was issued on 3 December 2003 (COM (2003) 748 final of 03/12/2003). The Communication sets out the main principles and guidelines of participation in Community programmes.
It is important to note that candidate and potential candidate countries can use the EC financial pre-accession instrument (IPA) for participation in Community programmes, i.e., in paying the major part of the ’entry ticket’ for a particular Community programme. Entry ticket payment is based on co-financing: a country can request co-financing of up to 90% of the entry ticket in the first year of participation, through the IPA. In subsequent years, co-financing from the IPA should decrease in percentage or in real terms.
The precondition for the participation of a SAP country in Community programmes is the signature of the bilateral Framework Agreement (FA) between the European Union and the SAP country on the general principles for participation of the SAP country in Community Programmes. On 22 November 2004 BiH and the EC signed the Framework Agreement. It was adopted and ratified on 8 January 2007. With the signature of the FA, 24 Community programmes were opened to BiH participation (they are laid out in Annex I of the FA, see Documents).
For each Community programme, the Commission needs to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with each country wishing to take part. The MoU lays down the rules governing participation, in particular the administrative capacities required, the planned financial contribution, the mechanisms for taking part in the management of the programme and the financial-control provisions (MoU on FP7, see Documents).
The Directorate for European Integration BiH (DEI) is the BiH Coordinator for Community Programmes. It facilitates information gathering and contacts with various Commission services that are responsible for Community programmes, depending on area/sector. The Unit under the DEI Sector for Coordination of EU Assistance deals with Community programmes, firstname.lastname@example.org, +387-33-703-168.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) currently participates in two EU Programmes: The 7th Framework Programmes of the European Union for research, technological development and demonstration activities 2007-2013 (FP7), Tempus, and Culture Programme 2007-2013. As of 2012, it envisages to enter to Europe for Citizens, Media Programme 2007 and potentially Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP). BiH targets to enter to Lifelong learning Programme (only centralised actions) and Safer Internet + Programmes as of 2013.
Referring to the financial assistance provided to the aforementioned area, IPA has co-financed entry tickets of BiH for FP7 in the amount of 4 million Euro for three years (2009, 2010 and 2011), while BiH provided 0.5 million Euro of co-financing (entry ticket for 2009 amounted ca 1 million euro , for 2010 ca 1.5 million and for 2011 ca 2 million).
As for the Culture Programme, the entry ticket for all three years 2009-2011 amounts 50,000 euro, 80% will be co-financed from IPA. For TEMPUS programme, each year ca 2.4 Mio EUR is financed from IPA.
Possibilities for participation for candidate and potential candidate countries