THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
Working for Greater Stability in
The United States and the European Union are
working closely together to support the transformation of Southeast Europe into
a more stable region. The U.S. and the EU are fully engaged in both the
Stability Pact for Southeast Europe and the peacekeeping missions there. While
the U.S. contribution to these efforts is substantial and critical to their
success, Europe has properly assumed its role as the largest provider of
resources in these efforts.
Stability Pact for Southeast
Since the Stability Pact's launch last summer, it has forged
a strong partnership between the international community and the states of
Southeast Europe to advance our shared commitment to political and economic
reform, accelerate the region's integration with the rest of Europe and promote
greater stability throughout the area.
Regional Reforms. The
Pact has developed a number of initiatives to strengthen democracy, economic
development and security, including specific commitments and actions by the
states of the region to improve their investment climate and combat corruption.
In each country, the government has formed teams with representatives of major
donors and multilateral institutions to support these reforms.
Assistance. At the Regional Funding Conference for Southeast Europe in
Brussels on March 29-30, the international community committed $2.3 billion to
fund a wide range of "Quick Start" projects, including one to improve the
region's infrastructure and strengthen the rule of law. The European Union has
shouldered the lion's share of funding for these projects, with the combined
contribution of the European Commission, EU Member States, the European
Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank equaling
approximately two-thirds of the total. The U.S. pledged $77.65 million in
assistance, just over three percent of the total. Other bilateral donors,
multilateral institutions and organizations contributed the balance.
Work on several important "Quick Start" projects has already begun,
including on 26 of the 53 projects involving U.S. funding. Among those projects
underway are the Milot River bridge project in Albania, the Blace border
crossing in Macedonia, the power grid upgrade project in Romania, the World
Bank's regional Trade and Transport Facilitation program, and the regional
Teaching of History project. Others are planned to start soon, including a
transportation infrastructure upgrade and expansion project in Montenegro and
the Danube bridge construction project between Bulgaria and Romania.
Integrating Southeast Europe into the rest of Europe. Since the
Stability Pact began last summer, Croatia has joined NATO's Partnership for
Peace, the European Union has opened accession negotiations with Romania and
Bulgaria, and the EU has expressed its intention to negotiate Stabilization and
Association Agreements with several other countries of the region.
Winning the Peace in Kosovo
The combined efforts of
KFOR, the United Nations and donors such as the United States and the European
Union have made a critical difference on the ground in Kosovo. Over 900,000
refugees forced out during the conflict have returned home. Serb security
forces and the KLA have either withdrawn or disbanded. The level of violence
has dropped sharply since last summer. International assistance including
75,000 shelter kits helped local residents repair and construct adequate
shelter, averting a humanitarian crisis this past winter. UNMIK has rebuilt
nearly 3,000 houses, primarily with European funding, and aims to build far
more by the end of this year. Reconstruction of the power system means that,
for the first time since the fighting ended, internally generated power is
adequate for demand. The food situation is improving. Over one million square
meters of land has been cleared of 15,000 mines.
Both the United States
and Europe have made significant contributions to the success of KFOR and
UNMIK. EU member states have contributed 63 percent of the troops in KFOR, with
contributions from other European countries (including Russia) bringing that
proportion up to 80 percent. The United States provides under 15 percent of
total KFOR troops. Similarly, the EU has provided nearly three-quarters of
international funding for UNMIK's local budget, from which UNMIK covers the
costs of running the local administration in Kosovo, while the United States
has provided just over 13 percent. At the two World Bank-led donors'
conferences held in 1999 to respond to needs in Kosovo, the United States
pledged about one-fifth of the total contribution, with the European Union
pledging approximately three-fifths, and other donors providing the remainder.