Britain will support economic reform and good governance in at least 5 Eastern neighbourhood and Balkan countries, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
Speaking at the EU Summit in Brussels, the Prime Minister told other leaders that the UK would be launching a new multi-year programme to provide expert advice, training and assistance to the governments of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Good Governance Fund will provide up to £20 million in the first year (2015/16) to help these countries as they carry out political and economic reforms. This includes £5 million of support the Department for International Development (DFID) has already committed to support reform in Ukraine.
Setting out the importance of the fund, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Ensuring we have strong partners on the EU’s border is not only essential for Britain’s security but our long term prosperity. UK expertise can play a crucial role in bringing about the reforms needed to build lasting stability in the region, especially in the face of Russian intimidation, and it is right we that we step up our efforts alongside international partners.”
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
“A stronger, more democratic and more successful Eastern neighbourhood is in all our interests.
“That is why we will provide targeted assistance to help these countries make tough but necessary reforms to help strengthen their economies, fight corruption and better serve their people.”
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
“Recent events have brought into sharp focus the challenges faced by our eastern neighbours. We all have a stake in their stability, resilience and prosperity.
“This new fund will support the efforts of our neighbours to reform their governance, economies and societies. And, in doing so, Britain is helping to build Europe’s security and prosperity in the 21st century.”
The new fund will support activities such as:
- strengthening the rule of law and democratic accountability as well as reforming police and justice systems;
- the liberalisation and modernisation of key sectors such as energy and banking;
- the reform of tax systems, improvements to the business environment and the reduction of red tape to generate foreign investment and help private sector entrepreneurs to drive exports;
- anti-corruption measures to help improve transparency and encourage effective public financial management; and
- strengthening independent media to ensure balanced and accurate news and public affairs reporting.
This is a cross-government fund and there will be options to extend it to other countries in further years.