Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA: Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 3. Assistance for Each Region > 8. The European Region

8. The European Region

Japan's bilateral ODA to the European region in 2004 was approximately US$140.69 million, 2.4% of total bilateral ODA.

After the collapse of Communism in 1989, Central and Eastern European regions began making efforts toward market economies and democratization. In line with such developments, the G24 (East European Countries Donor's Meeting) led by the European Union ( EU ) was established. Japan joined step with the international community and has been providing assistance to Central and Eastern Europe and the three Baltic countries for nearly 15 years.

Today, the degree of development varies greatly among the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Eight countries including the three Baltic countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) have actively advanced domestic reforms while receiving assistance from various countries, and acceded to the EU in May 2004. Japan has provided ongoing and wide-ranging assistance for steady system transitions by improving the lives of citizens who experienced economic and social difficulties that accompanied system transformations. As these new EU member states are already switching over from being recipient countries to donor countries, the role of Japan's assistance is also changing, and it is necessary to shift its assistance to regions and sectors with higher needs. As a result, countries with high priority for assistance are shifting to those whose development is further behind, such as Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkan countries. Meanwhile, Japan has been making effective use of knowledge and experience accumulated through fifteen years of providing assistance to implement "triangle cooperation," which conducts technical transfer via Poland to third countries like Ukraine and the Western Balkan countries, and through supporting Central and Eastern European countries to become donor countries.

Moreover, for Romania and Bulgaria which aim to accede to EU in 2007, Japan has been pouring its efforts to provide assistance in promoting trade and investment to bolster their economic growth, as well as environmental conservation, the fields which they still need to address. In FY2004 Japan extended assistance which contributes to the development of environmental policies and energy measures in Romania by providing a yen loan for the Turceni Thermal Power Plant Pollution Abatement Project.

By contrast, countries in the Western Balkan region, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro, which suffered considerable damage through many years of conflicts, are finally about to move from a stage of restoration and reconstruction to a stage of development. In April 2004, Japan co-hosted with Ireland, which held the Presidency of the EU, the Ministerial Conference on Peace Consolidation and Economic Development of the Western Balkans in Tokyo attended by ministers of Western Balkan countries, donor countries, and international agencies. At the conference, Japan emphasized the importance of consolidating peace through ethnic collaboration and promoting sustainable economic development, stressed the necessity to tackle common issues faced by Western Balkan regions such as organized crime and high unemployment rates by advancing regional cooperation, and announced to continue providing assistance to support efforts to these ends.

Furthermore, for the Western Balkan region, Japan has been rebuilding infrastructures that had been damaged during the conflicts, providing assistance focused on the health and medical care sectors, and dispatching experts and accepting trainees in accordance to each development stage toward market economization. From the standpoint of consolidating peace, Japan has been inviting and providing training for police officers of Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo in order to enhance measures to promote public order. It has been also providing assistance to NGO in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for clearing landmines. Regarding the environmental sector, which the entire Balkan region has neglected to address due to conflicts, Japan had been actively tackling the water issue by means of dispatching experts to control the water quality of the international Sava River.

In terms of Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus, which are located in the European region of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine has been making efforts since the financial crisis of around 1998 to promote a market economy and economic structural reform with future EU accession in mind. While its economic conditions have been steadily improving since 2000, per capita income standard has remained at US$970 (as of 2003). In this country, a large-scale demonstration took place in December 2004 to protest against the fraudulent presidential election process. Democratization was promoted through the rerun election, and the Yushchenko Cabinet was newly established ("the Orange Revolution"). In view of such developments, Japan will collaborate with the international community to support the efforts of the Ukraine to further advance its democratization and transition to a market economy. As part of the assistance to promote market economy, Japan contributed to the Boryspil State International Airport Development Project in FY2004, which was the first yen loan project in the Ukraine.

Chart 33. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the European Region

Chart 33. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the European Region