I am pleased to provide you this Fiscal Year 2006 report on U.S. assistance and cooperative activities with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This was an important year for U.S. Government assistance to this region. Sixteen federal departments, agencies, and other major USG implementers obligated $568 million in assistance to the fifteen CEE countries as appropriated by Congress, including $360 million obligated from the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act account.
In accordance with the overarching goal of helping prepare these countries for eventual full integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, U.S. assistance has helped achieve important milestones. Some examples: Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania have all met the benchmark standards for phase out of SEED assistance. These are countries that have achieved sufficient progress to ensure that the path to democratic and market-oriented states is irreversible. Croatia and Macedonia are European Union candidate countries, following ten other former and current SEED funded countries who are already European Union members. In FY 2006 Bosnia-Herzegovina made strides in democratic reform with the October nationwide elections, the first to be fully administered by Bosnian authorities since the Dayton Accords. Bosnian civil society mobilized as never before, supporting a platform of concrete economic and social issues; thus accomplishing important steps on the path to full democratization and European Union (EU) accession. On the economic front, USG assistance helped Albania to continue to achieve significant economic growth, largely as a result of macroeconomic stability and growing migrant remittances.
Despite these successes, however, there is still much work that needs to be done to help empower the peoples of these regions, and further their integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. Support for both Serbia and Kosovo in implementation of the decision on Kosovo's final status will undoubtedly be a priority for SEED Assistance. During the next fiscal year, the Office of the Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia will continue to direct and coordinate USG funding throughout the region to best fulfill U.S. foreign policy goals.
Thomas C. Adams, Coordinator
U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia