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Welcome to the first newsletter of the European Union and Council of Europe Joint Programme "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey" (Horizontal Facility).

The Horizontal Facility is a three-year programme (May 2016 - May 2019) to support beneficiaries in South-East Europe and Turkey in their efforts to comply with Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis. It has a budget of €25 million (€20 million from the European Union and €5 million from the Council of Europe). The thematic areas covered by the Horizontal Facility are: Ensuring justice, fighting economic crime, and combating discrimination and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups., which are key priorities for both Organisations for South East Europe.

The Horizontal Facility combines technical co-operation and expertise and its Actions are based on the conclusions and recommendations of Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies. This means that that tailor-made co-operation Actions have been prepared with beneficiaries to work on the areas where improvements are needed in legislation and policies to comply with the Organisation’s treaties and other standards.

With this newsletter we would like to present to you some of the highlights of Horizontal Facility activities. We very much hope that you enjoy this issue and find it to be informative.

With best wishes from the Horizontal Facility team
Belgrade, March 2017