The CARDS programme, of Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation, is the EU's main instrument of financial assistance to the Western Balkans, covering specifically the countries of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania. It was created in 2000 by Council Regulation 2666/2000. However it was only in 2001 that the programme became operative under its own regulations, as in the first period it supported projects previously funded by the PHARE and OBNOVA programmes. The programme is the main financial instrument of EU's Stabilisation and Association process (SAp). A total of €5.13 billion is secured for all CARDS actions during 2000-2006, as after that day it will be replaced by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which will cover both candidate and potential candidate countries.
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