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Joint ventures key to Serbian contracts


BRITISH CONSTRUCTION firms must link with Serbian and European partners if they are to win reconstruction work in Serbia and Macedonia, the government's reconstruction task force said this week.

Around £2.4bn of contracts overseen by the European Commission and World Bank will have to be bid by multi-national joint ventures, said task force head and Arup chairman Nigel Thompson.

The Commission and World Bank are jointly in charge of a £2.4bn, three year programme of emergency relief work in Serbia and Montenegro. The programme covers the power, environmental, water, sewerage, solid waste, agricultural and health sectors.

The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) is to hold briefings on opportunities in the power and environmental sectors next week.

'There is everything to play for, ' said Thompson. 'What has been done already is hugely appreciated. Since last year taskforce members have achieved a huge amount with a very small amount of funding.'

UK firms have participated in emergency energy, transportation, water supply and sanitation, and health relief projects in Serbia since former leader Slobodan Milosevic was deposed last October.

Last week international donor nations pledged £800M for reconstruction in Serbia and Montenegro following Milosevic's extradition for trial at the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. The UK put up £9M.

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