|dc.description.abstract||This report and the associated background document cover the implementation of Phare1, Turkey pre-accession instrument2, CARDS3 and Transition Facility4 programmes during the year 2008, with a cut-off date of 31 December 2008. It should be noted that as 2006 was the final programming year under Phare, the Turkey pre-accession instrument and CARDS, no new programmes under these instruments were launched in 20085. The objectives of Phare pre-accession assistance have been to assist candidate and acceding countries in their efforts to strengthen their public administrations and institutions to function effectively inside the European Union; to promote convergence with the European Community’s legislation; to reduce the need for transition periods; and to promote Economic and Social Cohesion (ESC). The objective of the CARDS programme has been to support the participation of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo6, in the Stabilisation and Association process (SAP). This process seeks to promote stability within the region whilst also facilitating closer association with the European Union.