Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex 3



  The United Kingdom is strongly committed to supporting Slovenia's accession to the European Union, and assisting Slovenia in the process of reform necessary to achieve this goal. This Action Plan outlines a range of UK initiatives to this end. Priority target areas include: Civil Service Reform, Police Co-operation, Illegal Migration and Drugs Interdiction. The following plan is the result of discussion between the United Kingdom and Slovenia. It complements the extensive support provided through EU channels. The UK, through the Department for International Development (DfID), provides 15 per cent of the EU PHARE budget managed by the European Commission.


  The British Government is supporting the Slovenian government in its reform of public administration. Areas include:

    —  Improvement of the civil service structure by developing an EU training programme for Slovenian civil servants. The training programme to be organised by the UK Civil Service College will have two levels, one for senior civil servants and one for new entrants. Slovenian officials from the Government Office of European Affairs and Ministry of Interior visited the Civil Service College in December 1999. A follow up visit to Ljubljana by a Civil Service College expert is scheduled for September 2000 and will cover, (a) short-term help in training Slovenian Officials in core EU knowledge skills, and (b) long-term support to strengthen Slovenian institutions and creation of indigenous capacity for EU training.

    —  The British Embassy is planning a visit to Slovenia of MPs from each of the major UK political parties, in co-operation with the Slovenian Government Office for European Affairs and with the help of Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The purpose of the visit is to encourage the Slovenian political establishment, through a number of workshops/seminars, to examine ways to restructure the country's civil service on a fully professional and apolitical basis.

    —  The British Embassy funded the Head of the Slovenian Civil Service and his Deputy to attend an International Summit on Public Finance and Administration at the Adam Smith Institute in London last April. Further such opportunities for exchanges will be sought.

    —  The British Council is running an English Language Course for new Slovenian Diplomats. A new initiative to offer local scholarships for an English Language Training programme "English with a British Accent" aimed at civil servants and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is under consideration.


  The British and Slovenian authorities are working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on co-operation to combat drugs and organised crime.

  Slovenia is one of the several routes in SE Europe which is attracting increasing attention of drug smugglers because of its geographical position and good communication routes. As a result of the Prime Minister's recent speech on Europe-wide drugs co-operation, Slovenia has requested a visit by Keith Hellawell, the UK drugs co-ordinator. A regional needs analysis study of SE Europe is currently underway. This will indicate potential areas for project co-operation.

  Other areas of assistance include:

    —  The United Kingdom will explore areas of further co-operation for assisting Slovenia in their fight against illegal immigration.

    —  Through the DfID's programme to Slovenia, the British Government has successfully run a four-year project of co-operation between Ljubljana Police Constabulary and Surrey Police. The project covers criminal investigation, organised crime, police and community partnerships and school liaison. The United Kingdom and Slovenian authorities are keen to maintain the excellent level of co-operation between the two forces.

    —  There is active customs co-operation between Britain and Slovenia, and a project is currently in the planning stages to send customs officers from Brnik airport on a one-week training visit to East Midlands Airport. This would build on earlier Home Office funded training provided by HM Customs in Slovenia. This visit could act as a springboard for further training and co-operation between HM Customs and Excise and Slovenian Customs.

    —  The British Council has given specialist language training to 120 Slovenian judges under its very successful and ongoing programme of legal English for judges and public prosecutors, now in its third year.


  As part of the EC Twinning Programme, the National Audit Office is leading a project to develop Slovenia's External Audit capabilities. The project aims to adjust and develop the external audit functions of the Slovenian Court of Audit and align it with European audit practices. The project covenant has been unconditionally approved and a British Pre Accession Adviser (PAA) is due to launch the project in September 2000.

  The UK's Ordnance Survey is leading an EU twinning project to assist with the Modernisation of Real Estate Management. Ordnance Survey has seconded an expert to the Slovene Government for 12 months.


  The UK has an ongoing Know How Fund (KHF) project, which is being run in conjunction with Durham University Business School, to develop enterprise and business understanding in Slovenian secondary schools.

  The British Council is heavily involved in the training of Slovenia's national agencies for EU youth and student interchange programmes (Socrates, Commenius, Lingua etc). This is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

  The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to support and develop its Chevening Scholarship schemes that enable Slovenian students to study in the UK. This year the UK successfully negotiated a further three years funding from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture to extend the Valvasor/Chevening Scholarship scheme (jointly funded by the FCO and the Slovenian Government). For the 2000-01 term we have provisionally accepted six Chevening Scholars and two Chevening/Valvasor Scholars.

  The British Council, in collaboration with the Slovenian Ministry of Science, runs an academic link scheme. The scheme offers an effective way to lead British-Slovenian science projects towards integration into wider and larger UK led/EU funded consortia.


  The Know How Fund's (KHF's) Heritage Trail Project is now into its third year and has had an impressive impact. Its main goal has been to develop an environmentally sustainable tourism product to boost local economies, but especially to bring municipalities together and to encourage them to co-operate for the greater mutual benefit. The project is co-funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Fund for Regional Development, and exhibited for the first time at the Alpe Adria Tourism Fair, Ljubljana on 22 March.

  The British Embassy is co-funding a project, through DfID's small project scheme, British Grants Slovenia (BGS), to compile and implement environmental standards for any future regional development in Slovenia. The project will raise Slovenian public awareness of European integration and EU accession issues related to socio/economic development and environment.

  The BGS is also funding a project to increase public awareness (especially amongst NGOs) of EU policy on the environment and regional development.


  Within the framework of the EC Twinning programme, the UK has been awarded the lead in a project to strengthen the Slovenian Labour Market Organisations. A long-term expert from the Northern Regional Office of the Employment Service in Newcastle upon Tyne will lead the project, drawing on experts from both Sweden and Ireland. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Slovenian Employment Service and identify non-distortive ways of supporting employment. The Employment Service have successfully concluded covenant negotiations with the Commission, gaining unconditional approval. They hope to launch the project in autumn 2000. A member of the UK Department of Employment has also been working with Slovenia's Ministry of Labour as part of an Irish led twinning project on preparations for using European Social Funds.


  The UK's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and Ministry for Education and Employment (DFEE) are participating in an EU twinning project to help prepare Slovenia for the receipt of EU funds. The UK is providing short-term expertise specifically on preparations for SAPARD and European Social funds. This support will continue until the end of this year.


  The UK has regular high level exchanges with Slovenia on Common Foreign and Security Policy issues. It greatly welcomes Slovenia's contribution to the work of the Stability Pact, and to the "Europeanisation" of the Western Balkans. The UK has supported the work of Slovenia's Demining Trust with a grant of £1 million. It is examining other potential collaborative projects with Slovenia in the region.


  Working as part of the Trade Partners UK trade development team, the Commercial Section of the British Embassy will continue to help build on the Slovene market's "sectoral" participation in the current "Opportunities in Central Europe" trade and investment campaign.

  Trade and investment opportunities in the agribusiness, clothing, footwear and fashion, food, drink, food processing sectors are being highlighted as offering particular potential. British Trade International is committed to supporting the further development of two-way trade and exchange of trade missions.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

4 September 2000

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