Select Committee on European Scrutiny Tenth Report


PARTICIPATION BY THE CEEC APPLICANTS IN CULTURE 2000


(22247 - 22256)

7072/01 - 7081/01

COM(01) 128


Draft Council Decision on the Community position within the Association Council on the participation in the Culture 2000 programme of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and the Republics of Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Legal base: Article 151 EU; consultation; unanimity
Department: Culture, Media and Sport
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 11 May 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 28-xii (2000-01), paragraph 8 (25 April 2001)
To be discussed in Council: No date set
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared (decision reported 25 April 2001); further information requested

Introduction

  9.1  The Culture 2000 programme was adopted on 14 February 2000.[16] Article 7 of the Decision which established the programme provides for the participation, in principle, of the ten candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs). All have taken part in previous Community cultural programmes such as Ariane, Kaleidoscope and Raphael.

The current proposal

  9.2  On 25 April, we considered the current proposal, which establishes the budget so that the ten candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe can begin to participate. They will be subject to the same conditions, rules and procedures as are applied to Member States. We noted that participation in the programme would allow the CEECs to become integrated in Community networks and other activities related to culture and would allow them to attend meetings of the Management Committee as observers when points which concern them are on the agenda.

  9.3  We cleared the proposal, but we asked the Minister to seek a statement from the Commission on the prospects for the inclusion of Cyprus and Malta in the Culture 2000 programme. Both are applicant countries with an important cultural heritage to protect. We suggested that early participation in Culture 2000 would be of benefit to both and asked what considerations were delaying their participation.

The Minister's letter

  9.4  In a letter dated 11 May, which was not copied to our Clerk and has only recently become available to the Committee, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr Chris Smith) says:

"I understand that the European Commission did not include Cyprus and Malta in this batch of draft Council Decisions in order not to delay agreement on participation by these ten countries. Unlike theirs, the EU Association Agreements with Cyprus and Malta do not yet have the appropriate cultural clauses on which to base participation in Culture 2000. The Commission is working to bring forward the special protocols required in order to achieve this, but is presently unable to give any firm indication of when this might be finalised.

"My officials will continue to monitor the situation and to press the Commission to complete this task. The proposals, when submitted, will come to the Committees in the usual way."

Conclusion

  9.5  On 31 October we cleared draft Council Decisions to allow Cyprus, Malta and Turkey to participate in Community programmes.[17] We ask the Minister whether these are the "special protocols" he refers to in his letter.

  9.6  We also ask the Minister, once again, when she expects Malta and Cyprus to start participating in Culture 2000. It is important that both these candidates are treated to the same advantages as the other ten and it is now six months since we asked about progress.

  9.7  We ask for a response to this request before we meet on 9 January 2002 and that, in future, all correspondence to the Committee is copied to the Clerk, as set out in the Cabinet Office Guidance Notes.


16  (20903) 3638/99; see HC 23-vii (1999-2000), paragraph 8 (2 February 2000). Back

17  (22680) 11565/01 and (22760) 12579/01; see HC 152-iii (2001-02), paragraph 19 (31 October 2001). Back


 
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