BILATERAL ACTION PLANS FOR EU APPLICANT
In line with our promise to pass on Action Plans
as they are agreed, I have pleasure in enclosing the new bilateral
plan for Lithuania.
The aim of these Action Plans is to bring together
and enhance the UK's practical support for reform in the applicant
states in the run up to EU accession. Action Plans achieve better
visibility for our projects and allow for better co-ordination
and targeting of our pre-accession assistance.
I am copying this letter to your Clerk and will
be writing in similar terms to the Chairs, copied to the Clerks,
of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the Lords
European Union Committee.
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
LITHUANIA: EU ACTION PLAN
1. Since Lithuania regained her independence
in 1991 the United Kingdom has been a staunch supporter of her
efforts to rebuild a country along democratic and free market
models. The United Kingdom never recognised de jure the Soviet
annexation of 1940. Diplomatic ties were re-established with the
opening of the British Embassy in Vilnius in October 1991. The
Embassy has nine diplomats, including a new Defence Section, and
16 Lithuanian staff. The UK's strong diplomatic presence in Lithuania
underlines the growing importance of Lithuania as a partner in
trade, diplomacy and defence.
2. The UK is strongly committed to the early
accession of Lithuania to the EU and to supporting Lithuania in
the associated process of reform. For 2001-02 the UK has decided
to allocate GBP 64,500 (368,000 LT) for projects specifically
related to Lithuania's preparations for EU accession. The EU Action
Plan has been drawn up in consultation between the two Governments.
3. Trade activity between Lithuania and
the UK is increasing. In 2000 British exports to Lithuania grew
by nearly 40 per cent and were worth GBP 133.6 million (761 million
LT). Lithuanian exports to the UK grew at an even faster rate,
56.2 per cent and were worth GBP 254.8 million (1.4 billion LT).
At present the UK is Lithuania's fifth largest export market.
4. By early 2001 direct foreign investment
from the UK to Lithuania totalled just over GBP 100 million (570
million LT). There are over 100 Lithuanian/British joint ventures
and British capital companies in Lithuania.
5. In March 2001 the British Embassy organised
the first British Week in Lithuania. It had a very strong
commercial angle and included British products exhibitions in
three major Lithuanian cities, four seminars (on EU integration
organised by PWC, insurance, rural livelihoods and heritage),
two trade missions and a business reception that attracted potential
Lithuanian investors and partners and representatives from British
6. Since 1992 Lithuania has benefited from
many projects under the Know How Fund. The UK is also a significant
contributor (16 per cent) to the EU PHARE technical assistance
programme which focuses on economic reconstruction.
7. The British government will increase
its support to the Lithuanian government's own efforts to reform
and strengthen its public administration service. Programmes include:
The British Council with the Department
for International Development will sponsor a £200,000 public
administration project which will be launched in September 2001
and will run for two years. The aims of the project are, to develop
human resource planning and management and to develop a network
of training providers for public servants;
The British Embassy, working with
the British Civil Service College, will sponsor and organise a
number of workshops which will focus on improving negotiation,
presentation and EU drafting skills of senior Lithuanian officials;
The British Council will assist in
the creation of a professional interpreters/translators association.
The association will create a proper system of certifying translators
8. In March, during a visit to Lithuania
to open British Week 2001, the British Foreign Office Minister,
Brian Wilson, announced that the UK would make a bilateral contribution
of 1.5 million euros to the Ignalina decommissioning fund. For
the past five years the British government has been working behind
the scenes in Ignalina providing specialist knowledge to enable
Lithuania to ensure short-term safety of the reactors, prepare
for eventual decommissioning and help with the social consequences
of closures. Projects include:
provide technical support to VATESI
arrange study visits of British nuclear
plants undergoing decommissioning for Lithuanian experts;
since 1995 the British government
has funded an English language training programme for plant employees.
In 2000 alone 120 employees received training;
the UK has supported the Ministry
of Economy by sponsoring the activities of Dr Helene Ryding, adviser
to the Vice Minister responsible for decommissioning; and
because of the special difficulties
that the town of Visaginis will have to face due to the eventual
closure, on the grounds of safety, of Ignalina Nuclear Power Station,
the British government will pay for an EU information centre to
be established and equipped in the town library. Besides the usual
Lithuanian and English language material, the British Government
will also provide Russian language material on the EU.
9. The British government will help finance
Transparency International to prepare an institutional
and geographical map of corruption in Lithuania. The results will
be used to create corruption awareness and prevention workshops
for civil servants, university students studying public administration
and journalists. The British government is the main sponsor alongside
the World Bank and the Finnish government.
10. At the beginning of 2001 a British expert
on combating and preventing economic crime, Ewen McCleod, launched
a 12-month UK/EU twinning project with Lithuanian law enforcement
agencies. The project is led by the UK's National Criminal Intelligence
Service (NCIS) and aims to assist Lithuania by providing training
and developing capacity and skills, to investigate economic crimes.
11. In 2002 the British government will
help Lithuania strengthen the fight against crime through a UK/EU
twinning project which will establish a National Europol Bureau
and up-grade the forensic science service's central laboratory.
12. The British government will work to
further support co-operation between the British and Lithuanian
13. In April 2001 the British government
sponsored the second series of seminars on EU law by Lord Slynn
14. The British Embassy and the British
Council have been active in supporting the Lithuanian government's
efforts to explain to the public the advantages of EU membership.
The British Council has a Resource Centre in Vilnius and seven
Outreach Centres in other cities that disseminate information
about the UK and the EU. Projects for 2001-02 include:
15. The British Ambassador, Christopher
Robbins, at the invitation of Seimas members, has so far completed
25 presentations of Britain's View of the Advantages of European
Union Membership for Lithuania. The presentation has been
translated and published into Lithuanian and distributed to politicians,
officials, schools and EU Information Centres.
16. The Press and Public Affairs Section
at the British Embassy are working with one of Lithuania's leading
national radio stations, Radijocentras, to create 50 programmes
focusing on the UK and Europe.
17. A television crew from the main national
television station will be sponsored to go to the UK and make
three programmes focusing on EU issues (1) the implications of
the single market, (2) privatisation and regulation of energy
companies and (3) ethnic diversity and tolerance in the UK.
18. Since April 2000 the British Council
has helped school teachers learn how to introduce an understanding
of the EU into schools.
19. In 2000-01 the British government has
funded EuroFaculty (specifically the Economic Faculty) at Vilnius
University. The funding supports the activities of a British economics
lecturer who, besides teaching economics, is also training the
next generation of Lithuanian economic lecturers.
20. The British Foreign Office will continue
with its annual sponsorship of one young Lithuanian diplomat to
attend an EU seminar in the UK.
21. Since 1992 the British Foreign Office's
Chevening scholarship has sponsored over 70 Lithuanians to pursue
postgraduate studies in the UK. The funding for this increased
to £100,000 per annum last year. Many of the scholars work
in the public sector on issues directly related to EU accession.
A special Europe Chevening scholarship has been running for three
years with public officials being sent to an intensive EU course
at Sussex University.
22. The Embassy's political and economic
section will make a series of presentations at Lithuanian universities
on "Britain and the Euro".
23. In 2002 the UK will manage a UK/EU twinning
project designed to strengthen public auditing.
24. In January 2001 a UK/Lithuania EU twinning
project on improving the Lithuanian social assistance system started.
The project will last for two years and involves officials from
Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
25. In 2001-02 the Department for International
Development will establish the following projects:
social rehabilitation camp for the
UK experts to work on reforms in
children's care home;
provide internet access for children's
provide vocational training for orphaned
drug addicts rehabilitation programme.
26. The UK values and supports Lithuania's
active engagement on the question of Kaliningrad.
27. The British Foreign Office and Wilton
Park conference organisers are preparing to hold a high level
conference on Baltic regional security issues in Vilnius in June
28. In 2000-01 there have been visits by:
Brian Wilson, Foreign Office Minister, Dr Moonie, Permanent Under
Secretary of Defence, Mr Keith Vaz, Minister for Europe and a
delegation of six MPs from the British/Lithuania Inter-Parliamentary
Union Group. Further visits are planned for 2001-02 including
one by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in November 2001.
29. In the past year the British government
has sponsored working trips to the UK by the Chairman of the Seimas,
the Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Finance.
30. The British government will continue
to sponsor Lithuanian ministers, politicians and officials to
attend important conferences on EU related issues in the UK and
elsewhere in Europe.
31. The British Council will continue to
sponsor a Lithuanian politician or official to attend the annual
conference on policy developments in Europe. In 2000 the Chairman
of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Alvydas Medalinskas,
represented Lithuania at the meetings which were held in Brussels,
Dublin and Edinburgh.
32. The UK is interested in providing assistance
and support, where possible, to Lithuania in areas covered by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
33. The pan-Baltic project entitled "Strengthening
Capacity and Environment Project Development", funded by
DFID. The project is designed to improve the ability of rural
and regional authorities to develop environmental projects for
funding by the EU and other donors.
British Embassy, Vilnius