BRITAIN AND ESTONIA IN EUROPE: UK ACTION
Since the restoration of Estonia's independence
in 1991, the United Kingdom has been a firm supporter of Estonia's
development as a successful, free market orientated liberal democracy.
Since the launch of the EU accession negotiations during the British
presidency in 1998, the UK has been actively supporting Estonia
in its efforts to achieve early accession to the European Union.
The United Kingdom is determined to maintain this support to help
ensure that Estonia's remarkable progress is sustained. In this
spirit the British and Estonian Governments have endorsed the
following EU Accession Action Plan.
The Action plan has been drawn up in conjunction
with the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It includes the
activities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department
for International Development (DfID) in London, other British
ministries, the British Embassy in Tallinn and the British Council.
It complements support provided through EC channels. The UK, through
DfID provides 15 per cent of the EU PHARE budget managed by the
The British Government is supporting the Estonian
government in its continuing reform of the public administration
to increase its capacity to adopt the acquis communautaire
in full and take on the obligations of EU membership. Areas
Help in building the capacity of
the Estonian Legal Translation Centre which is responsible for
translating the large volume of EU related documents into Estonian
and English. This includes providing training courses for translators
and the establishment of a glossary of terms for translators
available over the Internet.
The British Government will support
the development and delivery of a training programme to support
the development of Estonian Public Administration. The first seminar
on "Development and implementation of service standards for
the Estonian civil service" is being held in October under
the auspices of the Estonian Institute of Public Administration
to look at setting standards in Ministries and agencies and developing
the concept of citizen's charters. The seminar is run by the UK's
Civil Service College.
To support the British-Estonian Public
Administration Support Programme (GEPASP) managed by the Estonian
Institute of Public Administration. The programme includes a training
programme for Estonian top and senior level civil servants, for
key people in Estonian Public Administration Reform process and
the training of trainers.
This financial year, the DfID has
launched two programmes focusing on strengthening capacity in
environmental project development and a rural development project
to address problems of rural poverty and social exclusion.
A continuing programme of assistance
to the State Audit Office who co-operate with Britain's National
UK high level participation in the
Estonian conference on"Effectiveness and Quality in public
Administration" in September.
The DfID will explore ways of increasing
co-operation with the Public Administration Bureau with the aim
of launching a comprehensive programme of assistance with Public
Administrative Reform later this year.
The British and Estonian Governments will work
to sign and implement their Memorandum of Understanding on
Co-operation in Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organised
crime and Illegal Immigration early next year. This will lead
to the development of further co-operation in these areas.
The British Government will further support
co-operation between the legal professions of Britain and Estonia,
following the successful visit by Lord Slynn of Hadley. This will
include a seminar on human rights for judges and other projects
designed to improve Estonia's judiciary.
Other projects include:
UK advice, assistance and training
packages to the Customs and Rescue Boards, including training
in surveillance techniques and disaster management courses at
British Government support to Crime
Prevention and Community Safety project run by the Baltic
Crime Prevention Institute and the University of the West of England.
The project offers UK designed distance learning training packages
to Estonian policemen, probation, community and social workers.
British Government advice and assistance
on the establishment of an effective and efficient probation system.
The Centre for Political and Diplomatic
Studies (CPDS) held a successful course on "Justice and Home
Affairs" between 16-29 July as part of their Programme of
Diplomatic Studies 2000. The course provided a programme of study
visits and discussions in Brussels and London for two representatives
from each EU candidate country, including Estonia. The Foreign
and Commonwealth Office funded the course.
The British Government is providing support
to Estonia in reforming its financial sector with the aim of meeting
the requirements of EU accession and establishing Tallinn as a
regional financial centre. Projects include:
Visit by the Lord Mayor of London
to establish closer ties between financial institutions in London
Frequent trade missions from the
UK in the financial services sector.
London based financial institutions,
British and others, frequently provide considerable advice and
financial support to Estonia in areas such as privatisation, public-private
partnerships, and infrastructure development.
The United Kingdom is supporting a project with
Tartu University to establish a British Lectureship in Media
Studies for Russian Speaking Students. The aim is to raise
the quality of Russian language journalism in Estonia. Support
for the project will last for three years and thereafter, be supported
by the Estonian Government. The British Embassy and British Council
in Tallinn are working together to identify a suitable UK lecturer
to participate in the project and establish working links between
Tartu and a British University.
The UK supports Estonia's successful media industry.
The British Embassy in Tallinn will continue to identify Estonian
journalists to send on sponsored visits to the UK and Brussels.
Five journalists have visited the UK so far this year, looking
at issues ranging from reform of the EU to the peace process in
The UK has supported the production of two
Estonian TV programmes featuring life in Britain, with particular
emphasis on the UK experience of integration of ethnic minorities.
The Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies
(CPDS) held a course on the Environment in October 2000 as part
of their Programme of Diplomatic Studies 2000. The course offers
a programme of study visits and discussions in various locations
around England and Wales for one representative from each EU candidate
country, including Estonia. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
is funding the course.
One of the most important challenges facing
Estonia is the integration of non-Estonian minorities. The UK
Government will continue working with the Estonian Government
to ensure progress in this area and to provide assistance to the
State Integration Programme for 2000-07.
United Kingdom joined the Nordic/UNDP
project "Support to the State Integration Programme"
in March 2000. The Department for International Development
(DfID) has contributed £100,000 to the Nordic/UK/UNDP project
to support the implementation of the State Integration Programme.
The UK contribution helps to increase the implementation capacity
in three specific areas of the project:
exchange of model and programme
for Russian-medium and Estonian-medium vocational schools;
language camps for Russian-speaking
children, including children from problem backgrounds;
studies in labour force mobility
for residents of the North East of Estonia.
The project "Support to the State Integration
Programme" will continue until July 2001.
The UK has supported the seminars
on the protection of minority rights with particular emphasis
on multicultural education (International conference "What
is Multiculturalism?", Parnu, 1995; "Multicultural Baltic",
Tallinn, 1995; Phare democracy seminar "Education in multicultural
society", Tartu, 1996 etc). The British Government sends
politicians, journalists, officials and specialists on education
to the UK to study the UK experience of education and integration
of ethnic minorities. Eight politicians, journalists and officials
involved in the integration process participated in a week-long
seminar in the UK entitled "The Protection of Minority
Rights in Britain".
The UK supports a number of small multi-donor
programmes and projects to promote the integration process in
Estonia in the areas of the Estonian language training;
in Russian-medium primary education
institutions, family exchange and language camps;
exchange of teachers of Estonian-
and Russian-medium schools;
media education (media for schoolseg
the newspaper "YOU" in Estonian, Russian and English,
supported by the British Embassy);
youth activities, citizenship awareness
campaign, national and ethnic minorities projects (cultural events,
conferences and seminars, exhibitions, Sunday schools).
When Estonia becomes a member of the EU it will
be required to take on the full obligations of membership. The
UK therefore maintains a close dialogue with Estonia about the
current and future development of the EU's Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP). The UK does this by sharing as much
information as possible with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via
e-mail and during regular working meetings. Official visitors
from the UK are encouraged to talk about the EU aspects of their
The British Embassy have also arranged
a number of visits for MFA officials in 1999: Director General
of the European Union Division, Ms Katrin Saarsalu (study visit),
the Spokesman of the MFA, Mr Taavi Toom (study visit).
During 2000 there were visits by
the Political Director, Mr Vaino Reinart and the Head of Policy
Planning at the MFA, Mrs Kaja Tael to the UK.
1999 was a record year for Ministerial contact
between the UK and Estonia. Six UK Ministers visited Tallinn including
the Foreign and Defence Secretaries, and sector specific visits
were made by the Ministers for Trade, Transport and Social Security.
Almost half of the new Estonian cabinet visited the UK in 1999.
President Meri visited the UK in March 2000.
During his stay he had meetings with HRH The Prince of Wales;
the Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook; the Chief of Defence Staff,
General Sir Charles Guthrie and Home Office Minister, Mr Charles
The Embassy arranged study visits to the UK
for the Minister of Interior and the Minister for Ethnic Affairs
this year. The Minister of Justice also had a short programme
FCO Political Director, Emyr Jones-Parry visited
Estonia in August.
In September there was also a visit by Prime
Minister Tony Blair's political adviser on EU enlargement, Roger
Department for Culture, Media and Sports Minister,
Alan Howarth visited Estonia between 9-11 October.
On October 25-26 the Foreign Minister Toomas
Hendrik Ilves visited the UK and had meetings with the Foreign
Secretary, Robin Cook, Minister of State for the Armed Forces,
John Spellar and the Head of Foreign Affairs Committee, Donald
The delegation from the Estonian Ministry of
Economic Affairs visited the United Kingdom last year and set
up the contacts with its partner institution, the Department of
Trade and Industry. As the Ministry of Economic Affairs is responsible
for the EU negotiation chapters as free movement of goods and
services, consumer protection, energy, industrial policy, SMEs,
the fruitful know-how transfer and co-operation between two countries
and Ministries is important and should continue in the future.
Projects are expected to include:
short-term expert assistance in the
oil-shale restructuring questions;
strengthening the capacity of Energy
British know-how and experience transfer
to Estonian Consumer Protection Board;
increase the dialogue with the Ministry
of Economic Affairs on market surveillance questions;
pre-audit for the Estonian Accreditation
co-operation in the standardisation
areatransposition of CENELEC standards.
Estonia has undergone rapid transformation politically,
economically and socially since independence. Its reform process
has been extremely successful. The UK is keen to support Estonia
in sharing this positive experience and expertise with third countries
external to the accession process. This develops Estonia's foreign
assistance programme and regional role, which the EU is keen for
Estonia to advance. This process is called trilateral co-operation
and some examples of projects are listed below:
UK participation and support for
a conference in Tallinn on administrative law with representatives
from Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova.
Support for trilateral defence related
seminar between the UK, Estonia and Georgia in November 2000.
Support for Ukrainian participation
at a Conference of Privatisation in Tallinn.
Support for a Seminar in Tallinn
on Veterinary and Food Certification Standards with representatives
of Ukraine, Estonia and the UK.
UK support for a study tour from
the Armenian civil service to look at Estonian public administration
Support for Ukrainian participation
at a Conference in Tallinn on the future of the European Union.
UK support for Uzbek, Georgian, Kazakh,
Kyrgyz and Tajik participation in a Health Sector development
conference in Tartu.
Support for a seminar in Tallinn
on Monetary Reform with representatives from the Ukraine, Estonia
and the UK.
The UK is taking an active part in this EU programme,
which aims to build the capacity of the public administration
in applicant countries.
The British Government will:
Increase dialogue with Estonian on
the reform of the oil shale sector in the North East with the
possibility of formal twinning in a later round.
Increase dialogue with the Ministry
of Economy on market surveillance and consumer protection with
the possibility of formal twinning in a later round.
The UK is keen to promote informal contacts
between government officials to provide advice and expertise on
EU related subjects. This can be done via e-mail, phone and fax
after initial contact is made. This process is currently used
by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture and MAFF; the Ministry
of Economy and the DTI and the Ministry of Transport and the DfEE.
It has led to study visits to the UK by Estonian officials from
these three ministries. The Embassy is keen to support study visits
to the UK from the Ministry of Social Affairs following the Minister
Angela Eagle's successful visit.
Study visit for six senior officials
from the Ministry of Interior to the UK in April.
Contacts are being set up between
state aid units of the Estonian Ministry of Finance and DTI.
OTHER EU RELATED
Assistance is provided through the Department
for International Development's Small Grants Scheme (SGS) which
is administered by the Embassy locally. The SGS finances small-scale
projects which also focus on HMG's other priority areas, such
as integration of the Russian-speaking minority, EU accession
and social exclusion.
Support for a visit by the British European
Movement to Estonia to establish links and hold a seminar with
the newly formed Estonian European Movement.
The British Embassy recently provided financial
support to Tartu University's Eurofaculty for library equipment.
The Estonian Parliament faces the challenge
of handling a significant increase in legislation either directly
or indirectly related to the EU. The UK is keen to share its experience
with Estonia and develop closer links between parliamentarians.
Visit by the European Scrutiny Committee
to Estonia in May 1999.
Visit by the Foreign Affairs Committee
to Estonia in July 1999.
Viit by the Estonian-British Parliamentary
Group to London in November 1999.
Visit by Estonian IPU delegation to UK
in January 2000.
Lecture tour by Lord William Wallace
on "The future shape of Europe" in May 2000.
Visit by the Trade and Industry Select
Committee in June 2000.
Visit by the Speaker of the House of
Commons in October 2000.
Visit by the Foreign Affairs Committee
of Riigikogu to the UK in November 2000.