BRITAIN AND SLOVENIA IN EUROPE: UK ACTION
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
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
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
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
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