MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE FOREIGN AND
During the 21 November Evidence Session, the
Secretary of State promised to provide the Committee with further
information on the following topics:
As the Prime Minister said in Warsaw in October,
the Government wants to see the new Member States participating
in the European Parliamentary elections in 2004. This is an ambitious,
but realistic, target.
The Committee asked for further information
on the legal position if accession took place at a time that was
less convenient from an EP point of view. There are three possible
1. Joining the EP during a session
None of the enlargement rounds since the first
direct elections in 1979 has coincided with an EP election. In
each case, the new member states initially nominated their EP
members from their national parliaments and held their own individual
direct election as soon as practicable thereafter. The members
elected on those occasions served until the next elections for
the EP as a whole.
2. Taking a seat before accession
There is no precedent for an applicant to take
seats in the European Parliament prior to accession. To do so
would conflict with Article 189 TEC, which provides that the European
Parliament "shall consist of representatives of the peoples
of the States brought together in the Community". It would
also be unprecedented for applicants to participate in elections
to the European parliament prior to accession.
3. Participation in elections before accession
Although there is no precedent for participation
in an EP election prior to accession, it is in theory conceivable
that this could take place, but only if the applicant(s) and all
the existing member states agreed. It is possible that they might
be willing to do so, for example, if a Treaty of Accession had
been signed which provided for accession to take place very shortly
after the elections. In that situation, it might theoretically
be possible for the state(s) concerned to hold "shadow"
elections in June 2004, with the members then elected only taking
their seats after accession, rather than holding a separate election
at a later date. But this is uncharted territory, and it would
clearly be highly desirable for accession to have been completed
before the 2004 elections.
The Secretary of State also promised a note
on the Commission's proposal to provide duty and quota free access
to EU markets for products from least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Nevertheless, we recognise the importance of
the EU's sugar regime to certain sugar producers and refiners.
We agree, therefore, that the EU will need to consider carefully
the potential impact of this proposal, for example, in the Caribbean.
We have already made it clear to the Commission and our EU partners
that their views, and those of other interested parties, must
be taken into account. At this stage it is not possible to predict
when the proposal will be adopted.
Finally, I can confirm that, as the Secretary
of State suggested to the Committee, the UK would not accept direct
taxation becoming part of competence of the Community. At present,
Article 93 applies to indirect taxes alone and is further restricted
to areas "necessary to ensure the establishment and functioning
of the internal market". There is no express competence on
direct taxation, although there is nothing to stop Member States
agreeing Directives unanimously on direct taxes, should they wish
to do so, under Article 84.
MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE FOREIGN AND
1. In March 1999, the Foreign Affairs Committee
concluded their enquiry into European Union enlargement by urging
"to continue to work actively to maintain
and strengthen the commitment of the EU Member States to the enlargement
process and to work jointly with other key countries such as Germany
to provide strategic direction and momentum to the process"
2. The Prime Minister, in his speech in
Warsaw on 6 October, set out the UK approach to enlargement:
"Nobody who considers how the European Union
has underpinned peace and democracy in the reconstruction of post
war western Europe can doubt the benefits that enlargement will
bring to post-cold war Europe and the Balkans.
Nobody who considers the role that open markets
have played in generating wealth and prosperity in the European
Union can doubt the benefits of creating a market of half a billion
Without enlargement Western Europe will always
be faced with the threat of instability, conflict and mass migration
on its borders. Without enlargement the political consensus behind
economic and political reform in the weaker transition countries
Should that happen, we would all lose."
3. This note, the first of a series of six-monthly
progress reports on enlargement covers:
progress in negotiations since the
publication of the Committee's report in March 1999;
a summary of the performance of the
the UK's activities in promoting
the enlargement process; and
4. When the Committee published its report
in March 1999, the EU was negotiating with six countries: Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprusthe
"Luxembourg Six". At that stage negotiations had been
opened on five of the 31 chapters of the "acquis" (the
EU's legislation and practice). By January 2001, 29 chapters had
5. At the Helsinki European Council in December
1999, the EU decided to begin negotiations with a further six
candidate countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Romania
and Bulgariathe "Helsinki Six". Since then, the
EU has opened between nine and 16 chapters with each of them.
The charts at Annex 1 summarise progress.
6. In October 2000, the Commission published
a "Strategy for Enlargement" document which assessed
progress in each of the candidates and proposed a "roadmap"
for the negotiations, dividing the remaining issues and chapters
between the Swedish (Jan-June 2001), Belgian (July-December 2001)
and Spanish Presidencies (Jan-June 2002) with the objective of
concluding negotiations by mid-2002. The Strategy also proposed
that requests from the candidates for transitional periods should
be divided into three categories: acceptable, negotiable and non-negotiable.
And it introduced a new concept of "setting aside" a
limited number of issues for consideration at a later stage, where
doing so would allow a chapter's provisional closure.
7. The General Affairs Council on 4 December
welcomed these recommendations. The Nice European Council then:
reiterated the historic significance
of the enlargement process and the priority which it attaches
to its success;
completed the Intergovernmental Conference
and with it the institutional reforms necessary for enlargement;
agreed the main recommendations of
the Commission's Strategy paper, which provides a framework for
accelerating progress in negotiations with the best prepared countries;
expressed the clear hope that the
new Member States will be able to take part in the next European
agreed that candidates which have
concluded accession negotiations with the Union should be invited
to participate in the next IGC;
agreed to assess progress at Gothenburg
European Council in June 2001.
8. The obligations of membership of the
EU were set out in 1993 in the "Copenhagen Criteria"
(so-called because they were agreed at the Copenhagen European
Council). The relevant passage states:
"Membership requires that the candidate
country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy,
the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of
minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well
as the capacity to cope with competitive pressures and market
forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate's
ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence
to the aims of political, economic and monetary union."
9. The Commission's Progress Reports published
in November 2000 submitted for Scrutiny on 5 December 2000, copy
of the Explanatory Memorandum
An overall improvement in consolidating
democracy, respect for the rule of law and the protection of human
rights. However, some concerns remained, in particular treatment
of minorities, including Roma, trafficking of women and children,
corruption, reform of the judiciary and, in Romania, the state
of childcare institutions.
Improvements in the economies of
the candidates. Malta and Cyprus were judged able to withstand
the competitive pressures of the single market (ie meeting the
Copenhagen economic criteria in full). Poland, Hungary and Estonia
were judged likely to meet them in the short term, provided they
maintained their current reform path. The Czech Republic and Slovenia
were thought also able to meet the criteria in the same timeframe,
provided remaining reforms were completed. However, Latvia, Lithuania
and Slovakia needed to make further progress in order to meet
the criteria in the medium term. The Commission thought that Bulgaria
had made some progress, but that Romania's efforts to meet the
economic criteria had been "too limited".
The need to strengthen existing structures
and create new ones in order to adopt, implement and enforce the
acquis (the body of EU legislation and practice). The reports
acknowledge progress in the candidate countries in adopting the
acquis, but question their capacity to implement and enforce
10. The Commission will issue the next round
of reports in autumn 2001. Meanwhile, there will be opportunities
to review progress. These include regular dialogue in the framework
of the Europe Agreements, the Association Councils and the National
Plans for the Adoption of the Acquis. The monitoring tables
which chart candidates' progress will also be regularly updated.
11. The Helsinki European Council also formally
recognised Turkey as a candidate for EU membership. The European
Council concluded, however, that Turkey needed to make progress
in meeting the Copenhagen political criteria (relating to democracy,
the rule of law, respect for human rights and minorities) before
it would be ready to open negotiations with the EU.
12. The UK has supported the enlargement
process in several ways. First, it has attempted to provide strategic
direction for the negotiations. In speeches by the Foreign Secretary
(in Budapest in July 2000) and the Prime Minister (in Warsaw in
October 2000) the Government has called for a new, problem solving,
approach to negotiations, for a negotiating timetable, for an
acceleration under the Swedish Presidency, and for accession in
time for the first new Member States to participate in the European
Parliamentary elections in 2004. This last point was reflected
in the Nice European Council conclusions. There have been other
Ministerial speeches promoting enlargement (see Annex 2 for details).
13. Second, the Government is working closely
with other Member States to promote enlargement. There is an extensive
programme of bilateral contacts. There have been joint articles
for the press (including the Prime Minister and his Swedish counterpart
in the FT on 20 September 2000) and joint working papers, eg a
UK-Dutch paper on "the Way Ahead for Enlargement". In
2001, there will be joint seminars with Austria and the Netherlands.
And there may be joint visits by Europe Ministers to candidate
14. Third, the UK is involved in over 70
Twinning projects (secondments of civil servants to Departments
and Ministries in candidate countries to assist with public administration
reform and preparation for enlargement). This is the third highest
number of any Member State after France and Germany. The UK is
working in partnership with other Member States on over 40 of
these projects. In addition, the UK has launched seven bilateral
"Action Plans" to bring together the UK's pre-accession
assistance to candidate countries (copies attached at Annex 3)
and expects to launch similar programmes in all candidate countries
by the end of FY 2001-02.
15. In accordance with the Commission's
roadmap, the Swedish Presidency wants, as a minimum, to conclude
negotiations with the Luxembourg Six on nine chapters: on Free
Movement of Goods, Services, Persons and Capital; Company Law;
Culture and Audio Visual; Social Policy and Employment; Environment
and External Relations. They also plan to open all remaining chapters
with as many as possible of the Helsinki Six. Their work programme
is at Annex 4. And
as agreed at Nice, the Gothenburg European Council will "assess
overall progress, in order to give the necessary guidance for
the successful completion of the process."
PROGRESS SO FAR (AS OF 27 NOVEMBER 2000)
|1 Free movement of goods||
|2 Freedom of movement for persons||
|3 Freedom to provide services||no
|4 Free movement of capital||no
|5 Company law||no||no
|6 Competition policy||no
|9 Transport policy||no
|11 Economic and monetary union||yes
|13 Social policy and employment||
|15 Industrial policy||yes
|17 Science and research||yes
|18 Education and training||yes
|19 IT & telcoms||no
|20 Culture and audio-visual policy||no
|21 Regional policy||
|23 Consumers and health protection||yes
|25 Customs union||
|26 External relations||yes
|28 Financial control||
|Total provisionally closed||9
no Chapter open
yes Chapter provisionally closed
PROGRESS SO FAR (AS OF 27 NOVEMBER 2000)
|1 Free movement of goods||yes
|2 Freedom of movement for persons||no
|3 Freedom to provide services||no
|4 Free movement of capital||no
|5 Company law||yes||no
|6 Competition policy||no
|9 Transport policy||no
|11 Economic and monetary union||yes
|13 Social policy and employment||yes
|15 Industrial policy||yes
|17 Science and research||yes
|18 Education and training||yes
|19 IT & telcoms||yes
|20 Culture and audio-visual policy||yes
|21 Regional policy||no
|23 Consumers and health protection||yes
|25 Customs union||yes||no
|26 External relations||yes
|28 Financial control||yes
no Chapter open
yes Chapter provisionally closed
UPDATE ON THE THIRD FAC REPORT, ON EU ENLARGEMENT
OF EU MEMBERSHIP
Ministerial Speeches and Participation in Conferences
The Prime Minister gave a landmark speech on Europe and Enlargement
in Warsaw on 6 October 2000.
On 23 March, Mr John Battle, Minister of State in the FCO,
delivered a keynote speech at the "Europe 21" conference
on EU enlargement on "Enlargement and building co-operation:
a step on the third way", outlining to an audience of business
leaders, diplomats and academics the benefits of EU enlargement.
On 4 May, the Minister for Europe, Keith Vaz, gave a keynote
speech at Chatham House on the need to reform the EU for EU enlargement.
Mr Vaz delivered a speech to the Association for Monetary
Union in Europe on 15 June.
Joyce Quin, Minister of State and Deputy Minister, Ministry
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, delivered a keynote speech
at a Wilton Park conference on EU enlargement in Warsaw on 3-6
On 18 July, Mr Vaz spoke on "Bringing Europe closer
to the citizen" to the Local Government Conference.
On 25 July, the Foreign Secretary gave a keynote speech in
Budapest which moved the enlargement debate forward and committed
Britain to be a "champion of enlargement".
Mr Vaz delivered a speech on "Cultural Diversity in
Europe" on 11 August to open the Minorities for Europe Conference.
Since autumn 1999, the Minister for Europe, Keith Vaz has
visited 18 UK cities, including Leeds, Norwich, Manchester, Liverpool,
Southampton, Edinburgh and Cardiff, as part of the FCO's "Your
Britain, Your Europe" roadshow. Improving public understanding
of the issues connected with EU enlargement was a key objective
of this tour.
On Europe Day, 9 May 2000, the Minister for Europe, Keith
Vaz, opened the doors of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to
the public. Over 7,000 visitors viewed stands from 26 European
countries, including all of the candidate countries.
On 31 March and 1 April 2000 Mr Vaz hosted his Visegrad 4
opposite numbers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and
Slovakia for informal discussions on building relations with Central
Europe and on enlargement at Hanbury Manor. Slovakia will host
a follow up event early next year.
On 29 February, the Secretary of State held talks in London
with the Visegrad 3 Foreign Ministers from the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland on European defence.
On 21 September, the Prime Minister and Swedish Prime Minister
Persson published a joint article "Reaching out to all of
Europe" in the Financial Times.
On 14 February, the Prime Minister and Czech Prime Minister
Zeman published a joint article "A Historic Opportunity for
Europe" in the Financial Times.
This summer's edition of the FCO's EU newsletter, "Your
Britain, Your Europe", focused on enlargement.
In May this year, new EU enlargement pages were added to
the FCO's website (www.fco.gov.uk).
In February this year, the FCO published a new leaflet entitled
"IGC: Reform for Enlargement", which outlined the Government's
position on preparing the EU for enlargement.
The Department of Trade and Industry published a paper entitled
"How might enlargement of the European Union affect the economy
of the United Kingdom" in January.
The FCO publishes a quarterly newsletter on the practical
assistance that the UK is providing to the candidate countries,
through "Twinning" projects to help them prepare for
Participation in Academic Debate
The FCO hosted a seminar with ESRC on 18 January 2000. The
seminar, which focused on EU/CEE/CIS relations, brought together
academics and officials. It was chaired jointly by Nigel Sheinwald,
Director European Union, FCO, and Professor Helen Wallace, University
of Sussex. Professor Wallace is overseeing the ESRC's project
"One Europe or Several?" which is considering the dynamics
of change across Europe.
UK-CZECH ACTION PLAN
The UK is strongly committed to the early accession of the
Czech Republic to the EU and to supporting the Czech Republic
in the associated process of reform. This Action Plan sets out
a range of practical UK initiatives to further these aims over
the next 12 months. It is the result of discussion between the
two Governments and is being launched on the occasion of the visit
of the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, to Prague on 26
Commercial relations between the two countries will be vigorously
developed, on the basis of the principles of transparency and
an open market. Through co-operation between the two countries'
Embassies, two-way trade and investment will be actively encouraged.
The United Kingdom's "Opportunity Czech Republic" campaign,
in which the British Government is co-operating closely with CzechInvest,
is raising awareness of the opportunities for commercial partnership
between British and Czech companies through a programme of events,
including, among others:
an all-British Trade Fair, "Britain means
Business", in Prague on 24-26 October;
12 regional seminars in the UK explaining to UK
companies the opportunities that exist in the Czech Republic;
groups of British companies exhibiting at Trade
Fairs in the Czech Republic during 2000, including EnviBrno and
MSV, and four trade missions in September-December;
regional commercial events in Ostrava, Brno and
Olomouc exploring ways to boost ties between British companies
and companies in Moravia.
The Lord Mayor of London launched a seminar on Public-Private
Partnerships when he visited Prague in May 2000. This will be
followed up through contacts between the British Embassy and British
Invisibleson behalf of the UK Financial Services Industryand
appropriate Czech partners.
As part of the EC Twinning Programme, the British Department
of Trade and Industry, working with Sheffield Hallam University,
are delivering a project to strengthen Czech competitiveness and
so boost the Czech Republic as a venue for foreign investment.
A British Adviser will start work in Prague on this later this
Through the Department of International Development's (DFID's)
Know How Fund, Britain has a long-term programme of support for
the Czech Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). British support
in this sector will continue. The Chairman of the SEC recently
visited London as a guest of the British government to meet British
regulatory bodies, including the FSA, and lay the basis for long-term
co-operation between the two regulators.
A seminar on Corporate Governance is planned for October
2000. This will concentrate on British experience of implementing
the QECD's corporate governance guidelines. A follow-up event,
a year later, will be organised within the framework of Transparency
International's major conference in Prague in October 2001.
Corporate governance was a main theme of the Lord Mayor of
London's visit to Prague in May 2000. He also helped to publicise
the Memorandum of Understanding between the London and Prague
Stock Exchanges, which was signed earlier the same month. This
MOU provides for sharing of information and links between the
exchanges' self-regulatory bodies.
Within the framework of the EC Twinning Programme, a long-term
expert from HM Customs and Excise will work to develop policies
relating to direct taxation. Also, the Czech Finance Ministry
has requested short-term assistance from British regulators in
telecommunications, consumer protection, state financial control
and capital markets. An introductory visit from the British telecoms
regulator Oftel has already taken place.
Also under the Twinning Programme, the UK's National Crime
Squad is working as a partner in a project helping the fight against
The United Kingdom will also explore the scope of helping
the Czech Republic to address the problems of regulating the advanced
and sophisticated financial sector, through the provision of assistance
to the Ministry of Finance and other financial institutions.
David Blunkett and Vladimir Spidla signed a Joint Statement
on Co-operation between the British Department for Education and
Employment (DfEE) and the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social
Affairs (MOLSA) in June 1999.
Under the joint statement, four Czech officials took part
in a study visit earlier this year to look at employment issues
relating to Czech Roma. Two further study visits will take place
later this year.
DfEE has won a Phare-funded twinning project to work with
MOLSA on the development of the Czech National Employment Action
plan and on issues relating to the European Social Fund. The detailed
project covenant is currently being developed, and the 15-month
project should be launched in October 2000. In a separate twinning
project, the Health and Safety Executive will work to develop
best practice in health and safety at work.
The DfID Know How Fund's main activity in the Czech Republic
is a major project with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
This will include a root-and-branch review of the delivery of
social services, introduce standardisation in these services,
and an institutional review of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Affairs. Deputy Prime Minister Spidla's visit to Britain in 1999
and the visit of Angela Eagle from the Department of Social Security
to Prague provided impetus for this work in June 2000, when the
project was officially launched.
Within the framework of the European Commission's Twinning"
Programme, a specialist from the Environment Agency will work
in Prague on a long-term placement designed to prepare the Czech
Republic for implementation of EU water directives.
A significant programme of bilateral assistance complements
this work. Following discussions with the Czech Ministry of the
Environment, a number of projects have been identified and are
currently under preparation. These include assistance to the Czech
Ministry of Environment in preparing for the implementation of
the IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) directive,
developing strategies for investment into environmental infrastructure,
and supporting national and local Agenda 21 initiatives. We are
also pursuing possibilities in the area of solid waste management,
and projects that would complement the current EU twinning project
on EC water directives.
In addition, the British Department for the Environment,
Transport and the Regions (DETR) plans to provide assistance to
the Czech Government on three transport-related projects:
planning a rail connection between Prague airport
and the city centre.
One of the most important tasks in preparing for EU membership
is to build the relevant administrative structures to handle implementation
of the Common Agricultural Policy. To this end, a group of experts
from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic visited
the British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the
Intervention Agency in Newcastle. The visit focused on administration
and intervention methods in dairy production, such as milk quota
agreements. Intensive collaboration between relevant administrative
bodies in the Czech Republic and Great Britain is planned in future,
in particular in respect of the activities of the newly established
State Agricultural Intervention Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture
of the Czech Republic. This fund will take over the functions
of an intervention agency, operating under the rules of the Common
Following the visit of the Lord Chancellor, enhanced co-operation
in these areas is planed. A High Court Judge will come to Prague
for three months to recommend improvements in the functioning
of Commercial Law. The establishment of a British/Czech legal
centre is also planned.
Within the framework of the European Commission's twinning
programme, a specialist from the Forensic Science Service will
work in Prague on a long-term placement, the aim of which is to
establish a DNA database within the Czech police's organised crime
The UK has a long-term programme of assistance and advice
from the Metropolitan Police and other forces, to help the Czech
police in the fight against xenophobia. Britain is also funding
training courses at the Czech National Police Academy for applicants
from ethnic minorities, to help to improve their chances of joining
the Czech police.
Following a successful seminar organised by the Home Office
in October 1999, we are now in the process of drawing up plans
for a follow-up seminar to assist the Czech police in developing
effective relations with the Roma community.
The UK is working closely with the Czech Government Office,
as it establishes the office of the Ombudsman. This assistance
has involved a study tour for the key official tasked with setting
up the office, and training in Britain for officials who will
Much work is being done in the field of minority rights.
A major project is taking place in the city of Pardubice, where
a British Race Equality officer has helped to develop equal opportunities
policy for the city. This will be the first policy of its kind
in the Czech Republic. At the central government level, there
are close ties between the Commission for Racial Equality and
the Czech Government Office, which have been established during
visits in both directions for key officials. Work in developing
employment opportunities for Roma is also on going.
As part of the EC Twinning Programme, a British official
has been seconded to the Czech Ministry of Finance to help them
develop their State Aid system. This project began in October
1999 and will last for two years. The Civil Service College is
active in the Czech Republic, both in delivery of Phare contracts
and in bilateral work. It has been involved in a series of seminars
with the Czech Public Administration Reform team. The British
Council has also contributed fully to the reform of Czech public
administration, notably by hosting a series of public policy debates
on matters of general interest. The theme of these debates in
2000 is "informing the citizen" focusing on freedom
of information and the role of the media, as well as electronic
The Scottish Executive is leading on a complex Twinning Project
aimed at preparing the Czech administration for receiving EU Structural
Funds. Scottish Finance Minister Jack MacConnell visited Prague
to launch this project.
The Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
is exploring with Czech officials ways it might support Czech
local and regional government, in the light of current reforms,
by building UK/Czech relationships at the regional and local level
and exchanging experience and ideas.
From 1999, the budget for the British government's prestigious
"Chevening Scholarships" programme has been increased.
This programme includes the "Chevening European Fellowships"
programme, under which selected Czech government officials are
trained in EU law and practice.
The British Council will maintain its high profile in the
Czech Republic. Its main building in Prague and seven regional
resource centres enable it to promote best practice in English
Language Teaching to assist the continuing improvement of English
language in schools. The Council's long-term programme of cultural
events and exchanges continues to flourish.
Britain took the initiative in beginning bilateral and multilateral
consultations with the Czech Government about the European Strategic
Defence Initiative, recognising that as a new member of NATO and
a prospective member of the EU, the Czech Republic has an important
role in the development of policy in this area.
The defence relationship will continue to develop, in Prague,
London and Brussels. A new level of co-operation will be reached
when a British Military Advisory and Training Team is located
in Vyskov, Moravia, from September. In addition, a British adviser
works with the Chief of the General Staff, and Czech officers
are trained every year in Britain. Czech policemen destined to
work in Kosovo are trained in English by the British Council as
are Czech military personnel from units assigned to NATO, and
for deployment in the Balkans. The Czech Foreign Ministry's European
Correspondent will have a week's work attachment in London in
The two governments also warmly welcome the development of
parliamentary contracts and stand ready to help and facilitate
these where appropriate. The House of Lords Committee for the
European Union has held a seminar in Prague to inform the Czech
Senate's EU Committee about scrutinising EU legislation. The EC
Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons visited Prague in July.
The Czech Senate has invited the House of Lords Committees on
the Economy, Agriculture and Transport to visit Prague. In the
opposite direction, the Czech Lower House's sub-committee on prisons
visited Britain in June.
This Action Plan provides the basis for ongoing cooperation
between the UK and the Czech Republic for years to come. It will
be reviewed and updated regularly with that in mind.
BRITAIN AND ESTONIA IN EUROPE: UK ACTION PLAN
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 European Commission.
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 include:
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
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
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 Audit Office.
UK high level participation in the Estonian conference
on"Effectiveness and Quality in public Administration"
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 Cranfield University.
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 and Tallinn.
Frequent trade missions from the UK in the financial
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
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
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 role.
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 Clark.
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 in London.
FCO Political Director, Emyr Jones-Parry visited Estonia
In September there was also a visit by Prime Minister Tony
Blair's political adviser on EU enlargement, Roger Liddle.
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 Anderson.
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
strengthening the capacity of Energy Market Inspectorate;
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 Centre;
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 reform.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Visit by the Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu
to the UK in November 2000.
UK-HUNGARY ACTION PLAN
1. The United Kingdom is strongly committed to supporting
the further consolidation of Hungary's thriving democracy and
successful free market economy, and in particular to assisting
Hungary's early accession to the European Union. The United Kingdom
also wishes to help ensure that the benefits of Hungary's remarkable
progress are sustainable and spread through all levels of society.
In this spirit the British and Hungarian Governments have endorsed
the following plan of action, which was launched by Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook with Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi in Budapest
on 25 July 2000.
2. Commercial relations between our two countries will
be vigorously developed, on the basis of the principles of transparency
and an open market. Through co-operation between British Trade
International, the Hungarian Investment and Trade Development
Agency (ITD Hungary) and the two countries' Embassies, two-way
trade, investment and tourism will be actively encouraged. The
United Kingdom's "Opportunity Hungary" campaign, in
which the British Government is co-operating closely with ITD
Hungary, is raising awareness of the opportunities for commercial
partnership between British and Hungarian companies inter alia
through a programme of events including:
Trade missions of British companies visiting Hungary
for the first time, arranged by regional Chambers of Commerce
and other trade support organisations;
Groups of British companies exhibiting at trade
fairs in Hungary during 2000, including Industria 2000, Info 2000,
Foodapest, Budatranspack and Autotechnika.
Inward missions of Hungarian companies to the
UKorganised and sponsored by ITDH with the support of the
British Embassy and British Trade International;
A series of British Business Days in regional
Hungarian cities, organised with the British Chamber of Commerce
in Hungary and local Chambers.
3. Market surveillance/consumer protection: The United
Kingdom is supporting Hungary in meeting the requirements of accession
in this area through the provision of a Pre-Accession Adviser
under the EU's institutional Twinning programme.
4. A Conference on the Opportunities and Challenges of
the Single Market will be held in Hungary in early 2001, with
the participation of British and Hungarian practitioners and experts
from both business and the public sector. The conference will
draw on the UK's experience with a view to assisting Hungary,
and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises based in
Hungary, to meet the challenges, particularly that of increased
competition, as well as to take advantage of the opportunities
which will flow from the Single Market. The United Kingdom will
also explore how it might further support the Hungarian Government's
5. The United Kingdom is providing assistance, with Sweden,
through a Phare Twinning Project, to help Hungary's Public Health
Laboratories meet EU standards.
6. The British and Hungarian Governments will work to
implement the Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation to combat
illicit drug trafficking, organised crime, international terrorism,
illegal immigration and other serious crime signed by Home Secretary
Jack Straw and Interior Minister Dr Sandor Pinter on 9 February
2000, and to develop further their co-operation in these areas.
7. To that end the British Government has appointed an
Immigration Liaison Officer and will appoint a Drugs and Crime
Liaison Officer to Budapest later this year.
8. The British Government is supporting Hungary in combating
organised crime under an EU Twinning project, including through
a full-time Pre-Accession Adviser.
9. The British Council and the British Embassy will organise
a Conference on Justice and Home Affairs in Hungary in late 2000.
This will bring together British, Hungarian and other experts
and practitioners, to exchange experiences on the issues of organised
crime, immigration and border controls, with a view to improving
co-operation and assisting Hungary in meeting the challenges of
EU membership in these important areas.
10. The British Government is supporting the launch of
a "Crimestoppers" programme in Hungary, to collect and
process information from members of the public so as to prevent
and detect serious crime, in particular drugs-related crime.
11. Co-operation will be pursued between the Hungarian
National Police and Merseyside Police. The British Government
will continue to support joint projects, focusing primarily on
the gathering, processing and sharing of intelligence.
12. The British Government will further support co-operation
between the legal professions of the two countries, following
up the recent visit of the Rt Hon the Lord Irvine of Lairg, the
Lord Chancellor, to Budapest. Specifically, the UK will support
a series of workshops in Hungary. This will include one in early
2001 with the participation of Lord Slynn of Hadley which will
study the impact of Community law on Hungary's national legal
13. Britain will assist the Ministry of Youth and Sport
in implementing the National Drugs Strategy for Hungary, by providing
UK experts for consultancy and to take part in relevant conferences
and seminars. In order to advance this process the British Drugs
"Czar", Mr Keith Hellawell, will visit Hungary in the
second half of 2000.
14. The British Government is providing technical advice
and support to Hungary in meeting the requirements of EU accession
in the fields of national audit and (with Austria) taxation, under
the auspices of two EU Twinning projects.
15. Financial Regulation: The United Kingdom will explore
the scope for helping Hungary to address the problems of regulating
the advanced and sophisticated financial sector, through the provision
of assistance to the Ministry of Finance and the State Supervisory
Body for Financial Institutions.
16. The British and Hungarian Governments will work to
implement the agreements signed in February 2000 and June 2000
on co-operation in the fields of employment and education respectively,
which cover a range of activities relevant to Hungary's preparations
for EU membership.
17. Through the Know How Fund, the British Government
will provide continuing support to the Ujra Dolgozom project designed
to promote employment, with particular focus on combating long-term
unemployment in those areas and strata of society most affected.
We shall assist the National Employment Fund in rolling out the
18. The United Kingdom, in co-operation with the Ministry
of Education, will support the development of projects aimed at
tackling the difficulties faced by the Roma minority in education.
19. The British Government will:
provide further support through the Know How Fund
for a major project on regional development, designed to assist
central and local government in accessing and making best use
of EU regional development funds;
provide and co-fund an adviser to the Prime Minister's
Office on EU funding issues;
pursue further Know How Fund projects to develop
mechanisms for consultation between government and the non-governmental
advise on the development of a citizens' advice
network in Hungary, building on and intensifying its work on "citizens'
charter" initiatives to help Hungary develop citizen friendly
and accountable services at central and local level.
20. The British Government is providing support, including
a full-time Pre-Accession Adviser, to the Ministry for Agriculture
and Regional Development on preparations to access EU SAPARD funding,
under an EU Twinning project.
21. The British Embassy will organise a Conference on
the Future of European Agriculture in Hungary in autumn 2000,
at which British experts and practitioners will exchange experiences
with their Hungarian counterparts on the operation and future
development of the Common Agricultural Policy in the next few
years, the implications for Hungary's accession and how best to
meet these challenges.
22. The British Government will seek to assist the relevant
Hungarian authorities to build up the capacity and expertise necessary
to access EU environment-related funds (ISPA) and to implement
EU pollution directives.
23. The UK will also explore ways of helping to improve
local environmental standards particularly in areas such as the
Tisza region affected by transboundary pollution.
24. The UK is continuing its support for Hungary's successful
and thriving media. In this context a party of senior media policy-makers
visited the UK in May 2000. In particular the UK:
supported the publication in April 2000 of the
"Visegrad Papers", drawing conclusions from the conferences
on the media held in Visegrad in 1998 and December 1999 and establishing
principles and guidelines for those working in the media;
will support a further media conference in late
2000/early 2001, to develop this work further;
will consider further support through the Know
How Fund for BBC-run courses at the Centre for Independent Journalism
25. The United Kingdom will:
intensify its dialogue with the Hungarian Foreign
Ministry and other appropriate government organs on a wide range
of foreign policy problems of common interest, in the spirit of
the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy;
exchange experiences on the operation of CFSP,
through visits and the appointment of short-term secondees to
each others' ministries;
provide assistance and advice on accession-related
provide training on diplomacy and negotiating
techniques, particularly for EU accession, through the Chevening
Scholarships scheme and other courses.
work with Hungary to sustain and strengthen support
for enlargement in both countries.
26. Through the Chevening Scholarships scheme, the British
Government will continue to provide support to enable bright young
Hungarian professionals and future leaders to pursue their studies
in Britain, particularly in areas relevant to Hungary's EU accession.
27. The British Council will continue to foster personal
contacts and build networks between young Hungarian professionals
and their British and other European counterparts, by ensuring
strong Hungarian participation in the Council's European networking
programmes on European political, social, economic, educational
and cultural issues.
28. The British Council will organise periodic seminars
and conferences in Hungary, with the British Embassy, to strengthen
these networks and foster debate on specific areas of common interest
(starting with the JHA Conference in late 2000item 8 above).
29. This Action Plan provides a basis for ongoing co-operation
between the United Kingdom and Hungary for the years to come.
It will be reviewed and updated regularly with that in mind.
BRITAIN AND SLOVAKIA IN EUROPEACTION PLAN
As a champion of enlargement the UK is strongly committed
to supporting Slovakia's early accession to the European Union
and to helping Slovakia in the associated process of reform. This
Action Plan details UK initiatives to further these aims. The
British Foreign Office has made available £100,000 of additional
money to support new projects in the current financial year. This
bilateral assistance complements the work already being funded
through the EU and the broader support (£3 million) through
the Department for International Development's (DfID) Know How
Following the Lord Chancellor's visit in June, the highly
successful "Twinning Programme" focusing on police training
and DfID Know How fund's projects with the judiciary, the United
Kingdom is keen to extend assistance in these areas. Planned projects
a two-year English language training programme
for police officers, judges, prosecutors and ministry officials;
bilateral assistance to help prepare the Slovak
Republic for handling information covered by Data Protection mandates;
exchange of experts to establish co-operation
in the field of Penal and Civil Law;
provision of documents for the Ministry of Justice's
Centre of Documentation on EU Law;
training of Judges in the area of acquis communitaire;
supporting an English/Slovak legal dictionary
and updating an English/Slovak police dictionary.
Following a successful seminar organised by DfID Know How
Fund in 1999, we are now examining the option of organising a
follow up seminar to assist the Slovak police in developing effective
relations with the Roma community.
As a member of OECD, Slovakia has adopted principles concerning
the operation of publicly traded companies. A key element to improving
economic efficiency is corporate governance as it involves a set
of relationships between a company's management, its board, its
shareholders and its stakeholders. A planned project includes:
introduction of a Code of Best Practice similar
to one already successfully introduced in the Czech Republic.
British consultants working with Slovak counterparts will work
closely with various institutional groups such as the Bankers
Association and the Bratislava Stock Exchange along with auditing
bodies, to help develop and implement this code.
In order to complement the work already being carried out
by the EU, other member states and the KHF, discussions with the
Slovak Ministry of Environment have identified a number of areas
for bilateral assistance. Projects currently under preparation
short-term assistance focusing on international
tendering to comply with the FIDIC Red Book on international engineering
short-term assistance in the area of cost benefit
short-term assistance to assess the environmental
impact of incinerators.
Other assistance currently under discussion includes:
aiding the Slovak Ministry of Environment in preparing
for the implementation of the IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention
Control) directive and supporting national and local Agenda 21
The UK will seek to assist the relevant Slovak authorities
to build up the capacity and expertise necessary to access EU
environment related funds (ISPA). DfID have recently set up a
new environmental capacity building project to aid this process.
The UK will also seek to help the Slovak authorities implement
EU pollution directives.
Commercial relations between the two countries will be vigorously
developed on the basis of the principles of transparency and an
open market. Through co-operation between British Trade International
and the two countries' Embassies, two-way trade and investment
will be actively encouraged. Current projects include:
a British adviser working with the Slovak Ministry
of Finance through a EU funded scheme, advising on Bank Privatisation;
a successful study visit to the UK for senior
officials from the new Slovak State Aids Office. The UK hopes
to continue to offer assistance in this area, possibly in conjunction
with the Austrian led twinning project.
The UK also hopes to offer assistance in the field of energy
The United Kingdom will explore the possibility of helping
the Slovak Republic to address the problems of regulating the
financial sector, through the provision of assistance to the Ministry
of Finance and other financial institutions.
The functioning of the internal market involves a process
of undertakings, cross-border mergers, take-overs and joint ventures.
To guarantee that employees are properly informed and consulted,
it is necessary to set-up European Works Councils, or to create
other suitable consultation procedures. Within the framework of
the European Commission's "Twinning Programme", the
United Kingdom (in co-operation with the Netherlands) will be
working closely with Slovak officials on the development of Social
Dialogue to perform this necessary function.
DfID have been working with Slovakia to help achieve a successful
transition to a pluralist democracy and well-regulated market
economy. The Aid Framework allocation for financial year 2000-01
is £2.8 million. This will rise to £3 million in the
next financial year. Key projects forming part of this bilateral
providing technical advice on public administration,
decentralisation and local government reform;
developing a project to strengthen parliamentary
processes with advice from a team from the House of Commons;
developing projects to address social exclusion
and improve access to justice;
regional development project;
providing assistance to the Anti-Monopoly Office;
exploring potential assistance in the area of
financial regulation in co-operation with EU and World Bank partners;
co-operating with the World Bank on economic and
financial restructuring, through support for a key adviser on
the World Bank team.
From 1999, the budget for the British Government's prestigious
"Chevening Scholarships" programme in Slovakia has been
increased. This programme includes the "Chevening European
Fellowships" programme, under which selected Slovak government
officials are trained in EU law and practice.
The British Council will maintain its high profile in the
Slovak Republic. Its main building in Bratislava and three resource
centres enable it to promote best practice in English Language
Training and assist the continuing improvement of English language
in schools. The Council's long-term programme of cultural events
and exchanges continues to expand.
We are in close contact with the Slovak Government as a prospective
member of NATO and the EU about the European Strategic Defence
Initiative, recognising that Slovakia has an important role in
the development of policy in this area.
The United Kingdom will:
intensify its dialogue with the Slovak Foreign
Ministry and other appropriate governmental bodies on a wide range
of foreign policy problems of common interest, in the spirit of
EU Common Foreign and Security Policy:
exchange experiences on the operation of CFSP
through visits and the appointment of short-term secondees to
each others' ministries;
provide assistance and advice on accession related
matters, including involvement in Wilton Park conferences;
provide training on diplomacy and negotiating
techniques, particularly for EU accession, through FCO training
courses and Chevening Scholarships;
work with Slovakia to develop and sustain support
for enlargement in both countries. This includes a project to
assist the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs develop and implement
a Public Diplomacy Strategy.
Inter-Parliamentary relations continue to develop and will
deepen over the next year. The EC Scrutiny Committee of the House
of Commons visited Slovakia in July and the Intelligence and Security
Committee of the House of Commons is due to visit at the end of
Through the KHF we are supporting reforms to parliamentary
procedures in order to increase the effectiveness of the legislation
The UK is committed to stepping up Ministerial and other
senior contact with Slovakia. So far this year, there have been
The Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook
Minister for Sports, Ms Kate Hoey
Minister of State for Armed Forces, Mr John Spellar
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine
The Lord Mayor of London
His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales
We wish to maintain the momentum generated by these visits
and the frequency of contact as Slovakia moves towards membership
of the EU.
The Action Plan provides a basis for ongoing co-operation
between the United Kingdom and Slovak Republic for the years to
come. It will be reviewed and updated regularly with that in mind.
theRepublic for the years to come. It will be reviewed and updated
regularly with that in mind.
BRITAIN AND SLOVENIA IN EUROPE: UK ACTION PLAN
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BRITAIN AND POLAND IN EUROPE: A UK ACTION PLAN
This Action Plan details UK initiatives to help Poland's
progress towards membership of the European Union. It includes
the activities of British Ministries, the British Embassy in Warsaw,
the British Council and the Know-How Fund. This bilateral assistance
complements aid being channelled through the EU.
The UK has launched a new two-year programme on developing
local government in Poland. It includes a conference on 19 and
20 November involving key figures from the 16 new voivodships;
practical workshops on topics such as finance; a series of local
government roadshows involving UK officials and experts visiting
selected provinces; and a special edition of the British Embassy
magazine giving details of useful contacts in the UK. The programme
will draw on existing work being done by DfID (the Department
for International Development) to strengthen local government
in Poland. It responds to requests received from local government
officials for greater assistance. It will be managed by the British
Embassy, drawing on input from the UK.
The UK plans to produce an E-mail directory of addresses
in UK government departments to enable Polish officials to maintain
direct contact with their UK counterparts. This will be a "one-stop-shop"
service for dealing with issues connected with Poland's EU accession.
Officials in several Polish ministries already have direct e-mail
contact with the UK opposite numbers. The new directory will complement
them with a series of permanent e-mail addresses.
The UK is taking an active part in this EU programme, which
involves secondment of officials from Member States to help prepare
Candidate Countries for EU accession. We are pleased to be working
on four key twinning projects from the 1998 round in the fields
of Structural Funds, Environment, Justice and Home Affairs and
Industrial Restructuring. The UK-led project to help Poland prepare
for the receipt of structural funds is the largest twinning project
so far, involving input from six Member States and a budget of
7 million euro. We have submitted nine proposals for projects
in Poland in the 1999 round, in key sectors such as Human Resources,
Customs, Finance, Justice and Home Affairs, Agriculture, Health
and Safety, Transport and Telecommunications.
The UK is supporting Polish efforts to meet the EU environmental
acquis. A Polish official is currently on a five-month
secondment to the Department of Environment, Transport and the
Regions. A British expert is advising the National Fund for Environmental
Protection on their preparations to receive EU ISPA (transport
and environment) funds. We are participating in projects to reduce
pollution produced by small businesses and to improve the management
of protected areas. We are working with France on a twinning project
providing advice to the Ministry of Environment on waste management.
A project to improve energy efficiency in the housing sector is
also being developed.
The UK is leading a key twinning project in this area, which
aims to improve control of the Eastern border and Poland's capacity
to fight organised crime. A Home Office official is being seconded
to Warsaw, as a Pre-Accession Adviser, to co-ordinate the project
and to advise on the implementation of the EU's JHA acquis.
Following a meeting between Lord Simon and Deputy Prime Minister
Balcerowicz, we have been working with the Polish Government to
develop a competitiveness strategy. Two DTI officials visited
in September to share the British experience of developing and
financing small firms with their Polish counterparts. We stand
ready to offer further co-operation.
We have developed a project in Wroclaw to stimulate the development
of farmers' groups to produce the products needed by retail outlets
DfID are finalising a Rural Development project which will help
local governments create development strategies, apply for external
funds and implement development projects. A Farmers Association
Projectwhich aims to improve the effectiveness of farmer
representation in local governmentis under preparation.
The UK/Poland Agricultural Working Group has maintained a
dialogue between Ministries since 1994. As Poland moves closer
to membership of the EU, this dialogue is moving to a new, more
detailed and practical level.
During his visit to Warsaw on 29 June the Minister for Employment,
Andrew Smith, and his Polish opposite number signed a joint statement
on future bilateral co-operation including assistance in the development
of the Polish National Employment Strategy with the European Social
Fund. DfID and the Embassy's Small Grants Scheme are currently
implementing several projects on reskilling and confidence building
for redundant workers. The Polish British Enterprise Project,
a joint initiative of the British and Polish Governments, supports
job creation in the SME sector in Eastern Poland.
The UK is involved with Poland, France, Germany and Denmark
on a joint project on tobacco policy. The Department of Health
will shortly send an official to Poland to discuss further action.
This will include bringing Polish legislation on tobacco-related
issues in line with EU legislation.
The UK/Poland Power Sector Working Group has made considerable
progress in recent years. Each year the British Embassy in Warsaw,
working with the Department of Trade and Industry, holds an energy
seminar in Warsaw.
DfID will shortly begin a UK project to mitigate the adverse
social effects of industrial restructuring in the coal and steel
sectors on Silesian communities. We are also working with Spain
on a twinning project to provide advice and practical help on
retraining and small firm development.
Well-trained negotiators are crucial to Poland's EU accession.
The UK's EU Integration project has made considerable progress
in providing training in the necessary skills. Some of its activities
will now be transferred to the EU PHARE programme.
The UK continues to contribute bilaterally by providing EU
training to the new generation of Polish diplomats, which included
this year a visit to Brussels in July. We will continue to fund
an accession adviser (Alan Mayhew, formerly a senior Commission
official) to provide accession advice to Poland, as well as organise
secondments of Polish officials to the UK to acquire experience
in EU negotiating methods.
The UK continues to support the Joseph Conrad Scholarship
Scheme, which enables Polish students to study for a Master's
degree, diploma or PhD in the UK. Sixteen students are being supported
wholly by the scheme this year, and at least 10 more part-funded.
We expect to be able to support even more students next year.
This year 10 students participated for the first time in a three-month
specialised Diploma course on European Integration at the University
of Sussex. This was a success and will be repeated next year.
The UK has much experience in handling legislation directly
or indirectly related to the EU, which we are sharing with Polish
parliamentarians. Recent examples include:
Members of the Polish Parliamentary EU integration
sub-committee will visit the UK soon, meet their counterparts
and exchange experience on the role parliaments in EU members
states and in the accession process for candidates.
Members of the Polish Parliamentary Internal Affairs
Committee will visit the UK in October to look at electoral reform.
Ministerial contact between the UK and Poland is being stepped
up. In September alone, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister
for Trade, the Minister of State in the Home Office and the Minister
(Armed Forces) visited Poland. We will maintain the momentum generated
by these visits and the frequency of contact as Poland moves towards
membership of the EU.
Central and North West Europe Department
UNITED KINGDOM/MALTA EUROPE ACTION PLAN
The United Kingdom and Malta have a shared history and a
close relationship. This action plan details initiatives undertaken
by the United Kingdom and Malta to continue their constructive
co-operation and to promote Malta's progress towards membership
of the European Union. It includes the joint activities of both
British and Maltese authorities. This is an evolving document
and will be updated as further joint initiatives currently under
consideration are agreed. This bilateral assistance complements
assistance being channelled through the European Union.
Well trained negotiators are crucial to Malta's EU Accession.
The United Kingdom continues to contribute bilaterally by providing
EU training to Maltese diplomats and public officers. In 1999
this included the running of a specially designed EU negotiating
course for senior Maltese officials (mostly Permanent Secretaries)
from various Ministries within the Maltese Public Service. This
was followed up in 2000 with a course specifically designed for
middle ranking officialsagain from a wide range of government
Ministries. The courses were designed to provide Maltese officials
with the opportunity to acquire relevant experience in EU negotiating
methods. The courses were run at the United Kingdom's Civil Service
The United Kingdom can provide practical advice on how to
achieve effective EU Co-ordination between Government Ministries.
A senior UK official from the European Secretariat of the Cabinet
Office visited Malta in March 2000 to explain the Cabinet Office's
function and EU Co-ordination Structures within Whitehall.
The United Kingdom has offered arrangements for Maltese officials
to maintain direct contact with their UK counterparts on issues
connected with Malta's EU Accession, including an invitation for
a Maltese official to spend time with the CFSP Department of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This visit programme will be
undertaken in July 2000 and is designed to demonstrate how CFSP
works between the member states of the European Union. The visiting
Maltese official will be shown how the UK:
contributes to CFSP working groups, political
committees and General Affairs Councils;
uses the Coreu network telegrams;
contributes to the formation of Joint Actions
and Common Positions;
engages in political dialogue with third countries
integrates CFSP into the policy work of the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office and within other Government Departments;
co-ordinates the implementation of negative measures
arranges for parliamentary scrutiny of CFSP instruments;
expresses its foreign policy views in the European
A bilateral meeting to address Export Control measures was
held in Malta on 29/30 March 2000. The meeting focused on implementation
of the EU aquis in areas of free movement of goods, co-ordination
of sanctions and implementation of dual use regimes covering areas
of legislation, enforcement and technical equipment. A bilateral
agreement on customs co-operation was signed in on 27 June while
other visits by UK technical experts will follow in July 2000.
The Chairman of the British Safety Council visited Malta
in May 2000 to address a seminar focusing on Health and Safety
issues. The British Safety Council and the Health and Safety Executive
are now working closely with the Maltese Department of Social
Policy and the Occupational Health and Safety Unit on the provision
of advice on Malta's implementation of the acquis.
The United Kingdom's Government Actuary visited Malta in
January and April 2000 to promote collaboration on pension reform
and insurance regulation.
In January 2000 the British High Commission in Malta arranged
a programme of visits in the United Kingdom for the leadership
of the General Workers Union. The aim of the visit was to strengthen
ties between British and Maltese trade unions, to discuss the
implications of EU membership and to provide practical advice
on implementation of EU directives. Plans are in hand for a similar
visit by representatives of the Confederation of Maltese Trade
Unions in July 2000.
In June/July 2000 the Occupational Psychologist from Malta's
Employment and Training Corporation completed a three-week training
placement with the UK's Occupational Psychology Division of the
Department of Education and Employment. The placement provided
the opportunity to learn advanced guidance and counselling skills
and how to implement the acquis.
In June 2000 the Head of the European and International Unit
of the UK Home Office visited Malta to establish closer links
with Maltese officials responsible for JHA issues and to identify
areas of possible future co-operation. In addition, Britain and
Malta are considering the possibility of a bilateral agreement
on combating drugs and international crime.
The Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies in the UK
will run a course between 16-29 July 2000 on Justice and Home
Affairs and preparing for membership of the EU. Two Maltese officials
Our respective Ministers of Agriculture have confirmed their
intention of establishing closer co-operation between the two
Ministries at senior level. The Head of European Union and International
Policy Group in the British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food visited Malta in May 2000. The visit provided a solid
basis on which to build future relations. Britain has agreed to
provide the Maltese Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with
assistance in the drafting of a Maltese Rural Development Programme.
This will be followed up by a visit of a UK expert to Malta. In
addition, the United Kingdom has offered to host a study visit
for Maltese officials on handling the European Union and Brussels
Close Ministerial contact across government between the United
Kingdom and Malta is increasingly important to both countries.
The British Minister of State for Europe, Mr Keith Vaz visited
Malta in July 2000. We will work to maintain this momentum as
Malta moves towards EU membership.
The Personal Assistant to the Prime Minister and Chairman
of Malta's EU Negotiating Team, visited London in January 2000.
Meetings were held with the British Minister of State for Europe,
and numerous officials dealing with the European Union at the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other Ministries.
MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH
1. Have any of the applicant countries signified objections
to any of the decisions taken at Nice? What have those objections
The agreement on institutional reform at nice has enabled
enlargement to proceed. All the applicants have welcomed this.
However, Malta has expressed disappointment with its allocation
of Council votes and European Parliament seats (three and four
respectively), compared with Luxembourg (four votes and six seats).
The Czech Republic and Hungary have both expressed some disappointment
that they were allocated two fewer European parliament seats than
Belgium, Greece and Portugal.
2. The Czech Republic and Hungry have been allocated two
fewer seats in the European Parliament than Belgium, Greece and
Portugal. Given that all these countries have populations of around
10 million, how can this be justified? What prospect is there
that this will be changed, and is HMG taking any initiative in
The negotiations on future numbers of seats in the EP were
lengthy, difficult and hard fought. A compromise had to be struck
between individual states' allocations and the need to limit the
overall size of the European Parliament. And the final numbers
were part of an overall package, which included the allocation
of Council votes.
The figures for the applicant countries are contained in
a Declaration annexed to the Treaty and do not therefore have
legal force. They do, however, represent a political commitment
and, as such, will be a guide for the accession negotiations.
Any applicant country that feels it has been unfairly treated
is free to raise the matter during these negotiations.
3. It is the case that Spain's successful campaign to
maintain unanimity on the allocation of structural and cohesion
funds until 2007 will mean that the net contributors to the EU's
budget, such as the UK and Sweden, will be forced to increase
their contributions to pay for enlargement? If so can HMG estimate
what this increase will be?
The UK's net contribution is unlikely to be affected, before
2007, by the decision to maintain unanimity on the allocation
of structural and cohesion funds.
The EU's structural fund programme for 2000-06 was agreed
at the Berlin European Council in March 1999. Berlin also agreed
annual limits on structural fund spending in the new Member States.
Actual spending in the new Member States over this period will
depend upon the eventual terms of accession and the absorptive
capacity of the new Member States. Spending after 2006 will be
determined by the next round of structural fund and financial
perspective negotiations, which are expected to begin in 2005:
decisions require unanimity. There are currently a significant
number of net contributors to the EC budget, including France,
Germany, The Netherlands and Austria, as well as the UK and Sweden.
4. Is it the case that, under the Nice Treaty, it will
be easier to block measures in the Council? How does this help
the EU prepare for enlargement?
The Government does not believe that it has been made easier
to block legislation under new QMV voting rules. The deal on QMV
and reweighting, although complex, provides a fairer system for
the large member states, fulfils UK objectives, and improved the
democratic legitimacy of Council decision-making. The percentage
of votes in the Council required to pass a measure under QMV will
remain close to current levels. But the percentage thresholds
are based on the number of Member States required to form a blocking
minority, not on the absolute percentages. The number of Member
States necessary for a blocking minority in an EU of up to 27
will rise to three large Member States and one small (except Malta,
in which case two small Member States will be necessary).
Without the reweighting agreed at Nice, it would have been
possible in an EU of 27 Member States for countries with a minority
of the EU's population to outvote the majority.
Two other elements added to the voting system at Nice are
a requirement that at least half of the Member States should support
a proposal before it is passed, and that (if any Member State
so requests) a Qualified Majority must represent at least 62 per
cent of the EU's population. These measures are not designed to
make it easier to block legislation but to preserve democratic
legitimacy and to ensure a reasonable balance of power between
larger and smaller Member States. But the population criterion
does have the effect of allowing Germany plus two other large
Members States (from UK, France or Italy) to block a proposal.
5. Does HMG expect Sweden to be in a position to propose
a definite timetable for the membership of the first group of
applicant states at the Goteborg Council?
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Presson has said "It could
be that the Goteborg summit will result in target dates. But we
are far from sure. I do not want to set this as a target of the
Swedish Presidency." The UK government's position is that
we believe the time is approaching when the EU could concentrate
minds by setting a target date for the conclusion of negotiations
with those countries ready for membership. Whether Goteborg will
be the right time to do this depends to a large extent on the
progress made in negotiations between now and then.
6. How is it envisaged that citizens in applicant countries
will participate in the next elections for the European Parliament?
The Nice European Council conclusions express the hope that
the first new Member States will take part in the next European
Parliament elections. In previous enlargements new Member States
joining between elections have first nominated members of the
European Parliament, then arranged direct elections for MEPs to
serve until the next EU-wide elections. Exact arrangement for
the current applicants will be determined in the final stages
7. Sweden has announced that it has the "objective
. . . to pave the way for a political breakthrough [on enlargement]".
What progress does HMG believe that Sweden has so far made towards
such a breakthrough? What assistance has HMG given to this process?
Sweden has set out a number of aims for progress on enlargement
during their Presidency. They intend to meet the Commission's
road map by:
(i) opening as many chapters as possible with those applicants
that began negotiations in 2000;
(ii) provisionally closing the nine scheduled chapters
(Free Movement of Goods/People/Services/Capital, Company Law,
Environment, External Relations, Culture and Audiovisual, Social
and Employment) with all candidates who are ready to do so.
In addition, the Presidency aims to "beat" the
road map by closing additional chapters and beginning the preparatory
work for some of the more difficult chapters scheduled for the
Belgian Presidency such as Phyto-sanitary and Veterinary. It is
still too soon to say if the Presidency will meet these aims.
But we shall continue to support them. In particular, we will
provide practical support to applicants through initiatives such
as our bilateral Action Plans and our participation in the Commission's
8. What prior discussions did Germany have with other
Member States before proposing a seven year transition period
so far as full freedom of movement is concerned? What is HMG's
attitude towards this proposal?
We have discussed the general issue of free movement of people
with Germany several times. Chancellor Schroeder's speech of 18
December set out publicly their proposal for a seven year transition
period, which reflects specific German concerns, and on which
there has yet been no collective discussion. The UK will not take
a considered position until the Germany government has presented
the proposal in the negotiations in Brussels. The Commission will
produce discussion paper in early March suggesting options for
handling free movement of workers. Our general view is that, where
transition periods are necessary, they should be a limited in
scope and time as possible.
9. The programme for the Swedish Presidency states that
"it is essential that enlargement enjoys broad support in
the Union". Is it HMG's assessment that this broad support
within the Union is increasing or diminishing? How concerned is
HMG by evidence of diminishing support for enlargement in some
candidate countries, such as Poland?
It is difficult to assess support for enlargement within
the EU as a whole. There have been few opinion polls that both
canvas opinion across the EU and elicit views on enlargement as
a whole, rather than on the accession of one country in particular.
Eurobarometer have recently added to their regular opinion polls
a question asking whether or not respondents are for or against
the proposal that "the European Union should be enlarged
and include new countries". The results of their first poll
including this question for the EU as a whole show 44 per cent
in favour of enlargement and 35 per cent against, with 21 per
cent saying that they don't know. The breakdown of results by
country appears to show an increase in support in some countries
and a decrease in others, although the figures are not directly
comparable. Declining support in some candidate countries may
be an inevitable consequence of difficult but necessary reform
required for alignment with the acquis. However, in all countries
now in negotiations the percentage in support of enlargement remains
higher than those opposed.
10. Is it feasible that the first group of states to enter
the Union might exclude Poland?
The Prime Minister said in Warsaw last October that we want
Poland, and as many others as are ready, in the European Union
as soon as its possible. But he also said there are no guaranteed
places. This remains the British government's position.
11. In the light of the annexes to the Nice Treaty relating
to the European Security and Defence Policy, does HMG consider
that the EU, once it has decided to take military action, will
(i) have discretion, or (ii) be under a binding Treaty obligation,
to consult with NATO before engaging?
The Presidency Report to the Nice European Council on European
Security represents a commitment by the European Union at the
highest level to consult with NATO at all times, and to intensify
that consultation in times of crises. The objective of the consultation
will be to determine the most appropriate response to a crisis.
The EU will only decide to act where NATO as a while is not engaged
and following consultation with NATO.
The Report is not annexed to the Treaty of Nice and does
not create legal obligations.
12. The Prime Minister said on 11 December 2000 that "In
circumstances where NATO decided that it does not want to be involved
. . . then the European Union actsbut not with a military
strategic commitment outside NATO". Does this mean that NATO
will always have the right of first refusal in respect of any
proposed military action?
The EU and NATO are agreed that the EU will act in military
crisis management only "where NATO as a whole is not engaged".
In practice, there would be intensive consultation among the governments
concerned, bilaterally, within NATO and the EU, and between the
two institutions. This Government is clear that NATO remains our
instrument of choice for management of crises where European security
interests are involved. When the United States and Canada are
prepared to engage directly alongside the European Allies we would
want and expect it to be through NATO. If, in an emerging crisis,
it became clear that NATO as a whole was not going to engage militarily,
the option would be there for EU nations to decide to launch and
conduct an EU-led operation which would, in many cases, have recourse
to NATO assets. In practice this means that the EU will act only
once NATO has decided not to do so.
13. What progress has been made in putting in place "the
necessary arrangements" between NATO and the EU to which
the Prime Minister referred to in his 11 December statement? What
proposals are there for future joint meetings of the European
Council and North Atlantic Council?
NATO and the EU have reached agreement on the elements of
the permanent consultation arrangements, including, during each
EU Presidency, at least one EU/NATO Ministerial meeting and at
least three meetings between the EU's Political and Security Committee
(PSC) and the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The PSC and NAC had
their first joint meeting on 5 February.
NATO is pursuing detailed work on the arrangements for "Berlin
Plus"the arrangements to enable the EU to have access
to NATO operational planning, assets and capabilitiesand
NATO and the EU are together negotiating permanent security arrangements
(building on the interim agreement reached last Summer), and capability
review mechanism to ensure that capability developments in the
EU and NATO are handled coherently.
14. What was the outcome of the Foreign Secretary's discussions
with the new US Administration on developments in the European
Security and Defence Policy?
The Foreign Secretary briefed the Vice-president, Secretary
of State and National Security Adviser in detail on the European
Defence initiative and its emphasis on improved capabilities and
on the essential role of NATO. The US Secretary of State noted
in subsequent public comments that the Administration had a "very
good understanding of what the European security and defence initiative
was about" and that he and the Foreign Secretary shared a
"common belief that it will strengthen NATO". We are
continuing to work closely with the US on European Defence, bilaterally
and in NATO. President Bush welcomed the European Security and
Defence Policy on the basis agreed by the EU at the recent Nice
15. What is Turkey's current view on the enhancement of
the EU's military capability, and on the availability of NATO
assets to the EU? Does Turkey have a right of veto over the use
of NATO assets? To what extent have linkages been made with Turkey's
membership of the Union or Cyprus?
At NATO's Washington Summit, all NATO Allies, including Turkey,
welcomed ESDP and committed NATO to supporting it. The detailed
arrangements for this support are being worked out in NATO and
with the EU. Turkey continues to have concerns about aspects of
these arrangements, which are being addressed in NATO. Provision
of NATO assets and capabilities for use in an EU-led operation
would require a specific NAC decision, which would be by consensus;
so each Ally would have a veto.
The EU has made no linkages between European Defence and
the two issues of Cyprus and Turkey's EU accession course. The
Helsinki European Council in December 1999 set out the terms of
Turkey's EU candidacy. The UK continues to support the approach
set out there.
16. How does HMG intend there should be parliamentary
oversight of the new arrangements?
The Presidency report on ESDP makes clear that decisions
to deploy forces in EU-led operations are sovereign ones for the
member states concerned. The Government will be accountable to
Parliament for decisions to deploy UK forces to EU-led operations.
The Treaty on the European Union provides for the European Parliament
to be consulted on the main aspects and basic choices of the EU's
Common Foreign and Security Policy. But the European Parliament
will have no role in decisions on military deployments which remain
for the Member States and national parliaments concerned. In his
speech in Warsaw on 6 October, the Prime Minister suggested consideration
of a Second Chamber of the European Parliament, composed of representatives
from national parliament, which could play a role in democratic
oversight of CFSP at a European level.
17. Upon whom does HMG believe responsibility should lie
for drawing up the agenda for the 2004 IGC? Who should be in charge
of producing draft texts for the 2004 Treaty Change? Is there
pressure for the establishment of a Convention such as the Convention
which drew up the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and what is HMG's
attitude towards the use of such a Convention?
A Declaration attached to the Treaty of Nice sets out four
areas to be addressed by the next IGC. But it also states that
there should be a "deeper and wider debate about the future
of the European Union" and that that debate should include
national parliaments, civil society stakeholder and, most importantly,
public opinion. The Government believe that that debate in Britain
and Europe should be as wide ranging and inclusive as possible.
Only then, when governments have taken note of views expressed,
should the agenda for the 2004 IGC be set.
No decisions have yet been taken on the process to prepare
the IGC, following the period of public consultation. The Convention
model is one of many possibilities. We do not believe that it
is necessarily the best model. But the Government will discuss
the possibilities with partners in the coming months.
18. What support has been expressed by other Member States
for the Prime Minister's proposal for a second chamber of the
European Parliament formed of national parliamentarians?
The Prime Minister made a number of illustrative proposals
in Warsaw for a more efficient and democratically accountable
European Union. The suggestion of a possible Second Chamber has
been greeted with interest by many in the EU and applicant countries.
But there has been no formal discussion. The involvement of national
parliaments is one of the four issues set out by Nice for discussion
at the next IGC. As said in a previous answer, that IGC must be
preceded by wide consultation, with national parliaments themselves
as well as with the public.
19. How is it proposed that applicant countries which
have not by then become Member States will be involved in the
The Declaration on the Future of the Union, attached to the
Nice Treaty, lays down that those countries that have concluded
accession negotiations will be invited to participate in the next
IGC. Those applicant countries that have not concluded negotiations
will be invited as observers. We intend that the public consultation
exercise should be extended to applicant countries so that all
the applicants whether or not they have signed agreements will
be able to contribute the views of their people, parliaments and
civil society into the IGC debate.
20. What is HMG's view on proposals for a "constitution"
on the European Union"?
The Prime Minister set out our view on a constitution for
the EU in his speech in Warsaw on 6 October 2000. He said: "I
suspect that, given the sheer ferocity and complexity of the EU,
its constitution, like the British constitution, will continue
to be found in a number of different treaties, laws and precedents".
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