Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex 3


  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 UK—organised 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 SME Strategy.

  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 system.

  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 project nationally.

  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 sector;

    —  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 in Budapest.


  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 matters;

    —  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 2000—item 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.

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