BRITAIN AND SLOVAKIA IN EUROPEACTION
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 Fund.
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 include:
a two-year English language training
programme for police officers, judges, prosecutors and ministry
bilateral assistance to help prepare
the Slovak Republic for handling information covered by Data Protection
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
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
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
short-term assistance in the area
of cost benefit analysis;
short-term assistance to assess the
environmental impact of incinerators.
Other assistance currently under discussion
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 initiatives.
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
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 market regulation.
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 programme are:
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
developing projects to address social
exclusion and improve access to justice;
regional development project;
providing assistance to the Anti-Monopoly
exploring potential assistance in
the area of financial regulation in co-operation with EU and World
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
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 November.
Through the KHF we are supporting reforms to
parliamentary procedures in order to increase the effectiveness
of the legislation process.
The UK is committed to stepping up Ministerial
and other senior contact with Slovakia. So far this year, there
have been visits from:
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
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.