Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office on Bilateral Action Plans for EU Applicant
Foreign and Defence/Security Policy/MFA
When Latvia becomes a member of the EU it will
be required to take on the full obligations of membership, including
the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The UK helps
the Latvian Government keep abreast of developments in the CFSP
through a variety of means:
FCO funded visits for Latvian officials
and politicians to Wilton Park conferences;
secondments of MFA officials to the
regular dialogue at senior official
level (eg PUS/State Secretary and Political Director).
To help Latvia with its EU accession process:
the FCO has funded training in PR
and Negotiating Skills for key Latvian officials;
the FCO has also hosted one visit
to the UK by the Latvian Chief EU Negotiator; a second visit is
the British Council is providing
training in advanced English language skills for MFA officials,
focusing on EU accession needs.
Through the Embassy's defence section, co-operation
continues in the area of Security and Defence. This mainly relates
to Latvia's NATO membership bid, but also includes discussion
of the European defence initiative, eg in 2000 bilateral pol/mil
talks and the talk given by the Political Director at LATO.
Education and Culture
In January 2001 the Ministry of Education and
Science renewed its agreement with the British Council for a further
three years on the Professional Development Programme for English
language teachers in Latvia; approximately 1,000 teachers a year
benefit from the training. This, together with the complete revision
of the final school leaving examination in all subjects including
English that was funded and managed by the British Council from
1996-99, has resulted in a considerable increase in the effectiveness
of teachers. The British Council is now funding a project to use
this expertise to improve the teaching of Latvian for those seeking
citizenship. The British Council also funds a major project to
increase the number of English teachers by retraining teachers
of other subjects and working with the Ministry of Education and
Science to certify them to teach in schools.
The British Council will maintain its high profile
in Latvia, fostering personal contacts and building networks between
young Latvian professionals and officials and their British and
other European counterparts. The Council's central office in Riga
and its six regional information centres will continue to provide
strong support to the development of the educational system throughout
Latvia. The Council's cultural and arts programme, including exchanges
between Britain and Latvia, continues to flourish.
Scholarships/Other UK training
The FCO continues to provide funds for the prestigious
"Chevening Scholarships" programme, including the "Sussex-Chevening"
scholarships at Sussex University and the "London SSEES-Chevening"
at London University. Through these schemes the FCO, sometimes
in partnership with other British sponsors, enables bright young
Latvian professionals and officials to pursue post-graduate studies
in Britain, particularly in areas relevant to Latvia's EU accession.
The British Council funds an annual conference
("The European Series") bringing together young officials
from EU applicant and Member States to discuss the present and
future of Europe. Several Latvians have taken part.
The British Council funds lawyers from the Baltic
region, including Latvia, to undertake legal training in Scotland
(the annual Cameron law scholarships).
Ministerial and VIP contacts
Recent Ministerial visits have included:
the British Minister for Trade, Brian
Wilson, visited Riga and Ventspils in 1999;
the British Minister for Social Security,
Ms Angela Eagle, visited Riga in December 1999;
the Latvian Foreign Minister, Mr Indulis
Berzins, visited London in January 2000;
the British Minister for the Armed Forces,
Mr John Spellar, visited Riga in February 2000;
the Latvian Defence Minister, Mr Girts
Valdis Kristovskis, visited the UK in July 2000;
the British Minister for Europe, Mr Keith
Vaz, visited Riga in November 2000;
the British Minister for the Arts, Mr
Alan Howarth, visited Latvia in November 2000;
the President of Latvia, Mrs Vaira Vike-Freiberga,
visited the UK in October 2000.
Britain and Latvia will continue to promote
further high-level visits in both directions as Latvia moves towards
This Action Plan provides a basis for on-going
British support for Latvia's EU accession process. It will be
reviewed and updated regularly.
5 March 2001
EU ACCESSION ACTION
The UK is firmly committed to Bulgaria's accession
to the EU as soon as possible and strongly supports the associated
process of reform. Britain looks forward to the day when Bulgaria
takes its place alongside other members of the Union. This Action
Plan sets out a range of practical UK initiatives to further these
shared goals over the next year. It has been drawn up in conjunction
with the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It brings together
the work of the UK Government as a whole. The plan was launched
by the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and the Bulgarian
Foreign Minister Mrs Mihailova, in London on 6 March 2001.
The UK already supports Bulgaria's progress
towards EU accession through its contribution to the EU's policy
instruments including Phare, SAPARD and ISPA. This Action Plan
is designed to complement the Accession Partnership (December
1999) and the Bulgarian National Programme for the Adoption of
UK Political Support for Enlargement
The United Kingdom strongly supports the enlargement
of the European Union, which it believes is the biggest and most
important challenge facing the EU over the next five years. This
will allow our continent to be re-united, after the long decades
of artificial division imposed by the Soviet Union. It will thus
be an enormous contribution to the stability, security and prosperity
of Europe as a whole. Enlarging the Single Market to include over
500 million consumers will provide new opportunities to businesses
throughout Europe; and increase the choices open to consumers.
Tackling trans-border issues such as crime and environmental population
together is the only way to achieve success: EU Enlargement will
allow us to do this much more effectively. For the United Kingdom.
The enlargement of the European Union is not
a luxuryit is essential, if we are to make real the dreams
of those who believed in a united Europe emerging from the rubble
of the Second World War.
Bulgaria is making good progress towards a dynamic
market economy. Macroeconomic stability has been maintained through
the implementation of sound monetary and fiscal policies under
the Currency Board. Against this positive backdrop, the UK Government
is ready to contribute in the following areas:
Trade and Investment
Commercial relations between the two countries
will be vigorously developed, on the basis of transparency and
open markets. Two-way trade and investment will be actively encouraged
through a programme of events, including:
Regional seminars in the UK with
Chambers of Commerce, Business Links etc. explaining the opportunities
which exist in Bulgaria.
Groups of British companies exhibiting
at Trade Fairs in Bulgaria, eg during AGRA and Plovdiv International
Five British trade missions between
April 2001 and March 2002.
Regional commercial events throughout
Bulgaria exploring ways to boost ties between British and Bulgaria.
A visit to Bulgaria by representatives
of a British Development Agency to share experience on attracting
high-quality inward investment.
Continuation of projects on Consumer
Protection and helping the SME sector.
ISPA200 m. Euro is earmarked
for Bulgaria annually under ISPA, equally divided between major
infrastructure projects in Transport and the Environment. The
UK-led Twinning project, designed to ensure that as many Bulgarian
projects submitted for ISPA funding are successful as possible,
has just been extended until the end of 2001.
The UK will fund a Regional Policy
Roadshow to visit towns across Bulgaria to explain to local government,
local businesses and the wider community how EU Regional Policy
works and how to access the substantial funds available.
State AidsThe UK is providing
a Pre-Accession Adviser on the management of State Aids. This
issue is critical to the functioning of the Single Market. The
twinning project will bring Bulgaria fully in line with EU policy.
AuditA UK Pre-Accession Adviser
will go to Bulgaria later this year to help with the development
of the Bulgarian National Audit Office. This project will provide
Bulgaria with an independent and professional external audit institution,
capable of giving Parliament, the Government and the EU reliable
and high quality information on the effective use of public funds.
The UK has regular high level exchanges with
Bulgaria as a prospective member of the EU and NATO on CFSP issues.
The UK will intensify this dialogue and exchange experiences.
We welcome Bulgaria's contribution to the work of the Stability
Pact and to the "Europeanisation" of the region, where
the UK will continue it's active programme of activities.
Justice and Home Affairs
The Bulgarian Government is determined to address
public concern about crime, to support the strengthening of the
judiciary and to tackle the problem of corruption at all levels
in society. The UK Government proposes to contribute through:
The appointment of a senior UK advisor
to the Minister of Interior for two years.
Increased contacts between the British
and Bulgarian judiciary through a programme of seminars and reciprocal
Co-operation between the UK Serious
Crime Squad and the Bulgarian Investigation Service, initially
through reciprocal visits.
Continuing co-operation in the police
sector, helping the Bulgarian Police to implement a nationwide
system of community policing drawing on the experience of the
long-running Know How Fund project in Plovdiv.
Practical implementation of the Readmission
Agreement, which will be signed later this year between the UK
Following the successful visit of the UK Anti
Drugs Co-ordinator, Mr Keith Hellawell, the UK has increased its
co-operation with Bulgaria in the fight against drug trafficking
and organised crime. Building on the successes which Bulgaria
has achieved in the last two years, the UK will:
Provide a UK expert for two years
under the EU Twinning Programme, to help Bulgaria develop a co-ordinated
approach to combating drugs, from collecting intelligence through
to fighting drug abuse.
Continue the close operational co-operation
between the Drugs Liaison Officer and Bulgarian counterparts leading
to even more seizures of heroin.
The UK will fund a high-level Wilton Park/European
Institute Conference in Sofia in March 2002 focussing on EU Enlargement
and South Eastern Europe.
The European Commission has already judged that
Bulgaria meets the Copenhagen political criteria. Britain is keen
to help the Bulgarian government in its efforts to make further
concrete progress in implementing the Roma Framework Programme;
and to establish institutions which will work to maximise the
opportunities available to the Roma community and to tackle the
difficulties faced by Roma in every area of life. Projects include:
Seminars on how minorities are portrayed
in the Media (to avoid stereo-typing, and encourage positive role
Study visits to the UK to see different
approaches to the protection of minority rights, with the emphasis
on integration through education.
Integrated pre-school classes for
Bulgarian and Roma children to increase social integration and
access to mainstream education.
Continuing co-operation with the
UK Commission for Racial Equality.
Development of employment opportunities
for ethnic minorities.
The British Government will continue to support
the Bulgarian government in implementing its new child care policy,
based on the new Children's Act. Working in close co-ordination
with other donors, in particular the EU and World Bank, the UK
Provide an advisor on child welfare
issues to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
Take forward the joint project at
the Children's home in Gomotartsi, designed to develop better
systems for the care of children in institutions.
Fund a project managed by the Save
the Children Fund to identify alternatives to institutional care.
The UK supports the Bulgarian government, both
local and central, in its commitment to creating a public administration
capable of preparing Bulgaria to meet the obligations of EU membership.
Areas of co-operation include:
Developing a system of performance
appraisal, pay and grading in the Ministry of Labour and Social
Policy which could serve as a model throughout the Civil Service.
Identifying ways to encourage open
government. This will include the establishment of One-Stop shops
to provide businesses and citizens with advice on government services,
and launching workshops to develop a process of public consultation
on legislation designed to make it more transparent and effective.
Consolidation of projects with the
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to enhance the skills base
of the Ministry and its agencies. The aim is to develop policy
and deliver social services appropriate to a market economy.
Establishment of a network of pilot
Citizens Advice and Information Centres to improve access to information,
advice and advocacy.
Seminars on topics of relevance eg,
Standards in Public Life, Project management, tax credits.
Environment and Agriculture
Bulgaria is blessed with large tracts of beautiful
and unspoilt countryside. But it faces the major task of bringing
its environmental protection practice up to EU standards. The
UK will work with the Bulgarian government to achieve their goal
of mutually reinforcing agricultural and environmental policies
which are EU compliant:
Leading for a second year, a twinning
project which assists the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture in
administrative reform and legislative alignment in the area of
agriculture and fisheries. This includes provision of a UK Pre-Accession
Adviser. A number of short term experts and study visits to the
Assisting the Bulgarian Government
for a second year in a twinning project to update their pesticide
registration and testing facilities.
Strengthening capacity for environmental
project development work thus enabling Bulgaria to access EU Structural
Piloting a Waste Management system
in two economically deprived areas of Bulgaria, to establish a
model for environmentally sustainable Waste Management Services.
This could subsequently be provided nationwide, in accordance
with Bulgaria's legal and policy framework.
Promoting the development of environmental
education and CITES projects.
Working with the Bulgarian authorities
to ensure the safe decommissioning of Kozlodoui Units onefour,
including a UK bilateral commitment of 1.5 million Euro to the
EBRD Decommissioning Fund.
Funding study visits eg to help establish
an organic foods standards certification agency, and to improve
Looking for future environmental
Education and Culture
The UK and Bulgaria signed an agreement on Education
and Culture in 2001 to continue the long term programme of cultural
events and exchanges between both countries.
The British Council will maintain its high profile
in Bulgaria. Its move to new premises will enable it to promote
best practice in English Language Teaching to assist the continuing
improvement of English language in schools. The Council also operates
the well known "European Young Lawyers Scheme".
The "Chevening Scholarships" programme
is well regarded in Bulgaria. We will continue to use the funds
available to target priority areas for Bulgaria in terms of EU
accession, in particular by offering two scholarships per year
to attend the University of Sussex DICES course.
The Wider Picture
The Bulgarian Parliament faces the challenge
of handling a significant amount of legislation in order to make
its laws EU compliant. It will also need to develop its own approach
to scrutinising EU business. The UK is keen to share its experience
with Bulgaria in these areas and will encourage further links
between the relevant UK committees and their Bulgarian counterparts.
In addition to the existing five British Pre-Accession
Advisers, we will seek out new counterparts for the Phare 2001
Twinning Programme and consider projects in other related areas
eg encouraging links between the Cabinet Office in London and
the Council of Ministers in Sofia.
This Action Plan provides the basis for ongoing
co-operation between the UK and Bulgaria. It will be reviewed
and updated on an annual basis.
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
to the end of the financial year. The British Foreign Office has
made available £100,000 of additional money to support new
projects. This bilateral assistance complements the work already
being funded through the EU and the broader support (£3 million)
of DFID's Know How Fund.
The Slovak Republic is a demoncratic state with
an onus to remaining transparent in all fields to ensure accountability
is maintained. One of the tools to ensure accountability is trained
journalists able to investigate stories and seek out the truth.
The Action Plan is supporting a two day seminar for 30 journalists
organised by the British Embassy in association with BACEE. The
aim of this seminar will be to explain the concept of investigative
political journalism and how useful it can be to the working of
a fully functioning democracy both at regional and national level.
Two well renowned journalists from the UK will hold the seminar.
Trade & Investment
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.
A British adviser is currently working with
the Slovak Ministry of Finance through a PHARE funded scheme,
advising in Bank Privatisation.
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. Corporate governance
should provide the structure through which the company objectives
are set, and the means of attaining those objectives and the methods
of monitoring performance.
Britain is near to completing a project to introduce
a Code of Best Practice similar to one already successfully introduced
in the Czech Republic. Consultants working with Slovak counterparts
are working 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.
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.
Labour and Social Policy
The functioning of the internal market involves
a process of undertakings, cross-border mergers, take-overs and
joint-ventures. To guarantee that employees of undertaking or
groups of undertakings are properly informed and consulted, it
is necessary to set-up European Works Councils or to create other
suitable procedures for trans-national information and consultation
of employees. 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
Police Co-operation and Judicial Reform
Following on from the Lord Chancellor's visit
in June and a highly successful "Twinning Programme"
focussing on police training and DFID Know How Fund's projects
with the judiciary, the United Kingdom is keen to extend assistance
in these areas. Projects include:-
A One year English language training
programme for police officers, judges, prosecutors and ministry
Bilateral assistance for preparing 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 a English/Slovak police dictionary;
Aiding the Ministry of the Interior in the Fight against
Following on from 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.
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 and projects are currently under
preparation. These include:-
Short term assistance focussing on
international tendering to comply with the FIDIC Red Book on international
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) and to implement EU
Human Rights and Minorities
As a keen advocator of Human Rights the UK is
increasing its efforts to support projects aimed at promoting
Human Rights within Slovakia. Through the Know How Fund support
has already been given to projects aimed at tackling social exclusion
and anti-discrimination within society. The Action Plan will build
on this in the coming months supporting projects aimed at Police
Relations with Minority Groups in an effort to increase dialogue
and trust. We will build on this with a Human Rights strategy
for Slovakia in an effort to allow more centrally held resources
to be focussed on this area.
Culture and Scholorships
From 1999, the budget for the British Government's
prestigious "Chevening Scholorships" programme in Slovakia
had 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 flourish.
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 visists 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.
Security and Defence
As the NATO Contact Point Embassy we already
have close links with the Slovak Ministries involved. The strong
defence relationship we have with Slovakia will continue to develop.
As a prospective member of NATO and the EU we are in close contact
with the Slovak Government about the European Strategic Defence
Initiative, recognising that Slovakia has an important role in
the development of policy in this area. In addition we are funding
an English Language course for Ministry of Defence officials.
A key area of the acquis, the UK is committed
to helping aspirant countries in this field. Slovak participation
has been secured on the FCO funded course. "Preparing for
Membership of the European Union: Agriculture and Food" run
by the Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies.
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 2000 and the
Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons visited
in November 2000.
Through the KHF we are supporting reforms to
parliamentary procedures in order to increase the effectiveness
of the legislation process.
Ministerial and VIP Contact
Ministerial and other senior contact between
the UK and Slovakia is being stepped up in 2000 we have seen visits
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
FCO Minister of State for Europe, Mr Keith Vaz
Minister of State for Ministry of Agriculture, Fish
and Food, Ms Joyce Quin
European Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Mr Stephen Wall
No. 10 Downing Street, Mr Roger Liddle
So far in 2001 we have had visits from:-
UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator, Mr Keith Hellawell
And forthcoming visitors include:-
Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellors
Office, Lord Bach
Minister of State for Arms Sales, Baroness Symons
British Business adviser, Lord Paul
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 on-going
co-operation between the United Kingdom and Slovak Republic for
the years to come. More finances will be made available in the
forthcoming financial year to allow the UK to support more projects
aimed at the early accession of Slovakia to the EU. It will be
reviewed and updated regularly with that in mind.
27 February 2001