Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


  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 scenarios:

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.


  1.  In March 1999, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded their enquiry into European Union enlargement by urging the Government:

    "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 consumers.

    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 may splinter.

    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 candidates;

    —  the UK's activities in promoting the enlargement process; and

    —  the next steps.


  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 Cyprus—the "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 been opened.

  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 Bulgaria—the "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 Parliament elections;

    —  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[1] noted:

    —  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 it.

  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 countries.

  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. [2]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."

Annex 1

ChapterLatvia LithuaniaSlovakia RomaniaBulgaria Malta
1 Free movement of goods
2 Freedom of movement for persons
3 Freedom to provide servicesno nono
4 Free movement of capitalno nono nono
5 Company lawnono no yes
6 Competition policyno nonono no
7 Agriculture
8 Fisheriesno yes no
9 Transport policyno nono
10 Taxation
11 Economic and monetary unionyes yes
12 Statisticsyesyes yesyesyes yes
13 Social policy and employment no no
14 Energy
15 Industrial policyyes yesyes yes
16 SMEsyesyes yesyesyes yes
17 Science and researchyes yesyesyes yesyes
18 Education and trainingyes yesyesyes yesyes
19 IT & telcomsno nonono yes
20 Culture and audio-visual policyno noyesno yesyes
21 Regional policy
22 Environmentno
23 Consumers and health protectionyes yes yesyes
24 JHA
25 Customs union no
26 External relationsyes yesyesyes yesyes
27 CFSPyesyes yesyesyes yes
28 Financial control
29 Budget
30 Institutions
Total provisionally closed9 7106 812

  no  Chapter open

  yes  Chapter provisionally closed

ChapterCyprus HungaryPoland EstoniaCzech Rep Slovenia
1 Free movement of goodsyes nonoyes yesno
2 Freedom of movement for personsno nonono nono
3 Freedom to provide servicesno noyesno noyes
4 Free movement of capitalno nonoyes nono
5 Company lawyesno noyesno yes
6 Competition policyno nononono no
7 Agriculturenono nonono no
8 Fisheriesyesyes noyesyes yes
9 Transport policyno nononono no
10 Taxationnono nonono no
11 Economic and monetary unionyes yesyesyes yesyes
12 Statisticsyesyes yesyesyes yes
13 Social policy and employmentyes yesnoyes noyes
14 Energynoyes nonono no
15 Industrial policyyes yesyesyes yesyes
16 SMEsyesyes yesyesyes yes
17 Science and researchyes yesyesyes yesyes
18 Education and trainingyes yesyesyes yesyes
19 IT & telcomsyes yesyesyes yesyes
20 Culture and audio-visual policyyes noyesyes nono
21 Regional policyno nononono no
22 Environmentnono nonono no
23 Consumers and health protectionyes yesyesyes yesyes
24 JHAnono nonono no
25 Customs unionyesno nonoyes no
26 External relationsyes yesyesyes yesno
27 CFSPyesyes yesyesyes yes
28 Financial controlyes yesyesno noyes
29 Budgetnono nonono no
30 Institutions
Total closed17 141316 1314

  no  Chapter open

  yes  Chapter provisionally closed

Annex 2




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 June.

  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.

New Initiatives

  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 (

  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 EU membership.

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.

Annex 3



  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 July 2000.


  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 Invisibles—on behalf of the UK Financial Services Industry—and 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 year.


  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 financial crime.

  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:

    —  road traffic safety;

    —  railway restructuring;

    —  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 Agricultural Policy.


  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 apparatus.

  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 work there.

  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 governance.

  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 October.


  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.



  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 College.

    —  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 of trainers.

    —  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" in September.

    —  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 services sector.

    —  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 University.

  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 Northern Ireland.

   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 schools;

    —  media education (media for schools—eg 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.

Ministerial Contacts

  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 August.

  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 restructuring questions;

    —  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 area—transposition 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 in Tartu.

    —  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 countries.

  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 visit.

  Other events:

    —  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.


  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 European Movement.

  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 2000.

    —  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 October 2000.

    —  Visit by the Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu to the UK in November 2000.


  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.



  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 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 include:

    —  short-term assistance focusing on international tendering to comply with the FIDIC Red Book on international engineering standards;

    —  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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.



  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 Commission.


  The British Government is supporting the Slovenian government in its reform of public administration. Areas include:

    —  Improvement of the civil service structure by developing an EU training programme for Slovenian civil servants. The training programme to be organised by the UK Civil Service College will have two levels, one for senior civil servants and one for new entrants. Slovenian officials from the Government Office of European Affairs and Ministry of Interior visited the Civil Service College in December 1999. A follow up visit to Ljubljana by a Civil Service College expert is scheduled for September 2000 and will cover, (a) short-term help in training Slovenian Officials in core EU knowledge skills, and (b) long-term support to strengthen Slovenian institutions and creation of indigenous capacity for EU training.

    —  The British Embassy is planning a visit to Slovenia of MPs from each of the major UK political parties, in co-operation with the Slovenian Government Office for European Affairs and with the help of Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The purpose of the visit is to encourage the Slovenian political establishment, through a number of workshops/seminars, to examine ways to restructure the country's civil service on a fully professional and apolitical basis.

    —  The British Embassy funded the Head of the Slovenian Civil Service and his Deputy to attend an International Summit on Public Finance and Administration at the Adam Smith Institute in London last April. Further such opportunities for exchanges will be sought.

    —  The British Council is running an English Language Course for new Slovenian Diplomats. A new initiative to offer local scholarships for an English Language Training programme "English with a British Accent" aimed at civil servants and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is under consideration.


  The British and Slovenian authorities are working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on co-operation to combat drugs and organised crime.

  Slovenia is one of the several routes in SE Europe which is attracting increasing attention of drug smugglers because of its geographical position and good communication routes. As a result of the Prime Minister's recent speech on Europe-wide drugs co-operation, Slovenia has requested a visit by Keith Hellawell, the UK drugs co-ordinator. A regional needs analysis study of SE Europe is currently underway. This will indicate potential areas for project co-operation.

  Other areas of assistance include:

    —  The United Kingdom will explore areas of further co-operation for assisting Slovenia in their fight against illegal immigration.

    —  Through the DfID's programme to Slovenia, the British Government has successfully run a four-year project of co-operation between Ljubljana Police Constabulary and Surrey Police. The project covers criminal investigation, organised crime, police and community partnerships and school liaison. The United Kingdom and Slovenian authorities are keen to maintain the excellent level of co-operation between the two forces.

    —  There is active customs co-operation between Britain and Slovenia, and a project is currently in the planning stages to send customs officers from Brnik airport on a one-week training visit to East Midlands Airport. This would build on earlier Home Office funded training provided by HM Customs in Slovenia. This visit could act as a springboard for further training and co-operation between HM Customs and Excise and Slovenian 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 months.


  The UK has an ongoing Know How Fund (KHF) project, which is being run in conjunction with Durham University Business School, to develop enterprise and business understanding in Slovenian secondary schools.

  The British Council is heavily involved in the training of Slovenia's national agencies for EU youth and student interchange programmes (Socrates, Commenius, Lingua etc). This is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

  The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to support and develop its Chevening Scholarship schemes that enable Slovenian students to study in the UK. This year the UK successfully negotiated a further three years funding from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture to extend the Valvasor/Chevening Scholarship scheme (jointly funded by the FCO and the Slovenian Government). For the 2000-01 term we have provisionally accepted six Chevening Scholars and two Chevening/Valvasor Scholars.

  The British Council, in collaboration with the Slovenian Ministry of Science, runs an academic link scheme. The scheme offers an effective way to lead British-Slovenian science projects towards integration into wider and larger UK led/EU funded 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 regional development.


  Within the framework of the EC Twinning programme, the UK has been awarded the lead in a project to strengthen the Slovenian Labour Market Organisations. A long-term expert from the Northern Regional Office of the Employment Service in Newcastle upon Tyne will lead the project, drawing on experts from both Sweden and Ireland. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Slovenian Employment Service and identify non-distortive ways of supporting employment. The Employment Service have successfully concluded covenant negotiations with the Commission, gaining unconditional approval. They hope to launch the project in autumn 2000. A member of the UK Department of Employment has also been working with Slovenia's Ministry of Labour as part of an Irish led twinning project on preparations for using European Social Funds.


  The UK's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and Ministry for Education and Employment (DFEE) are participating in an EU twinning project to help prepare Slovenia for the receipt of EU funds. The UK is providing short-term expertise specifically on preparations for SAPARD and European Social funds. This support will continue until the end of this year.


  The UK has regular high level exchanges with Slovenia on Common Foreign and Security Policy issues. It greatly welcomes Slovenia's contribution to the work of the Stability Pact, and to the "Europeanisation" of the Western Balkans. The UK has supported the work of Slovenia's Demining Trust with a grant of £1 million. It is examining other potential collaborative projects with Slovenia in the region.


  Working as part of the Trade Partners UK trade development team, the Commercial Section of the British Embassy will continue to help build on the Slovene market's "sectoral" participation in the current "Opportunities in Central Europe" trade and investment campaign.

  Trade and investment opportunities in the agribusiness, clothing, footwear and fashion, food, drink, food processing sectors are being highlighted as offering particular potential. British Trade International is committed to supporting the further development of two-way trade and exchange of trade missions.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

4 September 2000


  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 Project—which aims to improve the effectiveness of farmer representation in local government—is 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

October 1999


  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 officials—again 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 College.


  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 through CFSP;

    —  integrates CFSP into the policy work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and within other Government Departments;

    —  co-ordinates the implementation of negative measures (sanctions);

    —  arranges for parliamentary scrutiny of CFSP instruments;

    —  expresses its foreign policy views in the European Union.


  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 will participate.


  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 negotiating skills.


  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.

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1.   Have any of the applicant countries signified objections to any of the decisions taken at Nice? What have those objections been?

  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 this matter?

  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 of negotiations.

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 Twinning programme.

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 acts—but 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 capabilities—and 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 Summit.

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 next IGC?

  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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