Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Letter to the Clerk from the Head of the Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department, FCO

KALININGRAD

  At the Committee's pre-Copenhagen Council session on Tuesday 10 December, the Committee asked Denis MacShane whether the EU had a written plan covering future engagement with Russia on Kaliningrad. As noted by the Minister in reply, the EU does not have a masterplan on Kaliningrad. Engagement with Russia is, however, on-going and based on the agreement reached at the EU/Russia Summit on 11 November. A European Commission report of 13 December (attached[12]) gives an overview of the necessary follow-up to the Summit, both in respect of the transit issue and consideration of further EU developmental assistance, with a timetable for implementation. You may find it useful to have a short summary of the background to the measures outlined in the Commission report.

  The Brussels European Council endorsed a final EU position on the Kaliningrad transit issue ahead of the EU/Russia Summit. The Presidency and Commission were subsequently successful in agreeing the following package of measures with Russia. A copy of the Summit joint statement on Kaliningrad is attached for reference[13].

    —  Status quo (ie no visas required) for Russians transiting Lithuania to and from Kaliningrad until July 2003;

    —  A "Facilitated Transit Document" (FTD) (in effect a multi-entry visa for Russians) to be introduced for all forms of land transit (ie including trains) by Russian citizens with effect from 1 July 2003;

    —  A "Facilitated Rail Transit Document" (FRTD) specifically for one-off return rail transit;

    —  FTDs (including FRTDs) to be issued on the basis of Russian internal travel documents for a limited period (ie still available to Russians without external passports);

    —  A feasibility study on non-stop visa-free transit by train to begin in 2003 and be completed as soon as possible. But the final decision to be taken only after enlargement;

    —  A Russia/Lithuania re-admission agreement to be concluded by 30 June 2003. Agreement from 2002 to launch negotiations on an EU-Russia re-admission agreement;

    —  Russia to facilitate the opening of EU member state and candidate country consulates in Kaliningrad.

  In addition to the above, the EU agreed at the 21-22 October GAERC to give EU binding guarantees to help Lithuania meet the additional costs of implementing the above measures. The EU also confirmed that it would help Lithuania meet the conditions necessary to be among the first group of EU candidates to join Schengen. The Kaliningrad transit package would not delay or prevent Lithuania's Schengen accession. A protocol covering these measures was agreed as part of the Accession Treaty at the Copenhagen Council on 12-13 December (see points I 11. (a) and (b) of the Commission note).

  The expert level talks with Lithuania and Russia referred to under point II 1. (c) have been underway since December 2002. As a result of the complex nature of the discussions, the submission of a draft regulation on implementation of the FTD and FRTD has been slightly delayed. However, the Commission hopes this will be ready to go to the Council by 1 February. The Commission is currently considering assistance to Russia as set out in point II 3. (a).

Parliamentary Relations & Devolution Department

Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

17 January 2003

KALININGRAD

COEST REPORT TO COREPER

I.  INTRODUCTION

  The agreement on Kaliningrad which was reached at the EU/Russia Summit on 11 November 2002 sets out a number of different areas for action to be pursued by various actors (Council, Commission, Lithuania, Russia) over the coming months in order to implement the agreement by 1 July 2003. Some actions will need to be dealt with before Lithuania's accession to the EU.

  The Presidency and the Commission will play a leading role in this context. On the Council side, the Working Party on Eastern Europe and Central Asia will maintain its overall responsibility, although several issues will be handled in other Council working groups.

  This report aims at giving an overview regarding necessary work, thus facilitating the task of coordination by Coreper. The report proposes deadlines to measure progress.

II.  MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE

1.   Facilitated Transit Documents (FTD and FRTD)
  (a)  Before GAERC 9-10 December 2002:

    (i)  Conclusions on political, legal and financial guarantees for Lithuania (Coreper);

    (ii)  Preparation of draft Protocol and draft Declaration to the Accession Treaty setting out legal guarantees for Lithuania in line with the GAERC conclusions of 30 September and 22 October (Presidency, Commission and the Working Party on Enlargement);

  (b)  At European Council in Copenhagen. 12-13 December 2002:

    (i)  Adoption of a draft Protocol and draft Declaration to the Accession Treaty setting out legal guarantees for Lithuania in line with the GAERC conclusions of 30 September and 22 October.

  (c)  By end 2002:

    (i)  Expert level talks with Lithuania on additional costs of the scheme (Commission);

    (ii)  Identification of source of finance (Commission);

    (iii)  Expert level talks with Lithuania on the implementation of the FTD and FRTD scheme (Commission);

    (iv)  Expert level talks with Lithuania and Russia on screening of applications and delivery of FRTDs (Commission);

  (d)  January 2003:

    (i)  Draft regulation to be submitted to the Council on the implementation of the FTD and FRTD. (Visa Group);

  (e)  By mid April 2003:

    (i)  Adoption of the FTD/FRTD legislation by Council and European Parliament;

  (f)  May 2003:

    (i)  Signature of Accession Treaty with Lithuania including Protocol on Kaliningrad;

  (g)  By 1 July 2003:

    (i)  FTD/FRTD scheme in place.

2.   Trains

  (a)  After the European Council in Copenhagen:

    (i)  Consultations with Lithuania on the Terms of Reference for feasibility study on trains. (Commission);

  (b)  In 2003:

    (i)  Launching of the feasibility study (Commission);

  (c)  After the accession of Lithuania to the EU:

    (i)  A possible decision on the high speed non-stop train option (Council).

3.   Assistance

  (a)  December 2002 onwards:

    (i)  Consider possibilities for increased assistance for the social and economic development of the Kaliningrad region including the prospects for a Kaliningrad Fund. Consider assistance for activities related to implementation of the package (Commission);

    (ii)  Provide assistance to Lithuania under Phare (before accession) and Category 3 (after accession) to implement the FTD/FRTD scheme.

III.  MOVEMENT OF GOODS

  Russia and the EU have agreed to continue discussion within the PCA framework on the appropriate technical modalities for the transit of goods.

  (a)  In 2003:

    (i)  Start discussions on the technical modalities for the transit of goods (Working Party on Customs Union);

    (ii)  Continue discussions with Russia in the relevant PCA bodies (Commission).

IV.  OTHER ELEMENTS
  (a)  As soon as possible:

    (i)  Lithuania confirms it agrees to implement the FTD/FRTD scheme, including accepting Russian internal passports until 31 December 2004;

    (ii)  Russia and Lithuania reach agreement on transitional arrangements for rail passengers between 1 January and 1 July 2003;

    (iii)  The ratification of the Russia/Lithuania border agreement by the Russian Duma;

    (iv)  Russia's acceptance of requests by EU Member States and candidate countries for opening consulates in the Kaliningrad region;

  (b)  December 2002:

    (i)  Open negotiations for an EU/Russia readmission agreement (Commission);

    (ii)  Russian approval of expansion of the Lithuanian Consulate General in Kaliningrad and the opening of a new consulate in Sovetsk;

  (c)  By 1 July 2003:

    (i)  Conclusion of a bilateral Russia/Lithuania readmission agreement;

  (d)  Until 31 December 2004:

    (i)  Lithuania's acceptance of Russian internal passports.

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON TRANSIT BETWEEN THE KALININGRAD REGION AND THE REST OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

  1.  The parties acknowledge the unique situation of the Kaliningrad Region as part of the Russian Federation but separated from the rest of the Federation by other states. With the aim of further developing the strategic partnership between EU and Russia, the parties therefore agree to make a special effort to accommodate the concerns on both sides related to the future transit of persons and goods between the Kaliningrad Region and other parts of Russia, and to intensify their cooperation to promote the social and economic development of the region as a whole.

  2.  The Russian Federation and the European Union note that from 1 January 2003 the Republic of Lithuania will, according to its agreement with the EU, implement national regulations for border control. The parties understand that these rules shall be applied in a flexible manner in order not to disrupt the traditional flow of transit passengers by rail. The parties recognise that the transit regime will not infringe upon the sovereign right of the Republic of Lithuania to exercise the necessary controls and to refuse entry into its territory.

  3.  On the economic and social development of the oblast, the parties agree to implement a comprehensive package of measures in order to ensure easy passage of borders for legal purposes with a view to facilitate human contacts and promote the development of the Kaliningrad Region. In this context, the EU will continue to support technically and financially Russian efforts to promote the economic development of the Kaliningrad Region and to strengthen cross-border co-operation along the borders of the enlarged EU with Russia, including measures to improve border management and border infrastructure. The parties note that development of the Kaliningrad Region is important for the overall development of the Baltic Sea area.

  4.  The parties agree that any further talks on the implementation of this understanding should proceed in the framework of the EU/Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Arrangements for the transit of persons and goods

  5.  The European Union will introduce the necessary legislation to establish by 1 July 2003 a Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) scheme to apply for the transit of Russian citizens only between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia by land. The FTD will be valid for direct transit by land from one third country to the same third country within a limited period of time and will be issued free of charge or at a very low cost.

  6.  The FTD scheme will allow for two types of FTD to be issued to Russian citizens. For multiple entry direct transit via all forms of transport by land to and from Kaliningrad, an FTD would be obtainable on the basis of an application to a Lithuanian consulate, and subject to necessary checks and controls.

  7.  In addition, for those Russian citizens intending to make single return trips by train through the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, a Facilitated Rail Travel Document (FRTD) would be obtainable on the basis of personal data submitted at the time of ticket purchase. This information would be forwarded in electronic, or any other agreed, form within time limits also to be agreed by the parties. Tickets would not be issued by the Russian authorities to those Russian citizens where the Republic of Lithuania had objections to their transit via Lithuanian territory. An FRTD would then be delivered by the competent Lithuanian authorities to the passenger at, or before, the Lithuanian border once the Republic of Lithuania had checked that the travel documentation carried by the passenger was in order. Bearers of an FRTD would not alight in Lithuania and the duration for each transit would be limited in time. The EU will provide assistance to Lithuania for any additional costs of this scheme.

  8.  The parties noted that the Republic of Lithuania has agreed to accept Russian internal passports as a basis for issuing both types of FTD until 31 December 2004. Thereafter, an FTD or FRTD would only be valid when accompanied by passport valid for international travel.

  9.  The European Union and the Russian Federation have agreed that they will begin work immediately, in cooperation with the relevant candidate countries, on the technical implementation of the FTD scheme with the goal of ensuring that the conditions are in place for the scheme to begin operation on 1 July 2003. The Russian Federation took note of the European Union's intention to review the operation of the FTD scheme no later than 2005.

  10.  The EU has taken note of the Russian proposal for visa free transit by high speed nonstop train. A decision to launch a feasibility study in 2003 by independent consultants will be taken by the EU with the agreement of Lithuania when there is agreement on the Terms of Reference for the study. The Commission will as soon as possible after the meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen initiate the process of developing Terms of Reference to be worked out by the Commission in cooperation with Lithuania. The recommendations of the feasibility study must be in accordance with the Schengen acquis. The feasibility study should be completed as soon as possible.

  The Russian Federation takes note that a decision on the high speed non-stop train option could only be taken after Lithuania's accession to the EU, on the basis of a thorough evaluation of the political and legal aspects and once the technical obstacles have been overcome.

  11.  The Russian Federation confirmed its intention to conclude an intergovernmental readmission agreement with the Republic of Lithuania covering persons of all nationalities. Negotiations on this agreement shall start as early as possible and should be in place no later than 30 June 2003. From 2002, the Russian Federation and the European Union agree to launch negotiations for a bilateral readmission agreement.

  12.  The EU, the relevant candidate countries and Russia will co-operate on measures inter alia to expand consular offices and open new ones on each other's territories.

  Russia will:

    —  approve before the end of 2002 the expansion of the Lithuanian Consulate General in Kaliningrad and the opening of a new consulate in Sovetsk;

    —  favourably consider requests to open consulates in the Kaliningrad Region from other EU and candidate countries.

  13.  The European Union notes the Russian Federation's intention to continue to make best endeavours with regard to speeding up the issuance of passports valid for international travel to its citizens.

  14.  The European Union and the Russian Federation agree that all of the above mentioned provisions are mutually complementary and are considered as a single package.

  15.  The Russian Federation and the European Union agree to continue discussions within the PCA framework on the appropriate technical modalities for the transit of goods.

  Done at Brussels on 11 November 2002




12   Ev 19-21. Back

13   Ev 21-22. Back


 
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