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Partnership for the accession of Hungary

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The aim of the Accession Partnership is to assist the authorities in the candidate country in their efforts to comply with the accession criteria. It covers in detail the priorities for accession preparations, in particular implementing the acquis, and forms the basis for programming pre-accession assistance from Community funds such as the Phare programme. Following the signing of the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 and the official integration of the country into the European Union on 1 May 2004, the accession partnership has come to an end.

In its communication " Agenda 2000 ", the European Commission has set out a range of proposals for strengthening the pre-accession strategy for all the candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The general objective of this strategy is to offer a coherent programme for preparing these countries for membership of the European Union, and more particularly:

  • to bring together the various forms of aid offered by the European Union within a single framework, the accession partnerships;
  • to familiarise applicants with the European Union's procedures and policies by offering them the opportunity to participate in Community programmes.

1) OBJECTIVE

The objective of the partnership for accession (adopted in March 1998 and revised in December 1999 and in January 2002) is to set out in a single legal framework the working priorities defined in the Commission's Opinion on Hungary's application for membership, the financial resources available to help Hungary implement these priorities and the conditions which apply to this aid. The partnership underpins a range of instruments to support candidate countries in the accession process.

These include a national programme for adopting the Community acquis (revised in March 2002), joint evaluation of medium-term economic priorities, the pact against organised crime, national development plans and other sectoral programmes required for participation in structural funds after accession and pre-accession implementation of ISPA and SAPARD. In 2002, the partnership for accession served as the starting point for preparing an action plan to reinforce the administrative and judicial capacity of Hungary.

Although these instruments will not form an integral part of the partnership their priorities will be compatible.

The implementation of the partnership for accession will be monitored under the Europe Agreement between the European Union and Hungary.

2) PRIORITIES

These are divided into two groups: short and medium-term. The priority questions in the first group are those which Hungary should have settled or made progress on during the year 2000. Those in the second group should be settled by the end of 2003.

In general, Hungary has partly achieved the priorities linked to the political and economic criteria. It has largely achieved the priorities on free movement of goods, free movement of persons, free movement of capital, company law, social policy, energy, culture, audiovisual policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. The priorities in the other areas have been partly achieved.

The priorities of the partnership for accession were revised in December 1999 (see page 3 of the Annex to Decision 99/850/EC). A final revision was carried out in January 2002 (Decision 2002/87/EC). This forms the reference upon which the 2002 Commission report is based.

The priority areas are:
(for up-to-date information on this subject, please refer to the Adoption of the Community acquis section)

3) FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

Phare

A total of EUR 1.030 billion was provided to Hungary under the Phare programme between 1990 and 1999 and EUR 96 million in the 2000 to 2002 period. The 2001 Phare programme allocated EUR 89.9 million to Hungary. An additional EUR 19 million was earmarked for transfrontier cooperation programmes, including EUR 10 million, 5, 2 and 2 for cooperation with Austria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia respectively. The 2002 Phare programme allocated EUR 87 million for Hungary, plus EUR 24.7 million for the facility for strengthening the institutions. An additional 19 million was allocated to Hungary for its cross-border cooperation with Austria (EUR 10 million), Romania (EUR 5 million), Slovakia (EUR 2 million) and Slovenia (EUR 2 million).

In 2002, the Commission provided special financial aid amounting to a maximum of EUR 250 million for the countries negotiating their accession to the European Union.

The Hungarian authorities bear responsibility for aid contracts and payments. However the European Communities' Financial Regulation requires the Commission to oversee contract award procedures and to approve any contract financed by Phare and signed with the partner country before it comes into effect.

Pre-accession aid

Aid for agriculture and rural development (SAPARD) and a structural instrument (ISPA) giving priority to aid in the transport and environmental sectors will be introduced in 2000. The Regulation coordinating aid under Phare, SAPARD and ISPA was adopted in June 1999. It enables the Commission to carry out ex-post monitoring of contracts where it considers the financial control in the partner country to be deficient.

The SAPARD plan for Hungary was approved by the European Commission in October 2000. Implementation of the ISPA programme, launched in January 2000, is making good progress. This implementation has the same institutional framework as the Phare programme: the national fund of the Ministry of Finance is responsible for financial management and several agencies are responsible for technical implementation. A different system was decided upon for the management of SAPARD.

For Hungary, the indicative envelope for SAPARD was EUR 39.8 million in 2002. For ISPA this was around EUR 93.9 million.

4) REFERENCES

Decision 99/850/EC of 6.12.1999
Official Journal L 335 of 28.12.1999

Commission Opinion COM(97) 2001 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(98) 700 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(1999) 505 final
Not yet published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2000) 705 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1748
Not published in the Official Journal

Decision 2002/87/EC of 28.01.2002
Official Journal L44 of 14.02.2002

Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1404
Not published in the Official Journal

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236, 23.09.2003]

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 19.11.2004
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