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Partnership for the accession of Latvia

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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 amended in December 1999 and in January 2002 is to provide a legal framework for the working priorities set out in the Commission's opinion on Latvia's application for membership, the financial resources available to help Latvia 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 instruments include a national programme for adopting the Community acquis (revised in April 2002), joint evaluation of medium-term economic priorities, a pact against organised crime, the national development plan and other sectoral programmes required for participation in the 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 Latvia.

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 Latvia.

2) PRIORITIES

These are divided into two groups: short- and medium-term priorities. The priority issues in the first group were those likely to be tackled or completed by Latvia during 2000. Those in the second group should be settled by the end of 2003.

Latvia has achieved the priorities relating to economic criteria, free movement of persons, free movement of goods, free movement of capital and statistics. In most areas the priorities have been partly achieved.

The accession partnership priorities were reviewed in December 1999 (see point 3 of the Annex to Decision 1999/854/EC). The most recent review was published in February 2002 (Decision 2002/88/EC). This forms the basis of the Commission's 2002 report.

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

The 2001 Phare programme for Latvia allocated EUR 31.4 million for the national programme. A further EUR 3 million were set aside for the Baltic cross-border cooperation programme. Phare 2002 allocated EUR 27 million to Latvia, plus EUR 5 million under the additional financing mechanism to strengthen the institutions. A further EUR 3 million were earmarked for the Baltic cross-border cooperation programme.

The Latvian authorities are assuming responsibility for aid contracts and payments. However, the European Communities' Financial Regulation requires the Commission to oversee contract award procedures and to approve any Phare-funded contract signed by 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 financial control in the partner country to be deficient.

The total financial aid made available between 2000 and 2002 was EUR 90 million for Phare, EUR 66 million for SAPARD and between EUR 105 and EUR 165 million for ISPA. Annually, this amounted to EUR 35 million from Phare, EUR 22.2 million from SAPARD and between EUR 36.4 and 57.2 million from ISPA. For Latvia, the indicative envelope for SAPARD 2002 was EUR 22.9 million. For ISPA this was between EUR 38.1 and 59.9 million.

In 2002, in order to support the efforts of the countries negotiating accession to the Union, the Commission provided special financial aid amounting to EUR 250 million.

4) REFERENCES

Council Decision 98/263/EC of 30 March 1998
Official Journal L 121 of 23.04.1998

Council Decision 1999/854/EC of 6 December 1999
Official Journal L 335 of 28.12.1999

Commission Opinion COM(97) 2005 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(98) 704 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(1999) 506 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2000) 706 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001)1749
Not published in the Official Journal

Decision 2002/88/EC of 28.01.2002
Official Journal L 44, 14.02.2002

Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1405
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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