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Partnership for the accession of Poland

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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 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 place within a legislative framework the working priorities set out in the Commission's opinion on Poland's application for membership, the financial resources available to help Poland 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.

They also include a national programme for adopting the Community acquis, joint evaluation of medium-term economic priorities, the pact against organised crime, national development plan and other sectoral programmes required for participation in post-accession structural funds 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 Poland.

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 Poland.

2) PRIORITIES

These are divided into two groups: short term and medium term. Poland was expected to resolve or make progress on the priority issues in the first group before the end of 2000. Those in the second group should be settled by the end of 2003.

Poland has not achieved the political criteria priorities. However, the economic criteria priorities have largely been achieved. Most of the other priorities (except in the areas of financial control, social policy, economic and monetary union, fisheries and agriculture) have been partly achieved.

The accession partnership priorities were reviewed in December 1999 (see page 3 of the Annex to Decision 98/851/EC). The most recent revision was published in 2002 (Decision 2002/91/EC). This forms the basis of the Commission's assessment in its 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

A total of EUR 2 534 million was provided by the Phare programme to Poland between 1999 and 2000. EUR 428 million were allocated for the 2000 Phare programme for Poland. An additional sum of EUR 55 million was released for the programme of cooperation with Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and for special action in the Baltic Sea Region. The 2001 Phare programme for Poland made provision for EUR 396 million. An additional EUR 56 million was released for the same actions as in 2000. Phare 2002 allocated EUR 342.2 million plus an additional sum of EUR 51.8 million to strengthen the institutions. Another additional envelope of EUR 56 million was agreed for cross-border cooperation with Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and for special action in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Polish 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 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 were introduced in 2000. The Regulation coordinating aid under Phare, SAPARD and ISPA was adopted in June 1999, enabling the Commission to carry out ex-post monitoring of contracts where it considers the financial control in the partner country to be deficient.

The total financial aid to be made available each year from 2000 to 2002 was EUR 398 million for Phare, EUR 168.6 million for SAPARD and between EUR 312 and 385 million for ISPA. SAPARD 2002 allocated EUR 177 million to Poland. The ISPA envelope for the same year was EUR 357 million.

4) REFERENCES

Council Decision 98/260/EC of 30 March 1998
Official Journal L 121 of 23.4.1998

Decision 99/851/EC of 6 December 1999
Official Journal L 335 of 28.12.1999

Commission opinion COM(97) 2002 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(98) 701 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(1999) 509 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(2000) 709 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1752
Not published in the Official Journal

Decision 2002/91/EC of 28 January 2002
Official Journal L 44 of 14.02.2002

Commission report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1408
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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