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Partnership for the accession of Slovakia

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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 lay down in law the working priorities set out in the Commission's Opinion on Slovakia's application for membership, the financial resources available to help Slovakia implement these priorities and the conditions which apply to this aid. The partnership provides the framework for a range of instruments designed to support candidate countries as they prepare for membership.

These instruments include a national programme for the adoption of the acquis (NPAA), joint assessment of medium-term economic policy priorities, a pact against organised crime, a national development plan and other sectoral plans necessary for participation in the Structural Funds after accession and to implement ISPA and Sapard prior to accession. In 2002, the partnership for accession served as the starting point for preparing an action plan to reinforce the administrative and judicial capacity of Slovakia.

Those instruments are not an integral part of the partnership, but the priorities they contain will be compatible with it.

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

2) PRIORITIES

These are divided into two groups: short and medium term. The priority issues of the first group are those which Slovakia was likely to resolve or make progress with over the course of the year 2000. Those in the second group should be settled by the end of 2003.

Slovakia has largely achieved the political criteria priorities. The economic criteria priorities have been partly achieved. As for the priorities in the areas of competition policy, statistics, culture and audiovisual policy, the environment, consumer protection and health, cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs, customs union and financial control, these have been largely achieved. In the other areas, the priorities have been partly achieved.

In December 1999, the partnership for accession priorities were revised (see p. 3 of the Annex to Decision 1999/853/EC). A final revision was published in February 2002 (Decision 2002/934/EC). It provides the reference on which the Commission report of 2002 is based.

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

3) FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

Phare

The 2000 Phare Programme for Slovakia provided for a national allocation of EUR 28 million. Another EUR 6 million were set aside for a programme of cross-border cooperation with Austria, EUR 4 million were earmarked for cooperation with Poland and EUR 2 million for cooperation with Hungary. EUR 43.5 million were granted through Phare 2001. The programme also allocated EUR 25 million to decommission the Bohunice nuclear power station. A further EUR 12 million were allocated to cross-border cooperation with Austria (EUR 6 million), Poland (EUR 4 million) and Hungary (EUR 2 million). Phare 2002 provided for a national allocation of EUR 37 million for Slovakia. A further EUR 20.1 million were earmarked under the facility specified by the programme to strengthen the country's institutions. The national allocation included an envelope of EUR 12 million intended for cross-border cooperation.

The authorities of the partner country assume responsibility for aid-related contracts and payments. However, under the EC Financial Regulation, the Commission must monitor the contract award procedure and approve all contracts financed by Phare and signed by the partner country prior to their entry into force.

Pre-accession aid

From 2000, financial assistance comprises aid for agriculture and rural development (Sapard) and a structural instrument (ISPA) which will give priority to measures in the field of transport and the environment. The Regulation coordinating Phare aid, Sapard and ISPA, adopted in June 1999, enables the Commission to carry out ex-post checks on the contracts if it considers the checks carried out by the partner country to be insufficient.

Over the period 2000-2002, the financial assistance available totalled EUR 80.5 million annually for Phare, EUR 18.6 million annually for SAPARD and between EUR 3.5 and 5.5 million for ISPA. The SAPARD 2002 envelope for Slovakia was EUR 19.2 million and that for the ISPA programme was between EUR 38.1 and 59.9 million.

4) REFERENCES

Decision 98/262/EC of 30 March 1998
Official Journal L 121 of 23.04.1998

Decision 1999/853/EC of 6 December 1999
Official Journal L 335 of 28.12.1999

Commission Opinion COM(97) 2004 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(98) 703 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(1999) 511 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2000) 711 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1754
Not published in the Official Journal

Decision 2002/93/EC of 28.01.2002
Official Journal L44 of 14.02.2002

Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1410
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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