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Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity

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1) OBJECTIVE

To assess progress on implementing the action plans for reinforcing candidate countries' administrative and judicial capacity and to review fulfilment of the commitments made in the accession negotiations.

2) ACT

Commission Communication of 5 June 2002 on the Action Plans for administrative and judicial capacity, and the monitoring of commitments made by the negotiating countries in the accession negotiations [COM (2002) 256 final - not published in the Official Journal]

3) SUMMARY

The existence of adequate administrative and judicial capacity in the candidate countries is essential if they are to be able to implement and enforce the acquis from the time of accession. Such capacity is also a key factor for the success of the enlargement process.

The European Commission has been monitoring candidate countries' administrative and judicial capacity since 1997. In its 2001 enlargement strategy paper, it undertook to launch action plans for reinforcing the capacity of each country taking part in the accession negotiations. Implementation of these plans has been under way since early 2002. The Communication assesses the work that has been completed on this front and the progress achieved in implementing commitments made in the accession negotiations.

In 2002, the plans are supported by special financial assistance of 250 million. Since administrative and judicial capacity has to be adapted to the evolving requirements of the acquis, a process that will continue after accession, the Commission proposes to maintain this assistance via a transition facility amounting to a total of 380 million. It will cover actions not eligible for the Structural Funds.

The action plans

The Accession Partnerships have served as the point of departure for the action plans for reinforcing administrative and judicial capacity. All priorities from the Partnerships that are related to the strengthening of this capacity have been included in the actions plans.

The action plans bring together for each priority:

  • the commitments made in the accession negotiations;
  • the implementing measures envisaged;
  • the Community assistance that is already under way or planned, and any supplementary assistance that will be provided for institution building under the Phare programme;
  • the monitoring activities required to assess each country's preparation.

The following issues are covered in the action plans:

  • issues relating to the political Copenhagen criteria: strengthening of the public administration, reform of the judicial system, development of an anti-corruption capacity, respect for human rights and the protection of minorities;
  • issues relating to the Copenhagen economic criteria: development of land markets and land property registers, compliance with bankruptcy legislation, development of a favourable business environment, reform of the financial sector, and reform of the public finance management system;
  • issues relating to the smooth functioning of the internal market: compliance with the competition rules, reinforcing transport structures, reinforcing the capacity of tax and customs administrations, and establishing or reinforcing regulatory authorities in the areas of transport, energy, telecommunications, postal services and broadcasting;
  • issues relating to ensuring sustainable living conditions: strengthening the structures for the management of the common agricultural policy, reinforcing administrative structures in the fisheries field, setting up bodies to manage the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, strengthening the capacity to monitor and enforce environmental legislation, transport safety, nuclear safety and enforcing occupational health and safety rules;
  • issues relating to the protection of citizens: strengthening the judicial system, fighting corruption, developing the capacity to implement the justice and home affairs acquis, upgrading food processing establishments and inspections relating to food safety;
  • issues relating to the proper management of Community funds: strengthening structures for public financial control, and strengthening statistical capacities.

Enhanced monitoring

The action plans are accompanied by enhanced monitoring of negotiating countries' commitments made in the accession negotiations. The reports on the progress towards accession by each country, published every year by the Commission, are complemented by monitoring activities included in the action plans (such as peer review).

This enhanced monitoring process has shown that most of the commitments made by the candidate countries are being met in accordance with the agreed timetables. However, further efforts are needed in certain areas. The Communication takes stock of progress on the various negotiating chapters, indicating whether they have been provisionally closed and with which country, and where transitional periods have been granted. Food safety and the management of Community funds are mentioned as still requiring particular attention.

4) IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

5) FOLLOW-UP WORK

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

Last updated: 10.07.2002
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