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Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States
To aid the future Member States in the preparation of their programming documents for the period 2004-06.
Commission Communication of 12 March 2003 - Further indicative guidelines for the candidate countries [COM(2003) 110 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
In 1999 the Commission published indicative guidelines for the programmes for the period 2000-06 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999. The aim of this document was to help the national and regional authorities of the Member States draw up their programming documents. This communication does not replace the one issued in 1999, which remains the reference document, but supplements it by providing specific guidelines for the future Member States which take account of the institutional framework of enlargement and the special features of each of them.
The 10 future Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) will join the European Union on 1 May 2004. There are at present three financial instruments which are helping them prepare for accession:
- ISPA, the forerunner of the Cohesion Fund (transport and the environment);
- SAPARD (adjustment of the agricultural sector and rural areas);
- the Phare programme (economic and social cohesion, cross-border cooperation).
The European Union is also providing assistance through loans from the European Investment Bank, technical assistance and improved administrative cooperation (twinning). To prepare for the management of the Structural Funds, a road map has identified three successive stages:
- the designation of the authorities to implement the future programmes by the end of 2001;
- the submission by the future Member States of development plans and draft programming documents at the time of signing the Treaty of Accession in April 2003;
- use of the current interval to ratify the Treaties prior to accession to begin negotiations on the programming documents.
The first programming period for the future Member States
The first programming period for the future Member States will be very short (3 years), covering the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006. In addition, these countries' administrative capacities will still be limited and in almost all their regions development is lagging behind. That means that Community assistance must be concentrated on the most urgent needs.
The approach adopted limits the number of items of Community assistance:
- the programming documents;
- agriculture and rural development:
- employment and human resources:
- research and development:
- the business and innovation culture:
the information society:
There are considerable disparities in the future Member States as regards telecommunications infrastructures. Progress has been made, particularly as regards broad-band access.
Most countries need to make substantial investments to meet the Community acquis, which requires basic services (fixed lines, fax and Internet access) to be available everywhere at a reasonable price.
Structural measures will help implement national and regional strategies for the information society through the eEurope action plan for 2005.
For further information, consult the following summary releases:
- the challenge of enlargement;
- the second progress report on economic and social cohesion,
- the preparation of the future Member States to implement regional policy in 2004-06.