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    EU ENLARGEMENT PROCESS

    GUIDE

to business conditions and

    opportunities

    A user’s guide for EU and Central and Eastern

    European Engineering Consultancies.

    MAY 2001

European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA)

    Avenue des Arts 3/4/5, B - 1210 Brussels

    Phone : +32.2.209.07.70 - Fax +32.2.209.07.71 E-mail: efca@efca.be - URL: http://www.efcanet.org

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    Table of contents

    Page

    I. INTRODUCTION 5

    II. THE ENLARGEMENT PROCESS:

    From the 1993 Copenhagen European Council to the accession negotiations 7

    III. THE PREPARATION FOR ACCESSION: EU FUNDING INSTRUMENTS 11

1. The three instruments/programmes (Phare, ISPA and SAPARD) 11

    - Presentation 11

    - Procurement process 11

2. PHARE 12

    - Objectives 12

    - Sectors and Budget 12

    - Implementation 12

    - Business opportunities 13

3. ISPA 13

    - Objectives 13

    - Sectors and Budget 13

    - Implementation 13

    - Business opportunities 14

    4. SAPARD 14

    5. Main contracting rules 14

    A. Basic rules governing all contracts 14

    B. Specific rules governing service contracts 15

    6. Co-financing with the international financial institutions 16

    - The European Investment Bank 16

    - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 16

    - Other international financial institutions 17

    IV. PARTICIPATION OF CEE COUNTRIES IN EU EXTERNAL AID PROGRAMMES, COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES AND COMMUNITY AGENCIES 19

    1. Introduction 19

    2. EU external aid programmes 19

    A. TACIS 19

    B. Phare and Tacis Nuclear Safety Programmes 20

    C. South Eastern Europe Programmes 20

    1. The Stabilisation Process 20

    2. The EU and Kosovo 20

    3. Western Balkans 20

    D. Other EU external aid programmes 21

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    3. Community Programmes 21

    A. Introduction 21

    B. Environment 22 th1. The 6 Environment Action Programme (2001-2010) 22

    2. LIFE 22

    C. Energy 23

    D. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) 23

    1. Information and support networks 23

    2. Programmes and Facilities 24

    E. Research and Technological Development 25

    F. Other areas 26

    1. Regional Policies 26

    2. Vocational training, Education, Youth and Culture 26

    3. Public Health 27

    4. Social Policy 27

    4. Community Agencies 27

    V. ANNEXES 29

    1. EFCA 31

2. The 31 chapters of the Acquis communautaire 33

    3. Statistical data / Key figures 35

    4. Useful contacts, addresses and Internet links 39

    5. Glossary of EU-related terms and list of acronyms 49

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    I. INTRODUCTION

    Enlargement of European Union membership to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is presently one of the most important issues on the European agenda. The large number of candidates together with their differences in cultures and histories offer a challenge and opportunity for the EU to further the integration of the European continent and extend a zone of economic and political stability to potential new members. It also offers unique prospects of improving investment and trade conditions on the European continent.

    In order to qualify for EU membership, candidate countries must fulfil a number of criteria. They must fulfil “entry requirements” so-to-speak. At present, none of the

    candidate countries are in such a position although progress is steadily being made. A EU regulated accession process manages this transition period whereby candidate countries progressively prepare themselves for membership to the EU.

    One of the most fundamental “entry requirements” is that the legislative systems of the candidate countries are aligned to that of the European Union. This means that the accession countries will have to progressively adopt the body of law 1known as the Acquis communautaire into their own national legislation. 2Implementation requires the adoption of 31 chapters of the acquis comprising

    some 80,000 pages of legislation. The principal obligations to be transposed relate to the rights of establishment, national treatment, free circulation of goods, intellectual property and public procurement.

    Through this process, citizens of the candidate countries progressively become subject to an identical body of rules to that governing the European Union. It is therefore important to understand that EU legislation already affects persons and businesses in the candidate countries well before they become full EU members.

    This guide provides information on business conditions and opportunities attached to the enlargement process, such as guidelines to European public procurement opportunities tied in with the financial assistance programmes designed to help candidate countries prepare for accession.

     1 The Acquis Communautaire is the body of Community law, which includes the Treaties, Regulations,

    Directives, Decisions and Recommendations as well as Court Decisions. It also encompasses the European Union‟s set of principles and obligations, such as its long term principles, values and policy goals. 2 List in Annex 2.

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    II. THE ENLARGEMENT PROCESS

    From the 1993 Copenhagen European Council

    to the accession negotiations.

The accession criteria

    In 1993, at the Copenhagen European Council, the Member States agreed that “countries in Central and Eastern Europe that so desire shall become members

    of the European Union” provided that they are able to “assume the obligations of membership by satisfying the economic and political conditions required”.

These conditions are referred to as the Copenhagen Criteria:

    ; Stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights

    and respect for and protection of minorities;

    ; A functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with

    competitive pressures and market forces within the Union;

    ; Ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the

    aims of political, economic and monetary union.

    The progress made by each candidate country in meeting the accession criteria is monitored by the Commission through the compiling of “regular reports” submitted to the Council. The Council bases the continuation of the negotiations on these reports. Each report contains a detailed analysis of the progress made by each of the candidate countries. They also cover the adoption of the acquis

    communautaire.

An overall enlargement process

    In July 1997, the Commission produced “Agenda 2000”, a document that presents an analysis of the implications of enlargement for the European Union and provides an evaluation of the candidates' applications for membership.

The following issues are addressed in Agenda 2000:

    ; the perspectives for the development of the EU

    ; the challenge of enlargement

    ; the impact of enlargement

    ; the future financial framework of an enlarged Union.

    On the basis of Agenda 2000, the Luxembourg European Council (December 1997) decided to launch an overall enlargement process. This process includes the ten Central and Eastern European (CEE) applicant countries, i.e. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as Cyprus, Turkey and Malta.

    The enlargement process encompasses:

    ; The European Conference, a multilateral forum bringing together the

    applicant countries, which held its first meeting in London on 12 March 1998; ; The accession process, covering the ten CEE applicant countries and Cyprus,

    which was launched in Brussels on 30 March 1998;

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    ; The accession negotiations, which the European Council decided to open on

    31 March 1998 with six countries, as recommended by the European

    Commission: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and

    Slovenia. On 15 February 2000, the Council decided to open accession

    negotiations with six other countries: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,

    Romania and Slovakia.

    The Accession Process includes a pre-accession strategy, the accession negotiations, the "screening" of EC legislation and a review procedure. The process regulates and determines the conditions under which each candidate country will join the EU and focuses on the adoption and implementation of the acquis communautaire.

Pre-Accession strategy

    Given the institutional, administrative and cultural specificity of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs), it has been necessary to elaborate a pre-accession strategy to target support towards each country individually and help them and the Union to prepare for accession. This strategy is designed to assist the CEECs both administratively and institutionally in their adoption, implementation and enforcement of the acquis communautaire. The enlargement

    is thus a comprehensive, inclusive and ongoing process, which takes place in stages; each of the applicant states proceeding at its own rate, depending on its degree of preparedness.

The Europe Agreements 3The Europe Agreements provide the framework within which candidate

    countries are preparing for membership. Through the Europe Agreements, the candidate countries may already benefit from much of the advantages offered by the internal market prior to full membership such as, for example, free trade in industrial products as well as participation in Community programmes. In return, the candidate countries commit themselves to legislative approximation (i.e. to transpose the acquis communautaire in their own legislation), in particular in

    areas relevant to the internal market. In addition to trade issues, the Europe Agreements cover co-operation in the political, economic and cultural areas.

    Accession Partnerships and National Programmes for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) 4In practice, each country is now party to an Accession Partnership (AP) offering

    an individual programme for accession within a single framework. The APs are country-specific programmes designed to guide each applicant through the enlargement partnership. They are elaborated with the separate needs and requirements of each country in mind. They have the benefit of addressing the priorities to be dealt with for each country on an individual basis. Through this

    programme, the enlargement process has been transformed from a simple political bargaining process into a structured and regulated technical process characterised by the setting of standards and goals to be met by the candidate

     3 The first Europe Agreements were signed in December 1991 (Hungary and Poland). The latest one dates from June 1996 (Slovenia). 4 The APs are multi-annual and will last until accession, although they will be reviewed as required. The overall allocation to each candidate country is indicated in the APs and may be reviewed in the light of performance, changing requirements and progress in implementing the APs.

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    countries. One of the characteristics of this process is that the continuation of the accession negotiations is conditional upon the progress made in the adoption of the acquis. In other words, the progress made by CEECs in the adoption of the acquis is a pre-condition to the continuation of the negotiations and to the 5granting of further financial assistance.

    Each country‟s Accession Partnership is further complemented by its own National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA). The NPAAs are specifically targeted towards each country‟s commitments to achieving the Copenhagen criteria and adopting the acquis communautaire and contain the

    timetables for implementation as well as the human and financial resources to be allocated where applicable.

The Accession Negotiations

    The negotiation process starts with a Commission proposal covering each chapter of the acquis and is followed by negotiating sessions at ministerial level. Negotiations are conducted with each candidate country on an individual basis. This is known as the principle of differentiation. The results of the negotiations are incorporated in a draft accession treaty, which is submitted to the Council for approval and then to the European Parliament for assent. After signature, the accession treaty will be submitted to the Member States and to the candidate country for ratification after which the candidate would become a EU Member State.

    In April 2001, the negotiations with the six first applicant countries were covering 29 of the 31 acquis communautaire’ chapters while the negotiations with the six

    other applicant countries were covering from 10 to 23 chapters.

     6Information on the current status is available on the web site of the Enlargement

    Directorate-General (Enlargement DG) of the European Commission. This site also includes the “Progress Reports” regularly published by the Commission

    (latest publication: November 2000).

     5 The progress made by each candidate country is recorded in an annual report written by the Commission. These reports form the basis for the continuation of the negotiations. 6 Web site of the Enlargement DG : http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/index.htm.

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