Thessaloniki Agenda

By adopting the Declaration, all of the countries also adopted the document entitled The Thessaloniki agenda for the Western Balkans: Moving towards European Integration, and committed to its implementation. This programme foresees the introduction of a whole series of new instruments and forms of co-operation between the EU and the SAP countries based on instruments and experiences from the enlargement process. At the same time, it makes some SAP instruments so far reserved only for the more developed countries available to all.

European Partnership – In the medium term, this is the most important new instrument. It is based on Accession Partnership experiences with the candidate countries. This is a document that determines for each country its short- and medium-term goals and priorities. A country’s success depends on the time it took for these goals to be achieved. Partnership’s priorities are determined according to the European Commission’s Annual Reports on the SAP, as well as informal consultations with the SAP countries, taking into account the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria and the SAP specific criteria. Based on recommendations from the Partnership, the SAP countries are expected to draw up action plans that will be implemented within set deadlines.

Cooperation in Common Foreign and Security Policy – The SAP countries will be invited to accede through statements, joint positions and other decisions within the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Inviting the SAP countries to co-ordination and briefing meetings, organised for the acceding and candidate countries in major European cities and seat of international organisations, will also be taken into consideration, as well as the meetings of the Political and Security Committee is the subject concerns security and crisis solving in the region.

Parliamentary Co-operation – Joint Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committees could be established with all SAP countries, even before conclusion or entry into force of the respective Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs). To this end, appropriate arrangements could be agreed with the SAP countries. The European Affairs Committees of the Parliaments of the SAP countries will be encouraged to establish contacts with the Parliaments of Member States, as well as contacts on regional level (for instance, within the framework of the Regional Conference of European Affairs Committees).

Institutional Building Support – The instrument of twinning (cooperation of state employees in the member countries with similar institutions in the EU countries) will be extended to all SAP countries, taking into account their specific situations. Twinning will be financed under the CARDS program. The SAP countries will become eligible for technical assistance by TAIEX including for monitoring the compatibility of national legislations of the SAP countries with the community acquis. Particular attention should be given to the provision of expertise from the new member states. For the purposes of improving the abilities of civil servants in the SAP countries, regional school or institute should be founded for higher education in the field of public administration reform. The level of co-operation will depend on the ability of each individual state.

Opening Community Programs – Community programmes will be opened in SAP countries (for instance, in the field of education, training, culture, research, energy, environment, and civil society), at a given time and depending on the needs and capabilities of each country.
CARDS Budget Increase – CARDS Budget Increase for the 2004-2006 period has been approved and equals a minimum of EUR200 million. The EU will also consider the further mobilisation of European Investment Bank resources, further adaptation of Community’s support to the SAP countries on their road to the EU, and invited the Commission to consider supporting the SAP in achieving sustainable development, within the framework of the discussions on the following financial perspective (2007-2013), and based on the experiences with the current enlargement process.

CARDS Budget Increase – CARDS Budget Increase for the 2004-2006 period has been approved and equals a minimum of EUR200 million. The EU will also consider the further mobilisation of European Investment Bank resources, further adaptation of Community’s support to the SAP countries on their road to the EU, and invited the Commission to consider supporting the SAP in achieving sustainable development, within the framework of the discussions on the following financial perspective (2007-2013), and based on the experiences with the current enlargement process.

Press

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