HC Deb 18 June 1991 vol 193 cc105-7W
Mr. Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom help for Czechoslovakia through the know-how fund and the Council of Europe's demonsthenes programme.

Mrs. Chalker

The know-how fund was extended to Czechoslovakia in March 1990. Its objective is to help the transition to democracy and a market economy through the provision of British advice, skills and training. Some £2 million was spent in 1990–91 and we expect to spend £5 to £6 million in 1991–92. For details of the projects on which money has been spent, I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) on 17 January at column563. Additional activities agreed since then are as follows:

Financial services and macroeconomic advice

  • Title: Assistance to Investicni bank.
  • Description: Provision of advice and training to enable the Czechoslovak Investment bank to set up and run unit trusts/mutual funds.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Cost: £30,000.
  • Title: Assistance to Komercni Bank
  • Description: Secondment of two United Kingdom nationals to help set up a merchant/investment banking division.
  • Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £400,000.
  • Title: Accountancy training.
  • Description: A five day introduction to accountancy course to be delivered by the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.
  • Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £17,500.
  • Title: Assistance to the Insurance sector.
  • Description: Advice on the restructuring of the Czech State Insurance company.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Costs: £150,000.
  • Title: Privatisation advice.
  • Description: The second phase of a major consultancy advising the Czechoslovak government on privatisation policy, in particular the scheme for mass privatisation by voucher.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Cost: £575,000.
  • Title: Assistance to the Slovak Securities Market.
  • Description: Advice on the establishment and development of a Stock Exchange in Bratislava.
  • Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £50,000.

Employment services

  • Title: Further assistance to the Czechoslovak employment service. Description: Provision of courses to train future trainers of job centre directors.
  • Status: Under way
  • Cost: £50,000.
  • Title: Assistance with health and safety at work.
  • Description: An exploratory mission to look at requirements for assistance in this field.
  • Status: Completed.
  • Cost: £2,000.

Management training and small business advice

  • Title: Management training.
  • Description: An initial programme of assistance in the management field aimed at preparing the ground for a major programme of 106 institutional development. Initial programme will cover training of Czechoslovak management trainers, a management links scheme and basic management training seminars.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Cost: £200,000.
  • Title: Assistance to small businesses.
  • Description: Provision of training courses to be run by the London Enterprise Agency in conjunction with the Czechoslovak Union of Entrepreneurs.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Cost: £18,000.

Education and ELT

  • Title: Academic Links.
  • Description: A general scheme to encourage academic/ institutional links in the areas of priority for the KHF.
  • Status: Under way.
  • Cost: £150,000
  • Title: Scholarships programme.
  • Description: A programme of ad hoc training awards for candidates from the public and private sector in areas of priority for the KHF.
  • Status: under way.
  • Cost: £250,000.

Political projects

  • Title: Commercial law seminar.
  • Description: Two day seminar in Prague to familiarise Czechslovak lawyers with UK commercial law, to be organised by the British-Czechoslovak Law Association. Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £19,000
  • Title: Social science teaching.
  • Description: A two week summer school for social science teachers/lecturers covering curriculum reform and teaching methods.
  • Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £2,000.
  • Title: Placement scheme for journalists.
  • Description: A programme of month long placements for young Czechoslovak journalists with UK regional and national newspapers.
  • Status: To be implemented.
  • Cost: £15,500.

The Council of Europe's Demosthenes programme is one of the regular programmes of activity of the Council of Europe, the budget of which is funded by member states. The United Kingdom contributes almost 17 per cent. of the total budget of the Council of Europe. The Demosthenes programme has agreed to fund the following activities in Czechoslovakia in 1991:

Human rights An information meeting on the European Convention on Human Rights, Strasbourg 17–18 June 1991; follow up meeting, Prague, Autumn 1991. Information meetings for lawyers in Prague, Bratislava and Brno, Autumn 1991. Visit by delegation from Federal Supreme Court (and possibly also Constitutional Court) to the European Court and Commission for Human Rights, late 1991.

Social Affairs Seminar on reform of social security system for parliamentarians and senior officials focusing on financing of medical care, sickness, old age and invalidity benefits took place in Prague, March 1991.

Youth Training seminar for leaders of youth movements, Autumn 1991.

Health Study visit of senior officials from the Ministry of Health to France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in 1991. Expert mission on health education to Prague and Bratislava, Autumn 1991. Study visit on rehabilitation to the Netherlands, September 1991. Nursing course in Prague. Study visit for group of Czechoslovak nurses to United Kingdom, organised in cooperation with the Department of Health, September 1991. Seminar on organ transplantation in Prague, October 1991.

Local Government Expert mission on regional development policy to help draw up legislation in this field, Prague, February 1991. Seminar for directors of local government training institutions to discuss training systems and define priorities for action, Bratislava, May 1991. Study visit by delegation from Czechoslovak Institute for Public Administration to France and Spain, May 1991. Two week training seminar for 25 Czech and Slovak local authorities, in cooperation with the Norwegian Association of Local Authorities, Oslo, June 1991.

Legal cooperation Training seminars for Slovak notaries, Slovakia, June and September 1991. Seminar on problems of juvenile delinquency and the organisation of justice for minors, supplemented by study visits to specialised institutions in the region, Strasbourg, September 1991. Seminar on data protection aimed at helping with drafting of new legislation on the subject, Prague, October 1991. Study visit for officials responsible for drafting data protection legislation to Austria, Germany the Netherlands and France. Training courses for judges organised in cooperation with relevant institutions in France, the Netherlands and Germany. Seminar on the exercise of judicial functions (training, recruitment, status, independence, competence and powers, application of the principle of the rule of law) organised with the assistance of the International Union of Judges, Prague, November 1991. Seminar on the exercise of the functions of the Clerk of the Court of Justice (training, recruitment, status, identification of responsibilities, competence and powers) organised with the assistance of the European Union of Clerks of Justice. Seminar on alternatives to imprisonment (probation, supervision, fines community service etc.), Czechoslovakia late 1991. Seminar on public administration and the citizen, covering the application of the rule of law, openness in public administration administrative procedures, complaints mechanisms etc, Czechoslovakia, late 1991.