HC Deb 16 April 2002 vol 383 c830W
30. David Cairns

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance is being provided by the UK to the candidate counties for EU membership. [45545]

Peter Hain

Over the last decade we have contributed £350 million through the "Know How Fund" to provide technical assistance to the central European candidate countries. We now have "Action Plans" with all 13 candidates with a total budget of £1.8 million in the last financial year. The plans bring together the UK's practical assistance to the candidates across a range of activities involving other Whitehall Departments.

Since 1998, the UK has won involvement in over 100 Twinning projects, whereby experts are seconded as long-term Pre-Accession Advisers to candidate countries' ministries. This is the third highest number of any member state. The UK was the first member state to win involvement in projects in all 12 negotiating countries.

36. Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the enlargement of the European Union. [45551]

Peter Hain

Enlargement negotiations are progressing steadily and are on course to meet the timetable agreed at Gothenburg and confirmed at Laeken—to end negotiations in 2002 with the best-prepared countries, so that they can take part in the European Parliament elections in 2004.

Currently 10 of the 12 countries in negotiations have opened 29 chapters. Slovenia has closed 26 chapters, Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic and Lithuania have all closed 24, Slovakia and Latvia have both closed 23. Poland has closed 22 and Malta has closed 21. Bulgaria has opened 27 chapters and closed 14 while Romania has opened 22 and closed nine.

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