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2002/2003 Slovak Presidency




V4 program of co-operation for the Slovak presidency in the Visegrad Group
 
As a president country in Visegrad Four group (July 2002-June 2003), the Slovak Republic wishes to base its activities upon already existing results of Visegrad cooperation and the activities started during the previous presidencies.
Stemming from the priorities agreed by the V4 Prime Ministers on their summit meeting in Esztergom (June 29, 2002) which could be in a short form described as "Integration, Security, Prosperity", the Slovak Republic wishes that the activities undertaken in the time of its presidency contribute to the process of the European integration and strengthening the cohesion among the V4 countries.
POLITICAL CO-OPERATION
COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

1) Co-operation in the area of European integration.
  • Meetings of Chief Negotiators.
  • Expert meetings on issues of the future of Europe.
  • Meetings of members of national delegations of the V4 in the Convention on the Future of Europe.
  • Meetings of MFA´s policy planning experts.
  • Time coordination of referenda on accession of V4 countries into the EU.
  • Adoption of joint declarations of the V4 on topical integration issues.

    2) Developing co-operation of V4 with third countries and regional groups.
  • V4 - Benelux expert meeting on issues of the future of Europe and the European Convention. (The meeting already has organised, November 4, 2002.)
  • Meeting of V4 and Benelux Prime Ministers.
  • Meeting of the members of national conventions V4-Benelux.
  • Economic forum V4-Benelux. The implementation of the above mentioned activities in the format V4-Benelux was agreed during the summit of the Prime Ministers in Trenčín May 24-25, 2002.
  • The meeting of State Secretaries V4-Ukraine (Slovak side has prepared the meeting, July 8-9, 2002 in Košice).
  • Meetings of experts of the EU-V4-Ukraine co-operation on Schengen issues.
  • Meetings of V4 Chief Negotiators with the partners from decisive EU Member States.
  • Cooperation of V4 with Canada in providing development aid to third countries (implementation of the program ODACE /Official Development Assistance for Central Europe /with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA/).
  • Deepening of cooperation with the countries of the Nordic Council, even in format V4+1.
  • V4-Quadrilaterale cooperation.
  • Continuation of expert consultations V4 - United Kingdom.
  • Meeting of V4 Prime Ministers with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair.
  • Development of cooperation of V4 with other countries on condition that this cooperation is beneficial for all V4 countries and is approved by them.

    3) Co-operation within the framework of international organizations
    OECD
  • Identification of issues of strengthened V4 co-operation in the OECD framework
  • Cooperation between V4 and OECD countries; emphasis common interests of the V4 region within the OECD.
  • Possible elaboration of studies on themes identified on the basis of common interest, which would help to visualise the this region among the OECD countries.
  • Strengthening cooperation of the OECD permanent mission of the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
    SECTORAL CO-OPERATION
    ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF ECONOMY
    Market surveillance
  • Expert consultations of responsible authorities and market surveillance bodies in a scope of market surveillance performance in connection with legislation in force harmonized with the EU law at exercise of acts on technical requirements on products and conformity assessment, on product safety, and preparation of transformation of the rapid exchange of information on dangerous products on market system in candidate countries (TRAPEX) to RAPEX system of the EU countries.
  • Cooperation of non - government consumer organizations established for consumer protection activity support.
  • Harmonization of International Agreements and Treaties of an economic nature with EU Contractual bases.

    Economic issues
  • Exchange of information on National development plan (NDP) of V4 countries in relevant operational programs.
  • Expert consultation on NDPs of V4 countries, and their possible coordination according to individual Sectoral operational program (SOP) and Regional operational program (ROP).
  • Expert consultation mutual information about preparations for using the EU Structural Funds and state role in economic development and the means available to the state /for instance the establishment of industrial parks, incubator houses and industrial zones/.
  • Expert meetings of the managing authorities of the Sectoral operational program - Economic development with aim to present the national approaches and plan common economic activities which would provide possibility to achieve the same level and conditions in economic development.

    Energy:
  • Expert consultation and possibly preparations for cooperation in the field of maintaining stocks of crude oil and petroleum products
  • Expert consultation about the possibility for coordinating energy policies.
  • Exchange of information on the actual issues of the energy sector especially on experiences of the market opening process and on the implementation of acquis communautaire in this field.

    Tourism:
    Expert consultations about:
  • Specific forms of cooperation, the formulation of cross-border programs involving the regional organizations of the tourism sector.
  • Possibilities for common TV programs addressing tourism related topics
  • Adding links to the already existing web-site of the Visegrad countries
  • Promotion of cross-border tourism co-operation with a special emphasis on euroregions, involving the regional tourism organizations, and discovering the achievable financial funds.
  • Co-operation to increase the tourism flow between the Visegrad Countries, by organizing study-tours, presentations, participating at fairs in the four countries.
  • Co-operation to increase tourism flow from third-especially overseas-countries to the Visegrad Countries, by elaborating joint tourism products, joint marketing plans, organizing joint marketing activities in these markets.
  • Demonstration their tourism co-operation through the media by producing joint television programs and using the world wide web.
  • Setting up a Working Group to facilitate the co-operation between the Visegrad Countries.
  • Share of experience, knowledge on the tourism development in their countries and create joint tourism products according to the possibilities.
  • Regular meetings to facilitate the co-operation. The forthcoming meeting is going to be organized in Poland.
    ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF FINANCE
  • Expert meeting on managing of EU pre-accession and structural founds, Meeting already has organised in Budapest, October 28-29, 2002. (Similar meetings were organized in September 2001 in Banská Bystrica and in March 2002 in Prague).
  • Cooperation in the field of common exchange of information on indirect taxes
    DEFENSE ISSUES
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
    Besides the already existing areas of cooperation /support for the NATO membership of Slovakia, sharing experience gained in the process of preparation and the further development of the cooperation in the framework of PfP/, cooperation in the field of peace-keeping operations high-level meetings and expert consultations on a bilateral, trilateral or quadrilateral basis, within the framework of existing consultation mechanisms, in the following areas:
  • Defense industrial cooperation.
  • Coordination in the fields of military procurement and research and development (R+D).
  • Harmonisation of activities related to current questions of military upgrading.
  • Evolving cooperation in areas mentioned in the NATO Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI)
  • Preparation of a meeting of ministers of Defense of V4 in the Slovak Republic.
  • Continuation of the modernization MI-24 helicopter as well as the definition of the new modernisation projects.
  • Ad hoc joining of Ukraine, when ministers of defense of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland agree. This is mainly oriented on the negotiation of the V4 defense ministers related to the issue of the security policy, regional cooperation and military-technical cooperation.
  • To prepare a meeting of the director generals of the Ministries of Defense who are responsible for the security policy and international cooperation. The meeting should be focused on the exchange of views on the preparation of NATO summit and discussion about the possibilities of the procedures that the Slovak Republic should do shortly before and during the Summit in Prague.
  • To continue in the co-operation in the area of the personal policy as well as to prepare a meeting of the director generals of ministries of defence responsible for the military education and personal policy
  • Exchange of views on actual situation and aims of military forces reforms in the V4 countries.
  • Gradual integration of Slovakia into trilateral expert groups working within the framework of military cooperation among the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
    CULTURAL CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF CULTURE
  • Consultation and sharing of experiences about the implementation, adherence to and problems associated with the cultural norms developed by European integration organisations and transposed into the cultural legislation of member states.
  • Meetings of cultural ministers from V4 countries on a rotation basis. The 8th meeting of the V4 cultural ministers was organized on September 5-6, 2002 in Budapest. The 9th meeting of V4 cultural ministers will be organized in Levoča.
  • The next folklore festival will be held in Košice.
  • The V4 cultural ministers will elaborate the details of the Visegrad Prize.
  • Expert meeting on joint PR projects in the EU countries.
    EDUCATIONAL CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
    EDUCATIONAL CO-OPERATION
  • Consultations on the issue of further support of the bilingual grammar school in Čadca.
  • Co-operation with the International Visegrad Fund on the Visegrad Scholarship Program
  • Consultation on preparations for receiving funds from the European Social Fund /ESF/
  • Consultation on co-ordination of the contents of text books within the framework of the Council of Europe Program for Teaching 20th Century History:
  • Support of cooperation of V-4 universities within existing exchange program CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies).
  • In order to support the establishment of the Visegrad Scholarship Programme from academic year 2003/2004, the relevant ministries shall consider all the projects of the Visegrad Scholarship Programme as well as their implementation, relevant professional preparation and operation as of special significance in line with the V4 co-operation including overall approach to its external dimension.

    RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT:
  • Support of informal meetings of ministers responsible for science and technology V4 + Slovenia.
  • Expert consultation about the possible expansion of bilateral cooperation programs.
    CO-OPERATION IN YOUTH, SPORTS AND DRUGS ISSUES
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
    Youth:
  • Convening the Regional Youth Forum with the participation of governmental youth experts from Visegrad countries. Regional Youth Forum would be organized annually and the meetings would alternate between the different participating countries. Goals: the discussion of youth policy questions, further development of youth cooperation, discussion of the recommendations contained in the European Union White Paper on Youth Policy.
  • Regional training program for trainers in human rights in the framework of the Human/Children Rights Training Program of the Council of Europe.

    Sports:
  • Further development of the co-operation for young athletes of Visegrad countries in the field of the Competition of Olympic Hopes.
  • Experts consultation on sports policies of V4 countries and possible co-ordinated action in sports diplomacy regarding the EU, anti doping issues (WADA) and possible joint utilization of national sports centers in V4 countries.
  • Consultation of the V4 National Olympic Committees on closer co-ordinated actions in sport and areas of common interests.
  • In terms of the agreement of co-operation between the Paralympic Committees of the V4 countries, the first Visegrad swimming contest has taken place in Brno between 25-27 October 2002, in the framework of co-operation between non-governmental organizations. Drugs:
  • Follow-up discussions of national narcotics co-ordiators from V-4 countries and representatives of UNDCP.
  • Expert consultation on comparation of effectiveness of school preventive programs in V-4 countries.
    CO-OPERATION IN HOME AFFAIRS
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
  • Continuation of activities started within the framework of expert work panels focused on education, management and information systems in public administration.
  • Meeting of the Interior Ministry State Secretaries from V4 countries for reviewing and further strengthening the co-operation in improving the public administration systems of participating states.
  • Continuation of the co-operation in the field of crisis management. Meeting of the heads of crisis management of V4 countries, Austria and Slovenia.
  • Continuation of information exchange between the border control officials of V4 countries. Exchange of information and the discussion of views about the border controls in the region of the V4 countries and the Ukraine. Meeting of the directors of border polices of the V4 countries and Austria has already organised by Czech Republic, October 2-4, 2002.
  • Reviewing and revising the functioning of the Prague Information Exchange System (PIES) in order to further improve its viability (with the co-operation of Austrian partner-organization).
  • The expert meeting on practical and concrete question of cooperation between V4 and Ukraine in the area of illegal migration and asylum. The meeting has already organised in Slovak Republic, July 18-19, 2002.
  • Continuation of co-operation between the V4 countries and Austria in the already established working groups focused on fighting the international organized crime - theft of vehicles, smuggling weapons and nuclear materials, computer crime, corruption, smuggling human beings, extremism.
  • The meeting of the Ministers of Interior of the V4 countries and Austria will be held in Warsaw.
  • Second meetings of the heads of Police Forces and the heads of Border Control Forces will be organized with the topics of Schengen, fighting the terrorism and illegal migration.
  • Opening of experts consultations between the V4 countries and the countries of Benelux to the implementation of Schengen acquis with the regard to border protection against the illegal migration. Preliminary verification and co-ordination of tasks resulting from the two proposals prepared and published by the Schengen member states on controlling illegal migration.
    CO-OPERATION IN JUSTICE AFFAIRS
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
  • Keeping the tradition of ministerial meetings
  • Discussion topics: - The changing role of state organs responsible for administering justice - the judiciary-following political and economic transition and the emergence of alternative forums for arbitration.
    - Co-operation in criminal affairs, result and experiences from implementation of the conventions of the Council of Europe in the field of granting legal assistance and extradition into the national legislation, development of action plans to implement acquis in this field.
    - Harmonization of the legislation in the V4 countries in the filed of trafficking of people and sexual abuse of children.
    CO-OPERATION IN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF CONSTRUCTION AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  • Strengthening of the cooperation on the expert level.
  • Exchange of experience and coordination of common procedures of V4 towards the EU in the fields of transformation of the pre-accession tools of the EU towards structural funds.
  • Expert meetings of the future managing organs of the Community Initiative, especially INTERREG, (cross-border cooperation) with the aim on the common building of managing and regional structures with the active participation of the euroregions (as well as other subjects of the regional development).
  • Cooperation at the expert level in the field of the preparation on the assistance from the structural funds and Cohesion Fund, preparation of the Programming documents (National Development Plan, Operational Programmes, Single Programming Document) and negotiation with EU.
    CO-OPERATION IN TRANSPORT:
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, POSTS AND TELECOMUNICATIONS
  • The second meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the V4 countries as agreed at Visegrád on 19th October, 2001 will be organised by the Slovak Ministry of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications.
  • Meeting of the transport experts with the aim of facilitating the forwarding of trains taking part in combined transport.
  • Cooperation at the border-crossing points, exchange of information on using EU funds and on implementation of acquis communautaire.
    ENVIRONMENTAL CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
  • Regular consultations of the ministers of environment on actual questions of environmental policy with special attention to the EU accession process, the implementation of major international conventions and realization of sustainable development principles.
  • Regular ministerial meeting.
  • Cooperation in the field of current issues regarding sustainable development with special accent on enforcement of conclusions concerning the World summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (September 2002).
  • Co-operation in preparations for Pan-european Conference of Environmental ministers in Kyjev.
  • Enforcement of cross-border cooperation in the field of environment and water management.
  • Cooperation in the implementation of the Joint Environmental Program.
  • Development of environment related business contacts.

  • Consultations of experts in following topics:
    - Contribution of V 4-countries to the Paneuropean ministerial conference in Kyjev with special attention to the transboundary cooperation enhancing environmental security and to the future of the Environment for Europe process
    - Joining the EU - mutual exchange of the experiences concerning preparation for the EU structural funds.
    - Environmental communication
    AGRICULTURAL CO-OPERATION
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
    Veterinary field
  • Meeting of negotiation group members according to expertise in the veterinary field (animals health, food hygiene and food control, animal protection, laboratory diagnostic, border veterinary stations for purposes of experience exchange from transposition and implementation of veterinary EU standards to the national legislative, main problems, solving proposals. Meeting has already held, October 11, 2002 in Svidník.
  • Meeting of heads of the state veterinary and food administrations of the V4 countries and Ukraine. Meeting has already held, October 11, 2002 in Svidník.
  • Enlargement of cooperation within the Carpathian region and its veterinary subcommittee mainly in the field of mutual information on development of epidemiological situation in the area of several V4 countries, mutual cooperation in implementation of emergency veterinary measures, mutual cooperation in liquidation of emergency situations in the border regions.

    European integration
  • Meeting of negotiators of V4 countries for the Chapter 7 - Agriculture.

    Food industry
  • Cooperation in the field of identification methods for food falsification and authenticity.

    Economy/policy
  • Cooperation in the field of agrarian and food policy, comparison of research results in the field of agrarian market and its EU integration problems, exchange of science-technology information in the field of agrarian policy tools.
  • Exchange of information (commodity, situation and view reports, green report, etc.), which should help to improve information level on situation in agricultural resort of V4 countries.

    Forestry
  • To undertake common settlement on forestry and environmental protection issues. To create uniform platform in forestry sector within V4 countries.
    HEALTH ISSUES
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF HEALTH
  • The meeting of the Ministers of Health of V4 + Ministers of Health of Austria, Slovenia and Ukraine.
    FAMILY AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
    COORDINATOR: MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT, SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND FAMILY
  • Piloting probation (experiment) of the EU-EURES system within V4 (sector of employment).
  • Cooperation within the EU Interreg III and Equal Initiatives.
  • Cooperation of V4 countries and EU on methodology of the social protection statistics (ESSPROS) - establishing of working group, meetings once a year on rotation basis.
  • Consultative expert meeting on the question of free movement of labour force within the Visegrad countries.

    FINAL REMARKS
  • Based on the agreement between V4 presidents, the next presidential meeting was held on August 22, 2002 in Častolovice, the Czech Republic.
  • Meeeting of V4 Chairmen of parliaments will be held in Hungary.
  • Knowledge Based Economic Working Group has been established in Budapest on 21 September 2001. The Working Group worked out its action plan. The Working Group meets once a year on a rotation basis.
  • As regards the Working Group on Knowledge-based Economy, it is of outstanding importance for the Working Group to establish the common web portal of the V4 in 2002 where members may publish their achievements reached through the initiative and may present their culture and history to the world and their jointly developed prospects of their joining the EU.

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