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The PHARE programme

The PHARE programme is one of the three pre-accession instruments financed by the European Union to assist the applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe in their preparations for joining the European Union.

Originally created in 1989 to assist Poland and Hungary, the PHARE programme currently covers 10 countries: the 8 new Member States: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as Bulgaria and Romania, assisting them in a period of massive economic restructuring and political change. Until 2000 the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) were also beneficiaries of PHARE. However, as of 2001 the CARDS programme (Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stability in the Balkans) has provided financial assistance to these countries.

PHARE’s total ‘pre-accession’ focus was put in place in 1997, in response to the Luxembourg Council’s launching of the present enlargement process. PHARE funds focus entirely on the pre-accession priorities highlighted in the Road Maps and the Accession Partnerships which establish the overall priorities the country must address to prepare for accession and the resources available to help them do so.

PHARE’s objectives are:

  1. Strengthening public administrations and institutions to function effectively inside the European Union.
  2. Promoting convergence with the European Union’s extensive legislation (the acquis communautaire) and reduce the need for transition periods.
  3. Promoting Economic and Social Cohesion .

These orientations were further refined in 1999 with the creation of SAPARD and ISPA, which took over rural and agricultural development (SAPARD) and infrastructural projects in the environmental and transport fields (ISPA) allowing Phare to focus on its key priorities that were not covered by these fields.

The aim of the Accession Partnership is to assist the authorities in the candidate country in their efforts to comply with the accession criteria. It covers in detail the priorities for accession preparations, in particular implementing the acquis, and forms the basis for programming pre-accession assistance from Community funds such as the Phare programme. Following the signing of the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 and the official integration of the country into the European Union on 1 May 2004, the accession partnership has come to an end and by the end of 2006 the implementation of the programme will be finished.

Besides in order to proceed with initiated strengthening of public administrations in those spheres, where assistance of Structural Funds is not available, Latvia will have tentative EU assistance named as Transition Facility.

More information...


The Transition Facility

The objective of the Transition Facility is to continue to provide assistance to the new Member States in areas where their administrative and institutional capacity still shows some weaknesses in comparison with present Member States. This assistance shall address the continued need for strengthening institutional capacity in certain areas through actions which cannot be financed by the Structural Funds.

In particular assistance is granted in the following areas:

  • justice and home affairs (strengthening of the judicial system, external border controls,
  • anti-corruption strategy, strengthening of law enforcement capacities),
  • financial control,
  • protection of the Communities' financial interests and the fight against fraud,
  • internal market, including customs union,
  • environment,
  • veterinary services and administrative capacity-building relating to food safety,
  • administrative and control structures for agriculture and rural development, including the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS),
  • nuclear safety (strengthening the effectiveness and competence of nuclear safety authorities
  • and their technical support organisations as well as public radioactive waste management
  • agencies),
  • statistics,
  • strengthening public administration according to needs identified in the Commission's
  • comprehensive monitoring report which are not covered by the Structural Funds.

This programme mainly supports Twinning and Technical assistance projects. Some projects may contain small equipment considered to be essential for and directly related to the implementation and enforcement of the acquis communautaure.

The commitment appropriations for the Transition Facility 2004-2006 in Latvia amounts approximately 23 million euro.

Latvian institutions obtained rights to submit proposals on circulated project fiches after the joining EU.

More information...

page last updated: 06.09.2013.
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