On 14 March 1995, the Commission adopted a communication on the industrial implications of Central and Eastern Europe's integration into the global European economy, and in particular how industrial cooperation can contribute to the facilitation of this process. The communication focuses on those Central and East European countries which have already concluded Europe Agreements with the Union or which are shortly expected to do so (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, the three Baltic republics and Slovenia). Although major successes have been achieved in macroeconomic reform and privatization, the stage of development is very different from one country to another. Industry continues to have very considerable restructuring/ modernization needs, which are unlikely to be satisfied without foreign investment, transfer of technology and know-how in cooperation with EU industry. The EU has already made an important contribution to the transition process through: - Europe Agreements which aim at free trade and offer a broad platform for cooperation in virtually all areas affecting the economy; - The Essen European Council conclusions, which aim to encourage regional cooperation for the promotion of economic progress; - EU assistance, and industrial and R&D cooperation. The future strategy should continue to follow three priority objectives: - The improvement of framework conditions for industrial development; - The privatization, restructuring and modernization of industry; - The promotion of investment (e.g. through synergies with other operators, like EBRD and EIB). Three types of instruments should be used to achieve these objectives: - The Europe Agreements provide the basic orientation for the Union's assistance policy, within which technical and financial assistance under PHARE will increasingly be a major tool. Priority areas of action should be: . Exploitation of the institutional set-up of the Agreements, such as the joint committees; . The White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries for integration into the internal market; . Quality management: standards/certification; . Legal/administrative investment framework; . Support to the privatization, modernization and restructuring of industry; . Promotion of business links, cross-border cooperation and investment; . Training of company managers and administration officials; . Supporting factors for industrial development: competition, trade, environment and energy. - Scientific and technological cooperation should be further encouraged to maintain Central and Eastern Europe's R&D potential and to facilitate East-West flows of technology and know-how in areas of Central and East European excellence. Central and Eastern Europe should also be associated to the EU's move towards the global information society. The Commission will organize a forum on the information society with Central and East European countries in 1995. - Stronger mobilization of EU industry is another key element to achieve industry modernisation. To stimulate the private sector's closer involvement in the transition process, a partnership with the private sector should be envisaged as a complement to the assistance programmes. EU industry needs to be more closely implied in a constant information and consultation process with the Commission, and the inter-industry dialogue between Central and Eastern Europe and the Union needs to be enhanced at various levels.
Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia