The Council of Ministers of the European Union has adopted the new TACIS Regulation, which constitutes the legal basis for the TACIS programme for the period 1996 to 1999. The TACIS programme is an EU initiative which provides grant finance for know-how to foster the development of market economies and democratic societies in the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union and in Mongolia. This new Regulation continues the commitment of previous Regulations, re-emphasizing the provision of grant finance for the transfer of know-how as the core activity of the TACIS programme. The most important new themes in the Regulation are: - Multiannual programming: increased flexibility and project concentration through four-year indicative programmes for each partner country. A financial reference amount of ECU 2,224 million for the implementation of the programme has been established for the period 1996 to 1999; - Reinforced conditionality, in particular regarding respect for democracy and human rights; - Enlarged scope of the TACIS programme to include the funding of small-scale, cross-border infrastructure projects and equity investment in SMEs. Allocations to these two items will not exceed 10% of TACIS funds; - Increased cross-border cooperation - along the Russia/Finland border, between Central and East European countries and the NIS, and between the NIS countries; - Reduced ceiling for direct agreements from ECU 300,000 to ECU 200,000; - More transparent tendering procedures. The new Regulation will shortly be published in full in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan