The UK government has appointed the Public Policy Unit to help ten
eastern European states prepare for European Union membership.
Public affairs agency PPU was appointed without a pitch by the Foreign
Office’s Know How Fund. This was set up by the UK government in 1989 to
give advice and practical support to east European states in their
transition from communism to democracy.
Charles Miller, a PPU director, said the agency would offer advice to
ministers and civil servants from the ten countries, in areas such as
the EU legislative process; the implications of assimilating EU laws
into national constitutions and, more generally, on ‘how to make
Brussels rules work for you’.
‘Inevitably the countries are at a different state of readiness for
membership,’ said Miller. ‘It is not just a matter of assimilating EU
legislation within their own systems. Those states with weaker economies
will need longer transitional periods.’
Miller said another key issue faced by civil servants and government
officials in post-communist countries was the transition from state-run
to privatised industry.
He said the PPU programme had already kicked off with a special seminar
for the Hungarian Ministry of Industry, and several courses for cross
Miller, who stressed the PPU’s appointment was an example of how
lobbying firms were diversifying, said he anticipated that the agency
would in future win work from Phare, the European Commission programme
which assists east European states in their bid to join the EU.
The ten countries involved in the PPU programme are: Lithuania, Latvia,
Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Bulgaria and Rumania.
All ten hope to obtain EU membership by around the year 2000.