The reshaping of the Europe is ultimately about securing a harmonious and peaceful development in our continent.
Finland supports the priorities defined for and the extent of the assistance provided by the G 24. Our approach is based on the long tradition and relative importance of economic cooperation with all Central and Eastern European countries. Our experience has taught us to avoid rigid, stereotype approach and to respect the differences of the countries concerned.
However, the support for the reforms and the transition in Central and Eastern Europe requires wide international cooperation and division of work within the international community and international organizations serving it. In this context I would like to express our appreciation for the coordination work performed by the Comission of the European Communities.
The dialogies initiated in the OECD as well as the strengthening of role of the ECE in priority areas will contribute to this end. The basis for these activities is laid in the concluding document of the Bonn Conference in economic cooperation, which also recognizes the central role and particular significance of the CSCE as an instrument of promoting stability and peaceful change. An appeal for coordination to avoid dublication and to ensure the maximum effectiveness in the promotion of economic reforms can be found in this document.
The particular strength of the Group of 24 lies, further to the coordination of efforts on the national level, in channelling multilateral operative assistance in priority areas and in doing that, responding to the specific requests of the recipient countries. The question for us here is how to make this operative assistance influence in the most effective way the change and performance of the Central and Eastern European economies.
The actual pursuit, not only the commitment, of these countries, to pluralistic democracy and their comprehensive efforts to set up competitive market economies are fundamental for the success of our common task. External assistance can at best act as a catalyst for each nation's own effort to regenerate its economy. It should be accompanied by concerted actions to create the necessary legal administrative and social framework for competitive economies.
In our activities both here within the Goup 24 and in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative in the form of specific projects have been considered particularly important.
This important activity should, however not divert our attention from issues that are today even more vital for Central and Eastern European countries, if more demanding for us. I am referring to the need to create appropriate infrastructure, to reduce the debt burden, to avoid the ecological disaster, to remove the obstacles to trade and finally to diminish the costs of the social consequences of the transition process.
Financial flows for infrastructure must be secured, from multilateral or bilateral sources. That is a precondition for the good functioning of the private sector which relies largely on external investments. Ecological security necessitates profound changes in cultures, more efficient international institutions and cooperation beyond the scope of governmental actions all over our continent. We share the views on the needs for both short and longer-term action expressed in the Action Plan but forward by the Commission.
Improved access to our markets is inevitable in order to improve in a permanent way the external trade balance of the Central and Eastern European economies as it is rightly underlined in the Action Plan. It is equally inevitable that these countries continue to trade among themselves although under a new and more dynamic set of rules. We should not submit to the assumption that the changes in the trade regimes of the CMEA member countries will automatically lead to declining trade.
In the field of trade as in several other fields, new steps are envisaged by the EFTA, countries, based on the recent declarations of cooperation with Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. Close contacts between the EC and the EFTA countries would be important in these endeavours.
As far as Finland is concerned, guidelines for a comprehensive programme in support to the Central and Eastern European countries are being worked out by the Government. An important part of this programme is devoted to environmental cooperation and projects in our neighbouring areas, the Soviet Union and the Baltic Sea area, to training in various fields, to investment promotion and to the extension of export and investment quarantees to all Central and Eastern European countries.
In this context I would like to recall that my government, as it has been previously stated, has on June 4 signed a protocol with Hungary about a credit of 100 million US dollars for the support of the structural adjustment process and economic reconstruction in Hungary as a parallel operation to the medium-term loan provided by the European Communities and some of the G-24 members.
As far as the current multilateral actions within the G-24 are concerned, I would like to state the following measures Finland has agreed to take since the first G-24 Ministerial meeting in December last year: Finland is prepared to participate in the investment data bank for Central and Eastern Europe, to associate itself to the TEMPUS Programme and the European training Foundation and to the regional Environmental Centre in Budapest for Central and Eastern Europe.