Author Archives: Alaister Lemacks

The CAP towards 2020

The CAP towards 2020

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The CAP towards 2020

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > General framework

The CAP towards 2020

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 18 November 2010 – The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future [COM(2010) 672 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication identifies the challenges facing agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the coming years. These challenges have been identified based on past experience, the current economic situation and an extensive public debate organised in 2010.

Through this Communication, the Commission is launching themes for consideration, relating to the future of the CAP. It proposes to adapt the current CAP objectives to the new challenges which have been identified. In particular, the emphasis should be on strong, quality agricultural production, on protecting natural resources and on maintaining the agricultural sector in all EU territories.

Lastly, the Commission explains which instruments would enable the fixed objectives to be met. These instruments should enable the CAP to be greener, fairer, more efficient and more effective.

OBJECTIVES

Food security

Global demand will continue to increase in the coming decades. The EU must be in a position to respond. It is essential that the EU maintains and increases its production capacity.

European citizens want high quality and a wide choice of food products, reflecting high safety, quality and animal welfare standards. A strong agricultural sector is vital for the highly competitive food industry to remain an important part of the EU economy and trade (the EU is the leading world exporter of mostly processed and high value added agricultural products).

Natural resources

Agriculture can put pressure on the environment (water pollution, soil depletion, water shortages and loss of wildlife habitats), but it can also have positive effects (climate stability, biodiversity, landscapes and resilience to flooding).

The EU shall endeavour to limit the negative effects of agriculture and to encourage its positive contributions. The future CAP shall promote energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, biomass and renewable energy production and, more generally, innovation.

Balanced territorial development

Agriculture remains an essential driver of the rural economy in the majority of EU countries. It is necessary to maintain a competitive and dynamic agricultural sector which attracts young farmers in order to preserve the vitality and potential of rural Europe.

INSTRUMENTS

Direct payments

In order to achieve the objectives stated above, the Commission plans to adapt the direct payments system to ensure that payments are better distributed and targeted.

It is proposed that future direct payments should support farmers’ basic income through the granting of a basic decoupled direct payment, with an upper ceiling, targeting of ‘active farmers’, a simple support system for small farmers and the consideration of areas with specific natural constraints.

The Commission proposes to improve the grant criteria relating to the environment through a mandatory ‘greening’ component of direct payments targeted at agricultural practices which address climate change and environmental objectives (permanent pasture, green cover, crop rotation, ecological set-aside, etc.).

Market measures

The Commission specifies that the CAP should keep the overall market orientation of agriculture while also maintaining the management tools which have demonstrated the important role they play in times of crisis or disruption. In the coming years, certain agricultural markets must evolve, in particular the regime currently in place in the sugar sector which is due to expire in 2014/2015.

The Commission believes that more general measures must be taken in order to improve the functioning of the food supply chain, which should be more transparent and within which bargaining power should be more balanced.

Rural development policy

Lastly, the Commission highlights the importance of the rural development policy which the EU carries out through the CAP. It proposes to strengthen the environmental element and to improve coordination of this policy with other European policies.

The Commission proposes to focus on the competitiveness of agriculture by encouraging innovation, promoting good management of natural resources and supporting balanced territorial development balance by encouraging local initiatives.

As well as enhancing the promotion and quality optimisation tools, the Commission believes that a risk management toolkit should be included to deal more effectively with income uncertainties and market volatility.

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Document or Iniciative

Free trade agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part.

Summary

Under this free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Korea, the partners will progressively eliminate duties and import quotas applying to imports and exports of industrial and agricultural products. They will also introduce progressive liberalisation of services and investment.

The main objectives of this Agreement are:

  • to eliminate duties for European exporters of industrial and agricultural products;
  • to improve market access for EU service providers;
  • to abolish non-tariff restrictions in the electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors;
  • to improve market access for EU car manufacturers;
  • to improve access to government procurement markets;
  • to protect intellectual property rights;
  • to strengthen competition law;
  • to improve transparency;
  • to promote sustainable development;
  • to establish a rapid and effective dispute settlement system.

Elimination of tariff and non-tariff measures

The EU and Korea will progressively abolish customs duties applying to their trade in goods. This liberalisation applies to a list of goods (Annex 2-A).

In addition, the partners may not adopt any other types of import or export restrictions. However, they may provide for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health. In accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the partners shall minimise the effects of these measures on the development of trade.

Trade in services and right of establishment

The partners undertake to liberalise part of their offer of services in accordance with the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). They have therefore drawn up a list of commitments and limitations (Annex 7-A) concerning the liberalised service sectors.

Similarly, the Agreement defines the rules on the right of establishment for access to the market in services, and on the right of residence for professionals.

Lastly, the liberalisation of financial services may be restricted in order to protect the partners’ financial systems or to protect investors and individuals receiving these services.

Government procurement

The EU and Korea shall grant each other access to their markets in products and services, in compliance with the rules on openness, transparency and non-discrimination in the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement.

The rules applying to public works contracts are laid down in Annex 9 to this Agreement.

Dispute settlement

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the Agreement, the parties shall have recourse to extrajudicial dispute settlement mechanisms, particularly rapid arbitration and mediation procedures.

Sustainable development

The Agreement includes provisions establishing joint commitments and a framework for cooperation on trade and sustainable development and provides for dialogue and continuous commitment between the EU and South Korea in the areas of environment and employment.

Context

This free trade agreement is the most complete and the most ambitious agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. The strategy for a Global Europe: Competing in the world (BG) (CS) (ET) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (PL) (RO) (SK) (SL) envisages the development of this type of agreement in order to provide the EU with preferential access to external markets.

According to a recent study , this Agreement should make it possible to double bilateral trade over the next twenty years compared to a situation without an agreement in place.

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of animals at the time of killing

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Acte

Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.

Summary

This Regulation establishes rules applicable to the killing of animals kept for the production of food, wool, skin, fur, etc. It also lays down rules applicable to killing in emergencies and for the control of contagious diseases.

The rules established by this Regulation do not apply to animals killed as part of scientific experiments, hunting, cultural or sporting events and euthanasia practiced by a veterinarian, nor to poultry or rabbits killed for personal consumption.

Integration of animal welfare

This Regulation introduces standard operating procedures * for the welfare of animals at slaughter. Each operator * is responsible for establishing and applying these operating procedures in order to spare animals for slaughter as much pain, distress or suffering as possible.

In this context, operators should evaluate the efficiency of their stunning methods * using indicators based on the animals. Regular monitoring will ensure in particular that stunned animals do not regain consciousness before slaughter.

Manufacturers of restraining and stunning equipment should sell their equipment with instructions giving details in particular of the types of animals concerned and information on optimal use. Users must comply with manufacturers’ recommendations.

Moreover, an Animal Welfare Officer shall be appointed by the operator in each slaughterhouse. The Animal Welfare Officer is responsible for ensuring that the provisions of this Regulation are complied with. Small slaughterhouses shall be granted a derogation from this obligation.

Improving personnel competence

Slaughterhouse personnel dealing with live animals should possess a certificate of competence attesting that they have sufficient knowledge concerning animal welfare. The issue of the said certificate shall be subject to independent examination by an accredited body.

This Regulation also provides that Member States put in place a system of scientific support. This support will provide technical assistance for slaughterhouse inspection personnel as well as scientific assessments of new stunning equipment and new slaughterhouses. In addition, they shall be responsible for providing opinions on the capacity and suitability of the bodies which deliver the certificates of competence concerning animal welfare.

Depopulation

Emergency plans required by Community regulations on animal health (control of contagious diseases) should give details of the logistics procedures for slaughter in order to ensure that animal welfare is taken into account. Derogations to the said regulations will be granted when compliance with the provisions may have implications for human health or slow down the eradication of the disease. Furthermore, this Regulation improves the planning, monitoring, producing reports and the transparency of killing methods in the case of depopulation.

Technical requirements

A list of stunning methods shall be established in the Annex to the Regulation and shall describe the rules relating to and the context for the authorised use of each method. These methods should accompany scientific progress and take socio-economic questions into consideration. Moreover, technical changes could affect the construction, layout and equipment of slaughterhouses.

Context

This Regulation is also consistent with the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals that introduced the concept of animal welfare indicators.

This Regulation will replace Directive 93/119/EC on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing, which has never been amended despite scientific and technical developments.

Key terms of the Act
  • Standard operating procedures: a set of written instructions aimed at achieving uniformity of the performance of a specific function or standard.
  • Operator: any natural or legal person responsible for an undertaking which carries out activities covered by this Regulation.
  • Stunning: any intentionally induced process which causes loss of consciousness and sensibility without pain, including any process resulting in instantaneous death.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009

8.12.2009

OJ L 303 of 18.11.2009

Control of salmonella and other zoonotic agents

Control of salmonella and other zoonotic agents

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Control of salmonella and other zoonotic agents

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal health

Control of salmonella and other zoonotic agents

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents [See amending acts].

Summary

Salmonella and other zoonotic agents * cause animal diseases which are transmissible to humans.

The main animal species likely to transmit an infection or infestation are poultry and pigs for which Members shall establish control programmes. These programmes are developed in accordance with the provisions laid down in this Directive.

European Union action

The European Union (EU) is establishing rules concerning:

  • targets to reduce the prevalence of certain zoonoses in animal populations at the level of primary production * and, where necessary, at other appropriate stages of the food chain;
  • approval of specific control programmes;
  • adoption of rules on certain specific control methods;
  • adoption of rules on intra-European trade and imports of certain animals and animal products from non-EU member countries.

This Regulation does not apply to primary production for private domestic use or for direct supply in small quantities, by the producer, to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer. The Member States are to establish their own specific national legislation on these activities.

European Union targets

The EU is setting European targets in consultation with Member States in order to reduce salmonella and other zoonotic agents in poultry and pork. These targets concern primary production. They contain:

  • a numerical expression of the proportion of the animal population remaining positive;
  • the maximum time limit for achieving the target;
  • the definition of epidemiological units;
  • the definition of the testing schemes;
  • the definition of salmonella serotypes with public health significance.

The deadlines for establishing the European targets are:

  • 12 December 2004 for breeding flocks of Gallus gallus;
  • 12 December 2005 for laying hens;
  • 12 December 2006 for broilers;
  • 12 December 2007 for turkeys and herds of slaughter pigs;
  • 12 December 2008 for breeding herds of pigs.

A transitional period of three years may be applied for each animal population. Application of the national programmes commences 18 months after the respective deadline for setting the European targets.

The national control programmes

In order to meet the European targets, Member States must establish three-year national control programmes for each zoonosis to be controlled. They must define the measures to be implemented and submit their national programmes to the Commission within six months of the European targets being set. The Commission then has two months within which to request any further information. Within two months of receiving this information or six months of the programme being submitted, the Commission will establish whether it complies with the European provisions.

The national control programmes must cover at least animal feed production, primary animal production, and processing and preparation of foodstuffs *. The programmes will entail:

  • detection of zoonoses in accordance with minimum sampling and certain other specific requirements (Annex II of the Regulation). Testing for the presence of zoonoses will, in general, be by means of the methods and protocols recommended by international standardisation bodies;
  • defining the respective responsibilities of the competent authorities designated in each Member State;
  • defining the control measures to be taken in the event of zoonoses being detected, in the interests of public health protection; and
  • assessment of progress.

Food and feed business operators (or their representative organisations) may establish their own control programmes. As far as possible, these programmes must cover all stages of the food chain: production, processing and distribution. Such programmes may form part of a national control programme. Member States are responsible for keeping an up to date list of the approved food sector business operators’ control programmes and then regularly notifying the competent authorities of their results.

At the request of a Member State or of the Commission, it may be decided to establish the conditions of use for specific control methods. Some may even be excluded from the control programmes.

The poultry flocks * and herds of pigs * concerned are subject to zoonosis testing by 18 months at the latest following the respective deadline for establishing the European targets. The date and result of the tests will be entered in the health certificates for the animals or hatching eggs.

Intra-European trade

In the case of intra-European trade, the Member State of destination may require, for a transitional period that the results of the tests meet the same criteria as those applicable under the national control programme. The special measures in respect of export of live animals dispatched to Finland and Sweden continue to apply.

Imports from third countries

The provisions on imports of live animals and hatching eggs from third countries will apply at the latest 18 months following the deadline for establishing the European targets for each animal population.

Third countries shall present an equivalent control programme to that provided for in this Regulation. This is a pre-condition to being included on the list of third countries which are authorised to export products to the EU. The Food Veterinary Office shall verify the existence and effectiveness of the control programmes put in place by the third countries. In some cases, the Member State which imports products from a third country may require for a transitional period that the results of the tests meet the same criteria as those set by their own national control programme.

National laboratories

The Member States are responsible for designating national reference laboratories for the analysis and testing of zoonoses. These laboratories must apply quality assurance systems conforming to the requirements of the current EN/ISO standard. They must, in addition, collaborate with Community reference laboratories.

Key terms of the Act
  • Zoonotic agent: any virus, bacterium, fungus, parasite or other biological entity which is likely to cause a zoonosis.
  • Primary production: the production, rearing or growing of primary products including harvesting, milking and farmed animal production prior to slaughter. It also includes hunting and fishing and the harvesting of wild products;
  • Herd: an animal or group of animals kept on a holding as an epidemiological unit.
  • Foodstuff: any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans.
  • Flock: all poultry of the same health status kept on the same premises or in the same enclosure and constituting a single epidemiological unit; in the case of housed poultry, this includes all birds sharing the same airspace.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003

12.12.2003

OJ L 325 of 12.12.2003

DEROGATION FROM THE ACT

Regulation (EC) No 199/2009 [Official Journal L 70 of 14.3.2009].
This derogation applies until 3 April 2012 to poultry and turkey meat intended to be provided solely in small quantities to the end consumer or to the retail trade. This meat has not undergone any preservation processes other than refrigeration, freezing or deep freezing.

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1003/2005

1.7.2005

OJ L 170 of 01.7.2005

Regulation (EC) No 1791/2006

1.1.2007

OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1237/2007

25.10.2007

OJ L 280 of 24.10.2007

Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

7.8.2009

OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 2160/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purposes only.

RELATED ACTS

Commission Regulation (EC) No 798/2008 of 8 August 2008 laying down a list of third countries, territories, zones or compartments from which poultry and poultry products may be imported into and transit through the Community and the veterinary certification requirements [Official Journal L 226 of 23.8.2008].

Directive 2003/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, amending Council Decision 90/424/EEC and repealing Council Directive 92/117/EEC [Official Journal L 325 of 12.12.2003].

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Document or Iniciative

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature and provisional application of the interim agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement between Eastern and Southern Africa States on the one part and the European Community and its Member States, on the other part.

Summary

The European Union and the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) States have agreed on the provisional application of the interim agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

When the interim agreement enters into force, five of the ESA countries, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe, will be covered by the guarantee of a harmonised trade regime. They will be listed in Council Regulation 1528/2007 on the application of regimes provided for under Economic Partnership Agreements. However, Zambia did not table a European Union market access offer. This State continues to benefit from the Everything But Arms (EBA) regime, that implies the total suspension of Common Customs Tariff duties for all products, with the exception of arms and munitions.

The signature of an EPA was made necessary by the expiry in 2007 of the regime provided for by the Cotonou Agreement, on the safeguard clauses relating to trade measures, as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) waiver covering that regime. The EPA covers many areas targeted by the Cotonou Agreement. It generates stability for trade until a comprehensive EPA has been concluded.

This agreement provides the measures necessary to establish a Free Trade Area compatible with WTO requirements. Several products have been excluded from this liberalisation in order to protect the most sensitive sectors or emerging industries in these States.

These provisions concern in particular:

  • rules of origin;
  • non-tariff measures;
  • trade defence measures;
  • trade dispute avoidance and settlement;
  • fisheries and development;
  • administrative and institutional cooperation.

The agreement is to be implemented in line with ESA development strategies, and the partners undertake to cooperate to strengthen the regional integration process of African countries. The scope of the interim agreement will be extended according to the results of negotiations concerning the comprehensive EPA.

An EPA committee made up of party representatives should be established and will be responsible for monitoring the matters covered by the agreement.

Context

The conclusion of this interim agreement took place in several stages. Agreements were signed on 28 November 2007 with Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe, on 4 December 2007 with Mauritius and on 11 December 2007 with Comoros and Madagascar. This agreement is open to participation from all other States in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

Negotiations with a view to concluding a comprehensive agreement have been continuing since 7 February 2004 with the ESA States, in line with the Directives adopted by the Council on 12 June 2002. Ministers from the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region and representatives of the Commission of the European Union, meeting in Brussels on 28 February 2007, gave joint conclusionson the state of these negotiations.

References And Procedure

Proposal

Official Journal

Procedure

COM(2008) 863 final

Related Act

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 23 October 2007 on Economic Partnership Agreements [COM(2007) 635 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Further information can be obtained from the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for External Trade.

Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity

Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity

1) Objective

To assess progress on implementing the action plans for reinforcing candidate countries’ administrative and judicial capacity and to review fulfilment of the commitments made in the accession negotiations.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 5 June 2002 on the Action Plans for administrative and judicial capacity, and the monitoring of commitments made by the negotiating countries in the accession negotiations [COM (2002) 256 final – not published in the Official Journal]

3) Summary

The existence of adequate administrative and judicial capacity in the candidate countries is essential if they are to be able to implement and enforce the acquis from the time of accession. Such capacity is also a key factor for the success of the enlargement process.

The European Commission has been monitoring candidate countries’ administrative and judicial capacity since 1997. In its 2001 enlargement strategy paper, it undertook to launch action plans for reinforcing the capacity of each country taking part in the accession negotiations. Implementation of these plans has been under way since early 2002. The Communication assesses the work that has been completed on this front and the progress achieved in implementing commitments made in the accession negotiations.

In 2002, the plans are supported by special financial assistance of 250 million. Since administrative and judicial capacity has to be adapted to the evolving requirements of the acquis, a process that will continue after accession, the Commission proposes to maintain this assistance via a transition facility amounting to a total of 380 million. It will cover actions not eligible for the Structural Funds.

The action plans

The Accession Partnerships have served as the point of departure for the action plans for reinforcing administrative and judicial capacity. All priorities from the Partnerships that are related to the strengthening of this capacity have been included in the actions plans.

The action plans bring together for each priority:

  • the commitments made in the accession negotiations;
  • the implementing measures envisaged;
  • the Community assistance that is already under way or planned, and any supplementary assistance that will be provided for institution building under the Phare programme;
  • the monitoring activities required to assess each country’s preparation.

The following issues are covered in the action plans:

  • issues relating to the political Copenhagen criteria: strengthening of the public administration, reform of the judicial system, development of an anti-corruption capacity, respect for human rights and the protection of minorities;
  • issues relating to the Copenhagen economic criteria: development of land markets and land property registers, compliance with bankruptcy legislation, development of a favourable business environment, reform of the financial sector, and reform of the public finance management system;
  • issues relating to the smooth functioning of the internal market: compliance with the competition rules, reinforcing transport structures, reinforcing the capacity of tax and customs administrations, and establishing or reinforcing regulatory authorities in the areas of transport, energy, telecommunications, postal services and broadcasting;
  • issues relating to ensuring sustainable living conditions: strengthening the structures for the management of the common agricultural policy, reinforcing administrative structures in the fisheries field, setting up bodies to manage the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, strengthening the capacity to monitor and enforce environmental legislation, transport safety, nuclear safety and enforcing occupational health and safety rules;
  • issues relating to the protection of citizens: strengthening the judicial system, fighting corruption, developing the capacity to implement the justice and home affairs acquis, upgrading food processing establishments and inspections relating to food safety;
  • issues relating to the proper management of Community funds: strengthening structures for public financial control, and strengthening statistical capacities.

Enhanced monitoring

The action plans are accompanied by enhanced monitoring of negotiating countries’ commitments made in the accession negotiations. The reports on the progress towards accession by each country, published every year by the Commission, are complemented by monitoring activities included in the action plans (such as peer review).

This enhanced monitoring process has shown that most of the commitments made by the candidate countries are being met in accordance with the agreed timetables. However, further efforts are needed in certain areas. The Communication takes stock of progress on the various negotiating chapters, indicating whether they have been provisionally closed and with which country, and where transitional periods have been granted. Food safety and the management of Community funds are mentioned as still requiring particular attention.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective

Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective

The Commission reiterates the commitment of the European Union to the Western Balkans. It points the way forward to bring them closer to the EU and gives priority to support for strengthening the rule of law, good governance, judicial and administrative reform, and the development of civil society.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 5 March 2008 – Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective [COM(2008) 127 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission reiterates the commitment of the European Union (EU) to the Western Balkans. It points the way forward to bring them closer to the EU and to make their European perspective more visible and concrete by proposing new initiatives.

Moving closer towards the EU and enhancing regional cooperation have priority. In this respect, moving closer to the EU is based on observance of the Copenhagen criteria and the stabilisation and association process (SAP), including regional cooperation, good neighbourly relations and full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), achieving the priorities set out in the partnerships, and concluding and implementing stabilisation and association agreements (SAAs). Croatia, with which EU membership negotiations have started, sends a positive signal to the other countries of the region.

Each country has achieved progress, although at different rates. Regional cooperation is the responsibility of the countries of the region within the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), which succeeds the Stability Pact. Nevertheless, a certain number of challenges remain, such as good neighbourly relations, reforms (in particular, constitutional, institutional, judicial and police reforms), combating organised crime and corruption, minority rights, refugee return, infrastructure and the environment.

Each Member State decides on its relations with Kosovo following the latter’s declaration of independence in February 2008. The EU will support its development through an international civilian mission headed by an EU Special Representative, an ESDP (EULEX Kosovo) rule of law mission and support for economic and political development.

Promoting people-to-people contacts refers to both the populations of the region and their reconciliation and familiarising people with the EU by encouraging better knowledge of it. Cooperation between the countries of the region and the EU is intensifying in many areas (science, research, culture, education, youth and media) and is strengthened by the possibility for the countries to participate in certain Community programmes and agencies. In addition, an increasing number of Erasmus Mundus scholarships are allocated to students of the region. Cross-border cooperation also receives support, in particular under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

Furthermore, the visa-free regime, which is part of the preparations for EU membership and participation in the Schengen area, aims to facilitate mobility. Together with the readmission agreements, the visa facilitation agreements are the first step towards liberalisation. They will then be supplemented by bilateral dialogues and roadmaps, in accordance with the 2007 enlargement strategy.

The EU supports civil society development and dialogue to strengthen its role and enable it to participate to the full in the reform process. A new financing facility under the IPA aims specifically to support local initiatives and to consolidate the role of civil society, programmes bringing its actors into contact, and the partnerships and networks for the transfer of knowledge and experience. The Commission will also initiate dialogue with the various churches and religious groups.

Good governance is a key aspect of bringing the countries of the Western Balkans closer to the EU. Making progress in the area of justice, freedom and security is of crucial importance and in particular concerns: the fight against organised crime, corruption and terrorism; judicial and police reform; border management; regional and cross-border cooperation (Frontex); action in the field of asylum, immigration and visa policies; and cooperation with Europol and the Regional Centre for Combating Transborder Crime (SECI).

In this context, strengthening administrative capacity and developing human resources will benefit from the establishment of a Regional School of Public Administration as a basis for networks and cooperation with similar schools in the EU. Twinning and TAIEX and SIGMA programmes also offer a means of familiarising the administrations with the European law and standards in a large number of areas.

The framework for parliamentary cooperation between the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the region consists of the Joint Parliamentary Committees, meetings and the organisation of seminars and colloquia. The European Parliament is also considering supporting the RCC to strengthen cooperation.

As regards trade integration, the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), which has been in force since November 2007, aims to attract investment, foster intra-regional trade and integrate the region into global trading. In this way it supplements the trade integration initiated by the SAAs and the autonomous trade measures. Membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will support this process by forming a basis for fostering economic and trade reforms.

Furthermore, the introduction of the rule of diagonal cumulation of rules of origin in the region, including the extension of the Pan-Euro-Med diagonal cumulation scheme to the region, is also intended to boost trade and investment. The Commission is exploring ways to ensure a more rapid application of diagonal cumulation between the Western Balkans, Turkey, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU.

The region has to face various challenges with regard to economic and social development. These challenges concern competitiveness, the reduction of unemployment, labour market participation, infrastructure and the development of human and social cohesion, with due regard for sustainable development and continuing the achievement of the objectives of the Lisbon strategy. The cooperation will focus on three areas: micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), infrastructure and energy efficiency.

Financial support has been based since 2007 on the IPA. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will also increase its lending in various areas (transport, energy, SMEs, environment, municipal infrastructure, education and health). Coordination between the EU and the other donors is essential for ensuring the complementarity, coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of assistance. It is based in particular on a Memorandum of Understanding with the international financial institutions (IFIs) and a consultation mechanism on IPA programming. A donors’ conference for Kosovo is also planned to rationalise the assistance with a view to the socio-economic development of its communities.

Background

This Communication contributed to the ministerial meeting with the Western Balkan countries organised by the Presidency on 28 March in Brdo, Slovenia. The Commission invites the Council and Parliament to take its conclusions, which carry on from the Thessaloniki agenda and the Salzburg communication, in accordance with the 2007 enlargement strategy, into consideration.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

IRIS II

IRIS II

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about IRIS II

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

IRIS II

1) Objective

To promote equality of opportunity in vocational training, raise the profile of training for women, expand such training and establish and strengthen links throughout Europe.

2) Community Measures

IRIS II Programme (1994-1998)

3) Contents

Eligibility

The members of IRIS are vocational training organisations for women, employers’ or trade union organisations and companies which are organising continual vocational training with a focus on equality or which have undertaken positive action schemes which include training.

IRIS II focuses on five priorities:

  • identifying and disseminating expertise in training for women;
  • including within the IRIS network (as membersassociates) the social partners and training organisations;
  • establishing a national organisation in each Member State to stimulate vocational training for women;
  • encouraging intra-Community exchanges of information about good practice;
  • establishing synergy with schemes carried out by the ESF and the European Commission Task Force on Human Resources.

IRIS II activities in 1994

  • establishing closer links with the employers and trade unions in both the public and private sectors;
  • opening up Community training programmes to all IRIS members;
  • wider scope for putting forward projects;
  • organisation of awareness-enhancement sessions on training for women, aimed at Community decision-makers;
  • creation of a “target group” of important journalists in each Member State with an eye to special media campaigns and specific action at Community level;
  • organisation of a competition open to people who have found work after having completed a training course organised by a member of IRIS;
  • organisation of European, national and regional IRIS seminars;
  • IRIS reference projects can apply for a publicity grant to organise an exhibition or to produce publicity material;
  • research on the priority topic for the year to strengthen initiatives undertaken by the network on teaching methodologies and the development of qualifications;
  • organisation of a summer school for training staff;
  • production of a basic information package on the various aspects of teaching to be used in the training of training staff;
  • establishment of an information service for projects wishing to improve their evaluation techniques;
  • planned exchanges for training staff, group and company visits, and publication of an information brochure about such visits;
  • organisation of a contact seminar for IRIS members, visits to determine the feasibility of partnerships and a partnership information exchange;
  • development of sub-networks covering specific topics at the request of IRIS members;
  • presentation of an IRIS diploma to trainees having undergone training as part of a reference project;
  • aid and assistance, provided by an IRIS member in each country, in the use of electronic mail.

European coordination of IRIS II has been entrusted to

the CETEC Consortium. This joint venture is coordinated by CREW (Centre for Research on European Women) in Brussels and comprises ACEREP (France), DIMITRA (Greece), CREW (Belgium), DONNALAVORODONNA (Italy), VIA (Belgium) and WETT (United Kingdom). These organisations have been selected because of their specific skills and in order to form a transnational structure which is capable of managing the future development of the network and to respond even better to the new needs of its members.

Duration

IRIS II covers a period of four years (1994-1998).

Budget

The annual budget of IRIS is ECU 1 million.

Communications support

The IRIS Bulletin (twice a year) will publish analytical articles dealing with topical aspects of training for women, case studies and interviews.

The current series of “IRIS special dossiers” will continue to be published.

4) Deadline For Implementation Of The Legislation In The Member States

Not applicable.

5) Date Of Entry Into Force (If Different From The Above)

6) References

7) Follow-Up Work

8) Commission Implementing Measures

 

Internalisation of external transport costs

Internalisation of external transport costs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internalisation of external transport costs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Bodies and objectives

Internalisation of external transport costs

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 8 July 2008 “Strategy for the internalisation of external costs” [COM(2008) 435 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Transport users have to pay the costs related to the use of their mode of transport (fuel, insurance, etc.). Such costs are considered private in the sense that they are paid directly by the user. Transport users also generate external costs, negative externalities (delays as a result of congestion, health problems caused by noise and air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.), which they do not bear directly and which have a cost to society as a whole. The sum of the private and external costs of transport gives its social
cost.

Internalisation involves reflecting the external costs in the price of transport. However, only a price based on the total social costs will take account of the services used and the consumption of resources. The aim is to make users more aware of the costs they generate and to encourage them to change their behaviour in order to reduce them.

Instruments

The main economic instruments for internalising external costs are taxation, tolls and CO2 emissions trading. However, each external cost has specific characteristics which require the use of appropriate instruments. Some external costs relate to the use of infrastructure, vary according to time and place and are highly localised (congestion, noise, accidents and pollution). This justifies the use of differentiated charging which takes these variations into account. Other external costs, such as climate change, are global and a result of energy consumption. It is therefore more appropriate to use an instrument directly linked to that consumption, such as a fuel tax.

The Commission points out that ensuring that the internal market continues to function properly, a basic principle of the European Union (EU), is essential. Consequently, it must avoid overcharging as this could hamper freedom of movement. Fragmentation of the market must also be avoided. Setting commonprinciplesfor all Member States, together with a monitoring system, should prevent any discrimination and ensure market transparency.

General principles for internalisation

The accepted general principle for the internalisation of external transport costs is “social marginal cost charging”. According to this approach, transport prices should correspond to the additional short-term cost generated by one extra person using the infrastructure. Charging based on the additional costs imposed on society would help ensure fair treatment of both transport users and non-users and would create a direct link between the use of shared resources and payment on the basis of the “polluter pays” and “user pays” principles. The Commission proposes common principles and a common methodology for calculating the external costs of congestion, air pollution, noise and climate change.

As it would be difficult for one internalisation mechanism to be applicable to all forms of transport, the Commission anticipates that the same principle will be applied using different instruments.

Road haulage sector

The Commission proposes revising the “Eurovignette” Directive (see related acts) in order to enable internalisation of external costs. Furthermore, the Commission will propose an Intelligent Transport System Action Plan aimed at increasing the use of technology. Finally, the Commission is to adopt Decisions to implement interoperability of electronic toll systems, as provided for in Directive 2004/52/EC.

Urban mobility

Following the debate launched by the publication of the Green Paper on urban transport, the Commission will start to implement actions on sustainable urban mobility.

Passenger cars

A proposal on passenger car related taxes is under discussion. In particular, it provides for the restructuring of existing taxes in order to take CO2 emissions into account.

Rail transport

Directive 2001/14/EC already allows internalisation of external costs, under certain conditions. Moreover, the Commission has published a Communication on noise reduction measures (see related acts).

Air transport

The Commission put forward a proposal to include CO2 emissions from the aviation sector in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) and is drawing up another proposal aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Finally, as part of the “airport package”, the Commission put forward a Directive on airport charges, which could include differentiated charging on the basis of environmental damage.

Maritime transport and inland waterways

The Commission may put forward a proposal to include the maritime sector in the ETS. With regard to inland waterways, the Commission points out that the internalisation of external costs could revitalise inland waterway transport, given the energy efficiency of this mode of transport.

Use of revenue

The Commission points out that there is a considerable need for funding to make transport sustainable (research, innovation, infrastructure, development of public transport, etc.). It believes that revenue generated by internalisation should be earmarked for the transport sector and the reduction of external costs.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 July 2008 on “Greening Transport

[COM(2008) 433 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 July 2008 on “Rail noise abatement measures addressing the existing fleet”
[COM(2008) 432 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
As part of measures to tackle noise pollution, the Commission is putting forward a proposal to launch a programme to reduce noise pollution generated by freight trains. In order to encourage railway undertakings to proceed with retrofitting wagons, the Commission considers putting in place noise-differentiated track access charges, in particular. In the course of the recast of Directive 2001/14/EC, the Commission will propose legal requirements for the implementation of such charges, following the principle that infrastructure charges can take account of the cost of the environmental impact of train operations.

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 July 2008 amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures
[COM(2008) 436 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The revision of the “Eurovignette” Directive should enable Member States to internalise costs related to pollution and congestion caused by heavy goods (external costs). They will also be able to integrate an amount which reflects the cost of air and noise pollution caused by traffic and the cost of congestion imposed upon other vehicles into tolls levied on heavy goods vehicles. The amounts will vary depending on the Euro emission category, the distance travelled, the location and time of use of roads. Member States must use the revenue gained in this way on projects related to developing sustainable transport. The charge must be collected through electronic systems which do not create hindrance to the free flow of traffic or local nuisance at tollbooths. Moreover, the scope of the Directive is intended to extend beyond the trans-European transport network.

Radiological protection for persons undergoing medical examination or treatment

Radiological protection for persons undergoing medical examination or treatment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Radiological protection for persons undergoing medical examination or treatment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Threats to health

Radiological protection for persons undergoing medical examination or treatment

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 97/43/Euratom of 30 June 1997 on health protection of individuals against the dangers of ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure, and repealing Directive 84/466/Euratom.

Summary

This Directive repeals Directive 84/466 Euratom laying down basic measures for the radiation protection of persons undergoing medical examination or treatment. It also supplements Directive 96/29/Euratom.

Objective and scope

Medical exposure continues to constitute the major source of EU citizens’ exposure to artificial sources of ionising radiation. However, the use of ionising radiation has allowed great progress in many areas of medicine. It is therefore essential that practices involving medical exposure are carried out in optimised radiation protection conditions. This is also the objective of this Directive.

The Directive applies to the following types of exposure:

  • exposure of patients as part of their own medical diagnosis or treatment,
  • exposure of individuals as part of occupational health surveillance,
  • exposure of individuals as part of health screening programmes,
  • exposure of individuals voluntarily participating in medical research programmes,
  • exposure of individuals as part of medico-legal procedures.

Justification

Medical exposure must show a sufficient net benefit compared with the individual detriment that the exposure might cause, taking into account the benefits and risks of available alternative techniques.

All individual medical exposures must be justified in advance, taking into account the specific objectives of the exposure and the characteristics of the individual involved. Cases of medical exposure for biomedical and medical research must be examined by an ethics committee, set up in accordance with national procedures and/or by the competent authorities.
Special attention must be given to the justification of medical exposures for medico-legal purposes.

In general, exposure which cannot be justified should be prohibited.

Optimisation

All doses due to medical exposure must be kept as low as reasonably achievable consistent with obtaining the required diagnostic information.

Member States must promote the establishing and use of diagnostic reference levels for radiodiagnostic examinations, having regard to European diagnostic reference levels.

For each medical research project, Member States must ensure that:

  • the individuals concerned are participating voluntarily,
  • those individuals are informed about the risks of this exposure,
  • a dose constraint is established for individuals for whom no direct medical benefit is expected from this exposure,
  • in the case of patients who voluntarily agree to undergo an experimental diagnostic or therapeutic practice and who are expected to receive a diagnostic or therapeutic benefit from this practice, the target levels of doses shall be planned on an individual basis by the practitioner and/or prescriber.

Member States must ensure that dose constraints are established for exposure of individuals in contact with exposed patients. Instructions must be handed out before the patient leaves the medical institution.

Clinical responsibility

Member States must ensure that any medical exposure is effected under the clinical responsibility of a practitioner.

Procedures

Written protocols for every type of standard radiological practice must be established for each piece of equipment. In addition, recommendations concerning referral criteria for medical exposure must be made available to the prescribers of medical exposure.

Radiotherapeutic practices must be carried out with the assistance of a medical physics expert. For radiological practices, such an expert may be consulted on an advisory basis.

Clinical audits must be carried out in accordance with national procedures, and corrective measures must be taken where diagnostic reference levels are consistently exceeded.

Training

Member States must ensure that practitioners receive theoretical and practical training. Continuing training must be provided after qualification. Member States must also encourage the introduction of a course on radiation protection in the basic curriculum of medical and dental schools.

Equipment

Member States must take steps to avoid the unnecessary proliferation of radiological equipment. They must ensure that all radiological equipment in use is kept under strict surveillance regarding radiation protection, that an up-to-date inventory is available to the competent authorities, and that appropriate quality assurance programmes are implemented by the holder of the installation. Acceptance testing must be carried out before the first use of all equipment, and thereafter performance testing on a regular basis, and after any major maintenance procedure.

The competent authorities must ensure that the holders of radiological installations take the necessary steps to improve inadequate or defective features of the equipment.

In the case of fluoroscopy, examinations without an image intensification or equivalent techniques are prohibited. Moreover, fluoroscopic examinations without devices to control the dose rate shall be limited to justified circumstances.

Special practices and protection

Appropriate radiological equipment, practical techniques and ancillary equipment must used for medical exposure:

  • of children,
  • as part of a health screening programme,
  • involving high doses to the patient.

Special attention must be given to the protection of women during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.

Accident prevention

Member States must ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to reduce the probability and magnitude of accidental or unintended doses to patients.

Estimates of population doses

Member States must ensure that the distribution of individual dose estimates from medical exposure is determined for the population and, where necessary, for relevant reference groups.

Inspection

Member States must ensure that the provisions introduced in compliance with this Directive are enforced by means of an inspection system.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 97/43/Euratom

09.07.1997

13.05.2000

OJ L 180 of 09.07.1997

Related Acts

Council Directive 89/618/Euratom of 27 November 1989 on informing the general public about health protection measures to be applied and steps to be taken in the event of a radiological emergency [Official Journal L 357 of 7.12.1989]