Author Archives: Franklin Farell

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, freedom and security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Justice, freedom and security

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security

Justice, freedom and security

The area of freedom, security and justice was created to ensure the free movement of persons and to offer a high level of protection to citizens. It covers policy areas that range from the management of the European Union’s external borders to judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters. It includes asylum and immigration policies, police cooperation, and the fight against crime (terrorism, organised crime, trafficking in human beings, drugs, etc.).

The creation of the area of freedom, security and justice is based on the Tampere (1999-04), Hague (2004-09) and Stockholm (2010-14) programmes. It derives from Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which regulates the “Area of freedom, security and justice”.

Justice, freedom and security Contents

  • Free movement of persons, asylum and immigration: The Schengen area and cooperation, Schengen Information System, Free movement of European citizens within the Union, Penetrating external borders, Visas, Asylum, Immigration, Rights of non-EU country nationals, Illegal immigration, Return, Relations with non-EU countries
  • Judicial cooperation in civil matters: Civil and commercial rights, European contract law, Law applicable to contractual obligations, Non-contractual obligations, Judicial network in criminal and civil matters, Jurisdiction, Recognition and enforcement of decisions, Maintenance obligations
  • Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: Eurojust, European network of points of contact, Mutual recognition, European arrest warrant, War crimes
  • Police and customs cooperation: Police cooperation, Europol, Maintaining public order and safety, Customs cooperation, Agreements with non-EU countries
  • Citizenship of the Unión: Active citizenship of the Union, Municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand, European elections: the right to vote and to stand, Diplomatic and consular protection
  • Combating discrimination: Combating racism, xenophobia and antisemitism, Gender equality, Social measures for target groups
  • Fight against terrorism: Prevention, Finance, Protection, Pursuit, Response, Access to and exchange of information, Action plans
  • Fight against organised crime: Fight against organised crime, Prevention of criminality, Gun running, Cybercrime, Money laundering, Environmental protection, Economic and financial criminality
  • Fight against trafficking in human beings: Experts group on trafficking in human beings, Child protection, Protection of women
  • Combating drugs: Anti-drug strategy, Drug trafficking, Drug production
  • Justice, freedom and security: enlargement: Enlargement, Applicant countries and the Community acquis

See also

Fundamental rights within the European Union
Fight against fraud

Competition in transport

Competition in transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Competition in transport

Topics

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

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Competition in transport

Competition within the transport industry enables citizens to benefit from efficient and cheaper transport. Free competition also acts as a driving force to open up European networks and therefore gives investments and the network a continental dimension. In this context, the European Union is focusing on regulating this competition through legislation applicable to each mode of transport and a framework for State aid.

ANTITRUST LEGISLATION

Transport by rail, road and inland waterway

  • Competition in transport by rail, road and inland waterway

Maritime transport

  • Freedom to provide maritime transport services
  • Freedom to supply services, competition, unfair pricing practices and free access to ocean trade
  • Exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies (“consortia”)

Air transport

  • Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules
  • Exemptions from consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports

STATE AID LEGISLATION

Transport by rail, road and inland waterway

  • Public passenger transport service by rail and road

Maritime transport

  • Community approach to State aid for transport by sea
  • State aid to shipbuilding (I)
  • State aid to shipbuilding (II)

Air transport

  • Guidelines on State aid for developing regional airports

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

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

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Document or Iniciative

Commission White Paper of 28 March 2011: “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” [COM (2011) 144 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In this White Paper, the Commission sets out to remove major barriers and bottlenecks in many key areas across the fields of transport infrastructure and investment, innovation and the internal market. The aim is to create a Single European Transport Area with more competition and a fully integrated transport network which links the different modes and allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight. To this purpose, the roadmap puts forward 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade, explained in detail in the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the White Paper.

The White Paper shows how we can achieve the transformation of our transport system, keeping our objective to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 % by 2050 through:

  • developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems;
  • optimising the performance of multimodal logistic chains, including by making greater use of more energy-efficient modes;
  • increasing the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure use with information systems (including SESAR and Galileo) and market-based incentives (such as the application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles).

It also sets ten goals to guide policy and measure our progress inter alia on:

  • phasing out conventionally fuelled cars and trucks from cities by 2050;
  • shifting 30 % of medium and long distance road freight to other modes by 2030;
  • using cars for less than half of middle distance travel by 2050; or
  • halving road traffic deaths by 2020 and achieving near-zero casualties in road transport by 2050.

In order to implement the above goals, a genuine single European transport area needs to be established by eliminating all existing barriers between modes and national systems, easing the process of integration and facilitating the emergence of multinational and multimodal operators. A single European transport area would facilitate the movement of EU citizens and freight, reduce costs and improve the sustainability of EU transport. A transformation of the current European transport system will only be possible through a combination of initiatives at all levels and covering all transport modes.

In air transport, the initiatives include the completion of the Single European Sky, the deployment of the future European air traffic management system (SESAR), as well as revising the Slot Regulation to make more efficient use of airport capacity. In rail transport, the initiatives include the development of a Single European Railway Area, opening the domestic rail passengers market to competition, and establishing an integrated approach to freight corridor management. In maritime transport, the European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers should be further developed into a “Blue Belt” of free maritime movement both in and around Europe, with waterborne transport being used to its full potential. In road transport, the initiatives include the review of the market situation of road freight transport as well as the degree of convergence on road user charges, social and safety legislation, transposition and enforcement of legislation in EU countries.

The Commission also proposes initiatives concerning e-Freight, the EU approach to jobs and working conditions across transport modes, security of cargo and land transport. Proposed initiatives also aim to improve the safety in all transport modes, including civil aviation safety and the transport of dangerous goods.

Innovation is also paramount to this strategy and the EU recognises the need to promote the development and use of new technologies. The Commission therefore proposes a regulatory framework for innovative transport, including:

  • appropriate standards for CO2 emissions of vehicles in all transport modes;
  • vehicle standards for noise emission levels;
  • public procurement strategies to ensure rapid up take of new technologies;
  • rules on the interoperability of charging infrastructure for clean vehicles;
  • guidelines and standards for refuelling infrastructures.

One of the White Paper’s top priorities is to complete the trans-European transport network: TEN-T. This is essential for creating employment and economic growth because the network aims to provide a seamless chain linking all modes of transport – air, rail, road and sea.

Finally, to promote sustainable behaviour in EU transport, the White Paper puts forward the following initiatives:

  • promote awareness of alternative means of transport (walking, cycling, car sharing, park & ride, intelligent ticketing);
  • review and develop vehicle labelling for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency;
  • encourage carbon footprint calculators, allowing better choices and easier marketing of cleaner transport solutions;
  • include eco-driving requirements in the future revisions of the driving licence directive;
  • consider reducing maximum speed limits of light commercial road vehicles, to decrease energy consumption and enhance road safety.

Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention

Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention

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

Fight against fraud > Anti-fraud offices

Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention (COCOLAF)

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 94/140/EC of 23 February 1994 setting up an advisory committee for the coordination of fraud prevention [See amending acts].

Summary

The sound management of Community finances requires that fraud against the Community budget be effectively opposed. The Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, are responsible for adopting specific measures to afford effective protection to the Community’s financial and other interests. The Commission also has responsibilities arising from its task of ensuring that the Community budget is properly implemented.

This decision sets up an Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention (Cocolaf) The Committee is chaired by a representative of the Commission. It consists of two representatives from each Member State, who may be assisted by two representatives of the competent national authorities, as well as representatives from the Commission departments concerned. Working parties may be set up by the Committee in agreement with the Commission.

The Chairman may invite any person with special expertise to take part in the proceedings.

If necessary, the Commission may specify a time by which the Committee must deliver its opinion.

The Committee may be consulted by the Commission on any matter relating to:

  • the prevention and prosecution of fraud and all other illegal activities adversely affecting the Community’s financial interests;
  • cooperation between Member States or between Member States and the Commission to protect the Community’s financial interests;
  • protection of the financial interests of the Union including protection of the euro both note and coins against counterfeiting;
  • the legal protection of the financial interests of the Community, including the police and judicial aspects of the fight against fraud.

The members of the Committee may ask the Commission for the Committee to be consulted on any matter falling within its terms of reference. The Committee is convened by the Commission.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/140/EC 1.3.1994 Official Journal L 61 of 4.3.1994
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2005/223/EC 17.3.2005 Official Journal L71 of 17.3.2005

Notification of diseases

Notification of diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Notification of diseases

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

Food safety > Animal health

Notification of diseases

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 82/894/EEC of 21 December 1982 on the notification of animal diseases within the Community [See amending acts]

Summary

The Directive makes it obligatory for Member States to notify the Commission of an outbreak * as well as its eradication for certain contagious diseases so as to prevent their spread in Community livestock.

The Member States must notify:

  • the Commission and the other Member States within twenty four hours of both the primary outbreak and the withdrawal of the restrictions imposed after the eradication of the last outbreak and;
  • the Commission of any secondary outbreaks on the first working day of each week.

Close cooperation between the Member States is provided for so that the notification can be adjusted in line with technical requirements.

The Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

Key terms of the Act
  • Outbreak: the farm or the place, located on Community territory, where animals are kept together and where one or several cases have been officially confirmed.
  • Primary outbreak: any outbreak not epizootiologically linked with a previous outbreak in the same region of a Member State, or the first outbreak in a different region of the same Member State.

References

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

Directive 82/894/EEC

23.12.1982

01.01.1984

OJ L 378 of 31.12.1982

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

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003

05.06.2003

OJ L 122 of 16.05.2003

Subsequent amendments and corrections to Directive 82/894/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  has a purely documentary value”.

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

ANNEX I – Diseases which are subject to notification:
Decision 2004/216/EC [Official Journal L 67 of 5.3.2004];
Decision 2008/650/EC [Official Journal L 213 of 8.8.2008].

ANNEX II – Information to be given under the notification
Decision 2004/216/EC [Official Journal L 67 of 5.3.2004];
Decision 2008/650/EC [Official Journal L 213 of 8.8.2008].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2007/142/EC of 28 February 2007 establishing a Community Veterinary Emergency Team to assist the Commission in supporting Member States and third countries in veterinary matters relating to certain animal diseases [Official Journal L 62 of 1.3.2007].

Commission Decision 2005/176/EC of 1 March 2005 laying down the codified form and the codes for the notification of animal diseases pursuant to Council Directive 82/894/EEC [Official Journal L 59 of 5.3.2005].

Amended by:

Decision 2006/924/EC [Official Journal L 354 of 14.12.2006];
Decision 2008/755/EC [Official Journal L 258 of 26.9.2008];
Decision 2009/847/EC [Official Journal L 307 of 21.11.2009];
Decision 2010/160/EU [Official Journal L 68 of 18.3.2010].

Pollutants from large combustion plants

Pollutants from large combustion plants

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pollutants from large combustion plants

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

Environment > Air pollution

Pollutants from large combustion plants

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants [See amending acts].

Summary

This Directive applies to combustion plants (technical apparatus in which fuels are oxidised in order to use the heat thus generated) with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW, irrespective of the type of fuel used (solid, liquid or gaseous).

Its purpose is to limit the amount of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust emitted from large combustion plants each year.

It encourages the combined production of heat and electricity (cogeneration).

Combustion plants authorised between 1 July 1983 and 27 November 2002 and brought into operation no later than 27 November 2003 must comply with the emission limit values laid down in Part A of Annexes III to VII for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust.

Plants authorised after 27 November 2002 must comply with the emission limit values laid down in Part B of Annexes III to VII for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust.

The Directive also requires significant cuts in emissions at “existing plants”, i.e. plants authorised before 1 July 1987. These cuts are to be achieved by 1 January 2008:

  • by achieving compliance, plant by plant, with the emission limits applicable to plants authorised between 1 July 1983 and 27 November 2002 (Part A of Annexes III to VII), or
  • through a national emission reduction plan applicable to the total emissions of the plants it covers.

Member States must send the Commission their national emission reduction plan for existing plants by no later than 27 November 2003. These plans must contain objectives, measures and timetables for attaining them, and a monitoring mechanism. The Commission must publish guidelines to help the Member States draw up their national plans.

The Directive allows existing plants to be exempted from compliance with the emission limits and from inclusion in the national emission reduction plan on condition that the operator undertakes not to operate the plant for more than 20 000 hours between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015.

In addition, the Directive authorises derogations from compliance with the emission limit values for plants which burn specific types of fuel.

Member States must ensure that waste gases from combustion plants are discharged via stacks high enough to safeguard human health and the environment.

The methods for measuring emissions and the frequency of monitoring are set out in Annex VIII to the Directive. The same Annex contains the rules on establishing and keeping emission inventories for large combustion plants.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2001/80/EC 27.11.2001 27.11.2002 OJ L 309 of 27.11.2001
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Acts concerning the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia 1.5.2004 OJ L 236 of 23.9.2003
Directive 2006/105/EC 1.1.2007 1.1.2007 OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Related Acts

Proposal of 21 December 2007 for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (Recast) [COM(2007) 844 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 2003/507/EC of 13 June 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone [Official Journal L 179 of 17.7.2003].
This Protocol seeks to cut emissions of sulphur, NOx, NH3 and VOC caused by human activity and capable of damaging human health and the environment through processes of acidification, eutrophication and tropospheric ozone formation resulting from long-range transboundary transport.

Commission Recommendation 2003/47/EC of 15 January 2003 on the guidelines to assist a Member State in the preparation of a national emission reduction plan further to the provisions of Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants [Official Journal L 16 of 22.1.2003].

Accession strategies for the environment

Accession strategies for the environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession strategies for the environment

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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

Accession strategies for the environment

1) Objective

Commission strategy on the incorporation of the environmental Community acquis into the legislation of the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

2) Community Measure

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe of 20 May 1998 on accession strategies for the environment: meeting the challenge of enlargement with the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

3) Contents

The Commission communication sets out the Union’s pre-accession strategy for the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). Its aim is to supplement the Partnerships for accession and to help the candidate countries improve their national programmes for the adoption of the Community acquis.

The Commission focuses on the environmental issues which affect the ten Central and Eastern European candidates, but not Cyprus, which will be dealt with in a separate document in view of the island’s special situation.

Enlargement of the Union to include the CEEC is an environmental challenge on a scale which cannot be compared to previous accessions. There is a large gap between levels of protection in the EU Member States and the CEEC. Full compliance with the Community’s environmental acquis will probably be achievable only in the long term. However, integration of these countries will provide a considerable increase in biodiversity within Europe in view of their vast areas of unspoilt nature.

The Commission has drawn up a special strategy within the framework of Agenda 2000. In its view, the candidate countries should define and start implementing realistic national strategies before accession to bring about gradual alignment in the long term. This strategy must include priority areas of action, key objectives to be attained by the date of accession, and timetables for the subsequent achievement of compliance. The communication therefore sets out details to be taken into account by the candidate countries when drafting their national policies.

The challenges to be met by the Central and Eastern European countries are of several kinds:

  • the legislative challenge: transposition of the environmental acquis requires a preliminary comprehensive analysis of the laws of the CEEC in order that priorities may be established;
  • the institutional challenge: the candidate countries need to strengthen their administrative structures, become more efficient and coordinate the departments responsible for managing environment policy;
  • the financial challenge: the formulation of financing strategies is essential and should be given immediate priority (region-wide estimates put the total investment costs of meeting the environmental acquis at EUR 100-120 billion).

The main sector-specific challenges:

  • air pollution: this is largely due to emissions from stationary sources (power plants and district heating installations). The first step must be to identify zones and agglomerations where EU limits are being exceeded; it is equally important to modernise refineries so that they comply with European standards;
  • waste management: steps for the approximation of legislation have accelerated in some countries since 1997 (national investment programmes, modernisation of incinerators);
  • water pollution: major investment programmes to improve drinking water quality and waste water management are under way in most of the countries; however, little progress has been made in transposing and applying the “nitrates” Directive;
  • industrial pollution control and risk management: this area needs special attention on the part of the candidate countries since they have numerous heavily-polluting industrial and energy production facilities (transposition and implementation of the “Seveso” Directive would considerably reduce the risk of serious accidents);
  • nuclear safety and radiation protection: all of the countries have recently adopted a basic law, which needs to be supplemented by additional legislation in order to ensure full transposition (this legislation is also required in countries which do not produce nuclear power).

The Commission has come up with a set of priority objectives which will help the candidate countries draw up their National Programmes for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA). These priorities must be determined on the basis of a detailed analysis of the environmental situation in each country. The Commission believes that all these countries have serious problems relating to:

  • air pollution;
  • water pollution;
  • waste management.

The candidate countries must fill in the gaps in their legislation and administrative rules to improve the environment while at the same time improving the economy and competitiveness. On this subject, the Commission’s 1997 Staff Working Paper “Guide to the approximation of the European Union environmental legislation” identifies the main problems faced by the candidate countries and describes the steps to be taken.

When developing their National Programmes, the candidate countries therefore need to consider:

  • how programmes to promote energy efficiency, cleaner technologies and waste minimisation and recycling can be integrated into their national economic and sectoral policies;
  • how industrial and agricultural production can be guided towards sustainable development;
  • how the environmental gains can be maintained during the transition period.

Application of the environmental acquis will require the creation of costly infrastructure for:

  • the supply of drinking water;
  • waste water management;
  • large combustion plants;
  • waste management.

Since it is generally less costly to introduce pollution reduction measures as an integral part of a new physical investment than to retrofit existing installations, Agenda 2000 states that “all new investments should comply with the acquis“. Community funding will be conditional on compliance with this requirement. The international financing institutions should be encouraged to apply this condition as well.

The candidate countries must themselves mobilise the resources they need to implement the environmental acquis. However, the Community and the Member States (bilateral programmes) have an important role to play.

The Commission has in particular intensified its efforts in the environmental sector through the Phare programme and by encouraging the candidate countries which so wish to participate in the Community financial instrument for the environment (LIFE).

Community pre-accession assistance for the environment has increased considerably since the year 2000, in particular through the instrument for structural policies for pre-accession (ISPA), which is concerned with the environment and transport.

To enable resources to be used efficiently, it is important to coordinate, focus and target outside aid. The Commission has therefore decided to broaden the dialogue and cooperation with the Member States and the international financial institutions. It will also provide both legal and administrative technical assistance and advice to the candidate countries regarding implementation of the environmental acquis.

Enlargement offers challenges and opportunities for the environment not only in the candidate countries, but for Europe as a whole. It should therefore be seen as part of the process of sustainable development by integration of environmental issues into all policy areas.

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

Not applicable

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

Not applicable

6) References

COM(98) 294 final
Not published in the Official Journal

7) Follow-Up Work

CommunicationCOM (2001) 304

Communication from the Commission of 8 June 2001 on the challenge of environmental financing in the candidate countries.
The purpose of this communication is to help the candidate countries draw up credible financing plans and identify sources of financing for the necessary environmental investments. It starts by citing the key environmental directives requiring heavy investment (see Annex 1). It recommends that candidate countries start by deciding on their investment priorities, both between and within environment-related sectors. Criteria are set out for consideration during prioritisation. The communication tells candidate countries how to produce investment programmes. It also indicates the various sources of investment and how accessible they are.

8) Commission Implementing Measures

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

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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

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 27 January 2006: The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity [COM(2006) 27 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission presents an appraisal of the implementation of the Thessaloniki Agenda, adopted in 2003, by the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Western Balkans.

It also makes recommendations concerning the consolidation and continuation of progress, to be achieved on the basis of the stabilisation and association process and the Thessaloniki Agenda.

Such developments are likely to foster closer ties between the EU and these countries, particularly in relation to the European perspective.

Report on the implementation of the Thessaloniki Agenda

Most of the commitments made in relation to the Thessaloniki Agenda have been fulfilled, by both the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans.

Political dialogue and cooperation on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) have been consolidated, in particular with regard to the alignment of the countries in the region on the common positions, approaches and declarations under the CFSP. An EU-Western Balkans political forum has been established and bilateral political dialogues have been extended to all countries in the Western Balkans.

The EU supports the strengthening of the institutions and the development of the economic and commercial structures in the countries of the region, in particular by encouraging their participation in Community programmes and agencies, and in the European Charter for Small Enterprises and the development of preferential trade measures. A dialogue between the Commission and each of the countries in the Western Balkans on economic issues is pursued on a regular basis.

Progress has also been achieved in the fields of justice, freedom and security, mainly thanks to Community support.

The EU pursues its peacekeeping and conflict-prevention missions in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the CFSP and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). It also actively supports the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (MINUK) and cooperates closely with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.

However, further efforts are still needed on matters concerning the return of refugees, reconciliation through education and, more generally, social and cultural development. Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is also still of fundamental importance.

Considerable progress still to be made

The Commission underlines the need to support trade and investment and also economic and social development. In this context, the reform process already under way to ensure the proper functioning of the markets and of competitiveness provides the basis for, and a necessary complement to, economic and political stability. Economic and commercial integration depends in particular on:

  • the negotiation of stabilisation and association agreements (SAA) and the autonomous trade measures applied by the EU to imports from the region;
  • the creation of a zone of diagonal cumulation of origin between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans which have concluded an SAA;
  • the development of regional commercial integration;
  • the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO);
  • the participation of the countries of the Western Balkans in calls for tender organised within the framework of the pre-accession instruments;
  • support for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • the promotion of social integration and employment, and also of social dialogue and the fight against exclusion.

The citizens of the Western Balkan countries, with the exception of Croatia, must have a visa to enter EU territory. The Commission plans to present draft mandates to the Council in 2006 for the negotiation of facilitation agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans. The agreements will be linked to the conclusion of readmission agreements with the same countries.

Furthermore, specific measures encourage exchanges for students and researchers from third countries, including two Directives dating from December 2004 and October 2005.

The Commission wishes to familiarise the people and institutions of the Western Balkans with the European agenda.

For instance, participation in Community programmes and agencies should foster the further integration of this region into the EU and the exchange of know-how and good practices.

It is essential for the administrative authorities to be prepared for European integration in terms of administrative and legal capacity in order for them to conform rapidly with Community legislation. Provision for this is made by twinning (the secondment of experts and advisers from the Member States to the administrative authorities of the countries concerned for a long period), through the support provided by the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX) or under the customs and fiscal assistance programmes (CAFAO).

Various international players show wide-ranging commitment to regional cooperation through, for example, structures such as the Stability Pact. Although there has been some progress, regional cooperation challenges still need to be met in European policy fields in which the Western Balkan countries are becoming progressively involved, namely:

  • justice, freedom and security. The fight against organised crime and border management are dealt with as priorities, particularly through the consolidation of the cross-border cooperation capacity of police and customs, and through the enhancement of regional prosecutor cooperation in organised crime cases and corruption-related crimes;
  • parliamentary cooperation;
  • energy. The Treaty between the EU and the partner countries of the region establishing the Energy Community was signed in October 2005. It provides a single framework for regulating energy with the aim of fostering energy networks involving the countries of the region and other international partners;
  • cooperation on land and air transport;
  • the environment. The countries in the region are part of the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme, currently being developed, and of the Balkan Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (BERCEN);
  • the protection and defence of cultural heritage.

The Commission proposes widening the civil society dialogue to include all the countries of the Western Balkans, thus going beyond the civil society dialogue proposed for the candidate countries (European Council of December 2004 and Communication (2005) 290 final of 29 June 2005). The EU therefore proposes in-depth political and cultural dialogue with the countries of the region, involving the active participation of civil society.

Background

Issues of fundamental importance for the future of the region are still to be settled, such as the status of Kosovo and the constitutional reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.

Vocational training

Vocational training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Vocational training

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

Vocational training

Citizens must be able to acquire the skills, knowledge and competences required of them in today’s knowledge-based economy. Vocational education and training (VET) plays a key role. European cooperation in VET aims to ensure that the European labour market is open to all. Based on the Copenhagen process, it consists of the development of common European frameworks and tools that enhance the transparency, recognition and quality of competences and qualifications, as well as facilitate the mobility of learners and workers. The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are the main bodies involved in supporting cooperation in VET.

VOCATIONAL TRAINING

  • Priorities for vocational education and training (2011-2020)
  • The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training
  • A new impetus for cooperation in vocational education and training
  • Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)
  • European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET
  • European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)
  • European Qualifications Framework
  • EUROPASS – Serving citizen mobility
  • EUROPASS-Training
  • Education and training in the nuclear energy field
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Official feed and food controls

Official feed and food controls

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Official feed and food controls

Topics

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

Food safety > Animal nutrition

Official feed and food controls

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules. [See Amending Acts].

Summary

This Regulation is designed to fill in the loopholes in the existing legislation concerning the official control of food and feed thanks to a harmonised Community approach to the design and implementation of national control systems.

The purpose of this Regulation is:

  • to prevent or eliminate risks which may arise, either directly or via the environment, for human beings and animals, or reduce these risks to an acceptable level;
  • to guarantee fair practices as regards trade in food and feed and the protection of consumers’ interests, including labelling of food and feed and any other form of information intended for consumers.

Official controls are defined as “any form of control performed by the competent authority or by the Community for the verification of compliance with feed and food law, as well as animal health and animal welfare rules”.

This Regulation does not apply to official controls for the verification of compliance with the rules on common market organisations agricultural products.

OBLIGATIONS RELATING TO OFFICIAL CONTROLS

The basic principles related to responsibilities of the Member States’ authorities are already laid down in the Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, which lays down the general principles of food law. The present regulation describes in more detail how these principles must be interpreted and implemented.

The official controls carried out by the Member States must enable them to verify and ensure compliance with national and Community rules on feed and food. To this end, official controls must in principle be carried out at any stage of production, processing and distribution of feed and food. These controls are defined as a function of the identified risks, the experience and knowledge gained from previous controls, the reliability of the controls already carried out by the business operators concerned, and a suspicion of possible non-compliance.

Competent authorities

The Member States designate the competent authorities responsible for performing the official controls. These authorities must satisfy the operational criteria ensuring their effectiveness and their impartiality. They must also have the necessary equipment and suitably qualified staff (areas specified in Annex II) and have contingency pans. Internal or external audits may be carried out to ensure that the competent authorities are achieving the objectives of the Regulation.

When some of the controls are delegated to regional or local authorities, it is necessary to ensure effective cooperation between the central authority and these authorities.

The competent authority may delegate certain control tasks to non-governmental bodies provided these bodies meet the strictly defined conditions set out in this Regulation. Hence a procedure is therefore provided to define the tasks that can (or cannot) be delegated to such bodies. The adoption of coercive measures may not be delegated. The competent authority may proceed to audit or inspect the bodies to which the tasks have been delegated.

Transparency and confidentiality

The competent authorities must ensure that relevant information they hold is made available to the public, notably when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that food or feed may present a risk for human or animal health.

The staff of the competent authorities are required not to disclose information acquired when carrying out their control duties which by its nature is covered by professional secrecy.

Sampling and analysis

The methods of sampling and analysis used within the context of official controls must be fully validated in accordance with Community legislation or with internationally accepted protocols. These analysis methods must take into account the criteria set out in Annex III and must be implemented by laboratories approved to this end in compliance with the standards laid down by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).

Intervention plans

Contingency plans must be prepared which set out the measures to be implemented in the event of an emergency where feed or food have been found to pose a serious risk to humans or animals either directly or through the environment. These contingency plans specify the administrative authorities to be engaged together with their powers and responsibilities.

Controls on products from Non-EU Member Countries

This regulation supplements the provisions set out in Directive 97/78/EC concerning controls applicable to feed and food of animal origin. For example, it introduces the following principles for feed and food of non-animal origin:

  • regular official controls by the Member States of feed and food of non-animal origin imported into the European Union (EU). These controls can take place at any point of the distribution of the goods: before release for free circulation or afterwards, e.g. at the importer’s premises, during processing or at the point of retail sale. There shall in any way be a close co-operation between the customs services and the competent authority;
  • at Community level, a list of at-risk feed and food must be established and updated. Such feed and food must be presented at specially designated and equipped inspection posts for the carrying out of the necessary checks. These controls must be carried out at the point of entry in the EU before the goods are released for free circulation.
  • the possibility of carrying out official controls on feed and food originating in Non-EU Member Countries which enter into free zones and free warehouses or is placed in transit, customs warehousing, inward processing, processing under customs control or temporary admission.

The abovementioned controls include at least a documentary control, an identity control and, where relevant, a physical control.

In the case that non-compliance with the legislation is ascertained, the products may be seized or confiscated, and shall be destroyed, submitted to a special treatment, or re-dispatched outside the Community; the operator responsible for the consignment in question shall be liable for the costs incurred.

Specific pre-export checks performed by a Non-EU Member Country may be approved provided they satisfy the requirements of the Community or requirements which are at least equivalent. If such an approval is granted, the frequency of the controls carried out by the Member States may be adapted.

Financing of official controls

Member States must ensure that adequate financial resources are made available for official controls.

Inspection fees are imposed on feed and food business operators, common principles must be observed for setting the level of such fees and the methods and data used for the calculation of the fees must be published or otherwise made available to the public.

When official controls reveal non-compliance with feed and food law, the extra costs that result from more intensive controls must be borne by the feed and food business operator concerned.

Certification

This proposal provides for a procedure making it possible to specify the cases and conditions in which official certification must be granted.

Reference laboratories

A number of Community Reference Laboratories (CRLs) have been established (Annex VII) under Community legislation in force. They may be entitled to EU financial support and are responsible for:

  • providing national reference laboratories with details of analytical methods;
  • organising comparative testing, coordinating within their area of competence the practical and scientific activities necessary for developing new analytical methods;
  • conducting training courses;
  • providing scientific and technical assistance to the Commission.

For each CRL, Member States must ensure that one or more national reference laboratories are designated. These function as the point of communication between the CRL and all the official laboratories in the Member States.

ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES

Assistance and cooperation

When the official controls require action by more than one Member State, the competent authorities must afford each other administrative assistance. This assistance may involve active cooperation, including participation in on-the-spot controls carried out by experts from one Member State in another Member State.

Each Member State must designate a single liaison body whose role is to assist and coordinate the communication, transmission and reception of requests for assistance. Where it receives a reasoned request (existence of a serious risk), the liaison body contacts the authorities concerned and ensures that the requesting authority is provided with all necessary information and documents enabling the latter to verify compliance with the law.

When the competent authority of a Member State receives information from a Non-EU Member Country, that authority must pass that information on to the competent authorities of the Member State which might be interested in it.

Administrative assistance applies to the exchange of all information, except that which cannot be released because of it being the subject of legal proceedings or because it may adversely affect the commercial interests of natural or legal persons.

National Control Plans

The Member States must prepare an integrated multi-annual national control plan. This plan, whose implementation must begin by 1 January 2007 at the latest, sets out the national control system and activities in a global and comprehensive way. The plan will have to be developed along the lines that are contained in guidelines to be established by the Commission in consultation with the Member States.

One year after starting the implementation of the national control plans, and subsequently every year, the Member States must submit to the Commission a report indicating an update of their initial control plan. The Commission must establish a general report on the overall operation of the official control systems on the basis of the national reports and the results of the audits which it has carried out. It passes this report on to the European Parliament and the Council and publishes it.

Community controls in the Member States

Until now, Community controls in the Member States were organised in function of the mandates the Commission has in the different sectoral Directives.. The creation of a single legal basis with this Regulation and the establishment of control plans will allow the EU control services to perform a general audit of the Member States’ control systems globally. If needed, these inspections and national audits performed by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) can be supplemented by more specific audits and inspections for a particular sector or problem. For each control carried out, the Commission establishes a report on its findings and, where appropriate, this report contains recommendations which must be followed up by the Member States.

This Regulation also provides that Commission experts may carry out controls in Non-EU Member Countries and require that these countries have control plans comparable with those of the Member States in respect of the products they export to the European Union. These plans must be technically and economically feasible taking account of specific situation of the Non-EU Member Country as well as the nature of the products exported to the Community.

Non-EU Member Country controls in Member States

Non-EU Member Countries which wish to export goods to the EU must provide the Commission with information on the organisation and general management of their health surveillance systems. If this information is not satisfactory, provisional measures may be taken by the Commission after consulting the country concerned.

The Commission must take account of the lists drawn up pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption. For other types of products the Commission may eventually draw up comparable lists or adopt other measures (certificates, special import conditions, etc.).

Training of control officials

There must be a Community framework for training control staff in the Member States in order to ensure a uniform level of the decisions taken by such staff Hence the Commission may organise training courses relating to legislation, control measures and techniques, the manufacture, processing and marketing of food and feed.

Non-EU Member Country controls in the Member States

The authorities of Non-EU Member Countries may organise controls in the Member States, accompanied where appropriate by representatives of the FVO, who can assist Member States by providing information and data that are available at Community level and that may be useful in the context of the Non-EU Member Country control carried out.

National enforcement measures

Where non-compliance is ascertained during official controls, the competent authority concerned must take appropriate measures taking into account the nature of the non-compliance and that operator’s past record with regard to non-compliance. This may involve administrative measures (withdrawal from the market or destruction of a product, closure of a business or suspension of an establishment’s approved status, etc.) or penalties. These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Community enforcement measures

This regulation adds a new dimension to the safeguard measures provided for in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, hence allowing the Commission to take measures when there is proof that a Member State’s control system is inadequate. These may include the suspension of the placing on the market of certain feed or foodstuffs or the laying down of special conditions for certain feed or foodstuffs. These measures are taken if Community controls have shown non-compliance with Community legislation and the Member State concerned has failed to correct the situation upon request and within the time limit set by the Commission.

BACKGROUND

In January 2000 the Commission presented a complete overhaul of the legislation concerning food hygiene and veterinary issues. The overhaul contained four proposals, on the following subjects:

  • food hygiene;
  • the rules related to hygiene for food of animal origin;
  • official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption;
  • animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption ;
  • official controls of food and feed, which are the subject of this information sheet.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 882/2004

20.05.2004

OJ L 165 of 30.04.2004

Regulation (EC) No 1162/2009 [Official Journal L 314 of 1.12.2009].
Regulation (EC) No 1162/2009 grants additional time to laboratories located in slaughterhouses carrying out official testing for Trichinella to obtain full accreditation. The granting of the exception is subject to compliance with certain conditions. In particular, the laboratories in question must demonstrate that they have taken steps in view of their accreditation and offer satisfactory guarantees regarding the quality of the analyses they carry out.

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1029/2008

10.11.2008

OJ L 278 of 21.10.2008

Regulation (EC) No

596/2009

7.8.2009

OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2009/821/EC of 28 September 2009 drawing up a list of approved border inspection posts, laying down certain rules on the inspections carried out by Commission veterinary experts and laying down the veterinary units in Traces [Official Journal L 296 of 12.11.2009].
See consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 of 24 July 2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the increased level of official controls on imports of certain feed and food of non-animal origin and amending Decision 2006/504/EC [Official Journal L 194 of 25.7.2009].
See consolidated version