Author Archives: Gael Churchill

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Humanitarian aid


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

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid

The European Union is the world’s leading provider of humanitarian aid. This aid, which takes the form of financing, provision of goods or services, or technical assistance, aims to help prepare for and deal urgently with the crises which seriously affect populations outside the Union, whether these be natural disasters, disasters caused by human activity, or structural crises.
The Union’s action is based on the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and comprises three instruments: emergency aid, food aid, and aid for refugees and displaced persons. ECHO coordinates this action and cooperates closely with partners who implement aid on the ground, in particular the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.


  • European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
  • Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
  • Instrument for humanitarian aid
  • EU guidelines on the promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law
  • Promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law: Guidelines
  • Partnership with the United Nations: development assistance and humanitarian aid
  • Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations (2008-2012)
  • Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps
  • Strengthening the European disaster response capacity
  • Disaster and crisis response in Non-EU Member Countries
  • Civil Protection Mechanism
  • Financing of civil protection measures (2007-2013)
  • EU response to fragile situations
  • Disaster risk reduction in developing countries
  • Linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD)

Food aid

  • Humanitarian Food Assistance
  • Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices

Human rights

  • Children in EU external action


  • Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
  • ECHO Annual Report 2009
  • ECHO Annual Report 2008
  • ECHO: 2007 Annual Report
  • DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006
  • DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005
  • 2004 ECHO annual review
  • 2002 report on ECHO
  • 2001 report on ECHO

European Union institutions and bodies

  • European Parliament: Committee on foreign affairs
  • Council of the European Unión: Foreign affairs
  • European Commission: Humanitarian aid and civil protection, European External Action Service
  • Economic and Social Committee: External relations section
  • Committee of the Regions: Commission for citizenship, governance, institutional affairs and external relations (CIVEX)


Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides the following:

1. The Union’s operations in the field of humanitarian aid shall be conducted within the
framework of the principles and objectives of the external action of the Union. Such operations
shall be intended to provide ad hoc assistance and relief and protection for people in third countries who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, in order to meet the humanitarian needs resulting from these different situations. The Union’s measures and those of the Member States shall complement and reinforce each other.
2. Humanitarian aid operations shall be conducted in compliance with the principles of
international law and with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination.
3. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative
procedure, shall establish the measures defining the framework within which the Union’s
humanitarian aid operations shall be implemented.
4. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any
agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 and in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union.
The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States’ competence to negotiate in
international bodies and to conclude agreements.
5. In order to establish a framework for joint contributions from young Europeans to the
humanitarian aid operations of the Union, a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps shall be set up. The European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall determine the rules and procedures for the operation of the Corps.
6. The Commission may take any useful initiative to promote coordination between actions of the Union and those of the Member States, in order to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of Union and national humanitarian aid measures.
7. The Union shall ensure that its humanitarian aid operations are coordinated and consistent
with those of international organisations and bodies, in particular those forming part of the United Nations system.

State aid to shipbuilding

State aid to shipbuilding

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid to shipbuilding


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

State aid to shipbuilding (I)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 3094/95 of 22 December 1995 on aid to shipbuilding [See amending acts].


Regulation (EC) No 3094/95, which was the result of an agreement concluded in 1994 within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding normal competitive conditions in the commercial shipbuilding and repair industry, cannot enter into force until the agreement has been ratified by all the parties. Given the reluctance by the United States to ratify, the Council initially adopted Regulation (EC) No 1540/98 in its place. This Regulation has now expired and has been replaced by the link on state aid to shipbuilding.

Definition of some of the terms used in the Regulation (“shipbuilding”, “ship repair”, etc.).

Enumeration of the various types of aid and the conditions which must be satisfied for them to be judged compatible with the common market:

  • social assistance (when such aid is intended to cover the cost of measures for the exclusive benefit of workers who lose retirement benefits or who are made redundant or are otherwise permanently deprived of their employment in the respective shipbuilding, conversion or repair enterprise, when such assistance is related to the discontinuance of shipyard activities, bankruptcy, or changes in activities other than shipbuilding, conversion or repair);
  • research and development aid (when such aid relates to fundamental research, basic industrial research, applied research or development, provided the limits set by the Regulation are observed);
  • indirect aid (when this is given in the form of state loans and guarantees, as development assistance to a developing country or for the building or conversion of ships, provided the conditions laid down in the Regulation are observed).

Derogations in favour of Spain, Portugal and Belgium, whereby reconstruction aid granted in the form of investment assistance and any other aid for social measures not covered by the Regulation and granted after 1 January 1996 may be authorised, provided the conditions laid down in the Regulation are observed.

Possibility of considering other aid to be compatible in the particular cases listed in the Regulation.

Monitoring procedure:

  • obligation on Member States to give the Commission advance notice of any aid scheme or amendment of an existing scheme, any decision to apply an aid scheme to an undertaking or any individual application of aid schemes;
  • obligation on Member States to provide the Commission with various reports on aid, on the basis of which the Commission draws up an annual overall report to serve as a basis for discussion with national experts.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 3094/95 31.12.1995 OJ L 332 of 30.12.1995
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2600/97 23.12.1997 L 351 of 23.12.1997

Related Acts

Seventh Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2003) 232 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The countries or regions with the largest market shares in this sector are Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union. The sector is currently reeling from a deep crisis caused by three factors: past over-ordering, the global economic slowdown – and particularly the US slowdown – and the repercussions of September 11.

Order intake worldwide fell by 12.3% from 2001 to 2002, following a decrease of 20.7% between 2000 and 2001. European shipyards have, however, been the worst affected by this slump, with orders generally down 50% on 2001 and by over 70% compared to 2000. The hardest hit vessels are container ships and cruise ships. Only oil product tankers and bulk carriers have seen increased ordering, due to the replacement of old tonnage following new European Union maritime safety regulations and strong domestic demand in the Far East.

The main shipbuilding regions have, however, been affected in different ways: Japanese yards have the advantage of strong domestic demand, especially for bulk carriers; South Korea and China are battling for tanker contracts; and the European Union is only really active in the ferries and small tankers segment, where replacement needs are building up, although it is possible that Korean shipbuilders might try to further penetrate this market segment.

Prices: the statistics show that some categories of vessel are particularly affected by a major drop in market prices. Large container ships have seen their sales prices fall as a result of excessive price-cutting by Korean yards. The trend has been such that production costs have not always been covered. This is all the more surprising as the current weakness of the US dollar against the euro, won and yen should have led to an across-the-board increase in US dollar prices. Studies have also been carried out to investigate the relationship between the normal price, which is the full cost of production plus a profit margin of 5%, and the actual contract price charged by certain Korean shipyards. Given that production costs have risen in recent years, the gap between contract prices and normal prices has widened further. The studies are based on an analysis of several Korean yards and have revealed that the difference between the normal price and the contract price ranges from between -1% and -39%. All these results indicate a clear trend: Korean shipyards are trying to grab every order that appears in the market no matter the cost, despite assertions made to the contrary by the management of the different Korean groups. This strategy could be damaging if Korean yards fail to take certain factors into consideration, such as inflation and debt servicing, and major financial difficulties could ensue in the short term.

Sixth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2002) 622 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Following the breakdown of two rounds of talks conducted by the Commission (26-27 August 2002 in Seoul and 24-27 September 2002 in Brussels) the Commission had no choice but to initiate proceedings with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to start bilateral consultations with the Republic of Korea. At the same time a temporary defensive mechanism was authorised for certain market segments and for a limited period only.

The crisis in world shipbuilding is deepening with very slow order intake in the major shipbuilding regions in the first six months of 2002. The main reasons are past over-supply, slowing economies around the world and the effects of 11 September. Only Japanese yards still manage to fill building slots. However, this is helped a lot by domestic demand, in particular for bulk carriers, as has been long-standing practice in this region.

World-wide ordering of new ships in the first half of 2002 was down by almost two thirds compared to average quarterly figures in 2000, which was admittedly the best year ever for shipbuilding. In the EU the situation is even worse, with ordering down by almost 80% compared to 2000. Prices for new ships have declined further and are now at the lowest level for more than a decade. Yards in South Korea have further lowered offer prices despite increases in all major cost factors, and a number of Korean yards may find it difficult to meet their financial obligations if order intake is not increased soon.

Fifth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2002) 205 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The world shipbuilding market continues to face serious difficulties due to a substantial imbalance of supply and demand. Past expansion of shipyards, mainly in Korea, but now increasingly also in China, has led to price depression. Thanks to a historically high level of ordering in 2000, prices recovered to some extent, but the significant drop in orders in 2001 has led to a new reduction in prices. The year 2001 has been very problematic for the maritime industries worldwide: the recession in the United States and the terrorist attacks of 11 September have reduced the demand for sea trade and cruises respectively. The decline in ordering affected the container ship and cruise ship sectors most, leading to a drop in overall market shares for Korea and the EU, which are particularly strong in these segments.

The detailed cost investigations undertaken by the Commission show that certain Korean yards continue to price ships below cost while others are trying to improve their bottom line. Despite various rounds of talks with Korea, the Commission did not manage to convince the Korean authorities and yards to fully implement market principles and allow a shake-out of non-viable companies. An improvement in the market situation is therefore unlikely and the Commission has consequently proposed counter-measures to the Council, including preparing the ground for requesting a dispute settlement at the World Trade Organisation and the introduction of a temporary defensive mechanism for shipbuilding.

Fourth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2001) 219 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The year 2000 has seen a significant expansion in orders for new ships. Nearly 56% more orders were placed as compared to 1999, primarily benefiting South Korean shipyards, which have seen their market share increase again. EU yards also benefited considerably from the higher demand for ships, although orders for cruise ships probably played a dominant role here. In 2000 South Korea has consolidated its dominant position on the world shipbuilding market, accounting for more than 35 % of all tonnage ordered worldwide. If cruise ship orders are included, the market share for the EU and Norway is around 18 % (in cgt). However, if they are excluded from the overall figures, the market share of EU yards for new orders in 2000 is below 10 %. In 2000 prices for new ships are reported to have recovered in certain market segments from the very low levels seen after the Asian crisis in 1997.

Third Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2000) 730 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this report the Commission confirms the general trend highlighted in the second report of 18 May 2000, namely that, despite increased orders, ship prices have not on the whole recovered the ground lost since 1997. Prices continue to be depressed owing to the very low offer prices from yards in South Korea, which is now the biggest shipbuilding country in the world. Over the first eight months of 2000, its shipyards took more than 40% of all new orders. The Commission considers the stagnation in prices to be all the more alarming in that the European Union has drastically cut back state aid to shipbuilding. Despite the signing of the Agreed Minutes in June 2000 aimed at obtaining from South Korea firm commitments on non-intervention in the financing of shipbuilding, bilateral talks ended in failure. The Commission thus plans to:

  • continue its monitoring of the market situation;
  • examine the European industry’s complaint of October 2000 against Korean dumping, in order to deal with this problem under WTO rules;
  • remain open, at the same time, to any Korean proposals;
  • continue efforts to re-establish fair competition at international level;
  • encourage the International Monetary Fund to ensure that the restructuring of Korean shipyards is closely monitored;
  • continue to cooperate with the industry on competitiveness issues;
  • examine with the Council any possible action to address the problem.

Second Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2000) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report takes stock of the world shipbuilding market. The market is in crisis, with supply outstripping demand. Vessel prices are falling in the face of unbeatable competition from Korean yards, which are prepared to sell at a loss in order to ensure market share and cash flow. To address the problem, the European Commission obtained an agreement from the Korean authorities to restrict State financial intervention in the shipbuilding industry. The Commission also gathered evidence pointing to unfair competition, and a complaint may be filed under the Trade Barriers Regulation.

First Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (1999) 474 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report describes overcapacity on the shipbuilding market, with a marked imbalance between supply and demand caused mainly by South Korea’s increased capacity. Vessel prices were between 15 and 30% down on 1998 levels, stimulating demand and increasing the Korean yards’ market share. There were reasons to believe that Korean yards were offering vessels at below-retail rates.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1177/2002 of 27 June 2002 concerning a temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding [Official Journal No L 172 of 2.7.2002].

The commitments contained in the Agreed Minutes signed by the European Commission and the Government of the Republic of Korea on 22 June 2000 with a view to ensuring an effective price surveillance mechanism have not been effectively implemented by the Korean side and therefore a satisfactory result has not been obtained.

Consequently, despite the ban imposed by Council Regulation (EC) No 1540/98, the 2002 Regulation introduces a temporary defensive mechanism applicable to certain segments of the market (namely container ships and product and chemical tankers) for a short and limited period authorising support of 6% of contract value before aid. The aim is to enable Community shipyards to overcome unfair Korean competition. This Regulation expires on 31 March 2004.

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

Another Normative about State aid to shipbuilding


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

State aid to shipbuilding (II)

To remove the differences between the rules applicable to the shipbuilding industry and to those applicable to other industrial sectors.

2) Document or Iniciative

Framework on state aid to shipbuilding [Official Journal C 317 of 30.12.2003].

3) Summary


Since the early 1970s, state aid to shipbuilding has been subject to a series of specific Community regimes. This framework, which replaces Council Regulation (EC) No 1540/98, is designed to remove the differences between the rules applicable to the shipbuilding industry and those applicable to other industrial sectors. However, it takes account of specific factors affecting the shipbuilding sector, namely:

  • the nature of the world shipbuilding market (overcapacity, depressed prices, etc.);
  • the nature of ships as very large capital goods in respect of credit facilities;
  • the difficulty of applying the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on unfair trading practices to the shipbuilding sector;
  • the existence of agreements within the Organisation for Economic coordination and development (OECD) in the shipbuilding sector; this mainly concerns the 1994 Agreement on respecting normal competitive conditions in the shipbuilding and repair industry, which has not entered into force and which the OECD is in the process of replacing.


For the purposes of this Framework, the following definitions shall apply:

  • shipbuilding: the building of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels;
  • ship repair: the repair or reconditioning of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels;
  • ship conversion: the conversion of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels of not less than 1 000 gt, on condition that conversion operations entail radical alterations to the cargo plan, the shell, the propulsion system or the passenger accommodation;
  • self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels, including:

– vessels of not less than 100 gt used for the transportation of passengers and/or goods;
– vessels of not less than 100 gt for the performance of a specialised service (for example, dredgers and ice breakers);
– tugs of not less than 365 kW;
– fishing vessels of not less than 100 gt;
– unfinished shells of vessels.


Aid to shipbuilding includes aid to any shipyard, related entity, shipowner or third party which is granted, whether directly or indirectly, for the building, repair or conversion of ships.

The Framework provides for special measures in relation to investment aid for innovation, closure aid, export credits, development aid and regional aid.

Research, development and innovation aid

Aid granted to defray expenditure by shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion firms on R&D projects may be considered compatible with the common market if it complies with the rules laid down in the Community framework for state aid for research and development.

Aid granted for innovation in existing shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion yards may be deemed compatible with the common market up to a maximum aid intensity of 20% gross, provided that it contributes to the search for innovative products and processes.

Closure aid

Aid to defray the costs resulting from the total or partial closure of shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion yards may be considered compatible with the common market provided that the resulting capacity reduction is of a genuine and irreversible nature.

The costs eligible for aid are:

  • payments to workers made redundant or retired before the legal retirement age;
  • the costs of counselling services to workers made or to be made redundant or retired;
  • payments to workers for vocational retraining;
  • expenditure incurred for the redevelopment of the yard, its buildings, installations and infrastructure for use other than shipbuilding.

Companies receiving partial closure aid must not have benefited from rescue and restructuring aid in the past ten years. For further information, see the Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty.

Employment aid

Aid granted for the creation of employment, the recruitment of disadvantaged and disabled workers or to cover the additional costs of employing disadvantaged and disabled workers in shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion firms may be considered compatible if it complies with the substantive rules laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2204/2002.

Development aid and export credits

Aid to shipbuilding in the form of development aid or export credits may be considered compatible with the common market if it complies with the terms of the 1998 OECD Arrangement on Guidelines for Officially Supported Export Credits and with its Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Ships.

Regional aid

Regional aid to shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion may be considered compatible with the common market on condition that it fulfils the following conditions:

  • aid must be granted for investment in upgrading or modernising installations with a view to improving productivity and must not be linked to financial restructuring of the yards concerned;
  • in the regions referred to in Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty and in compliance with the regional aid map, the intensity of the aid must not exceed 22.5%;
  • in the regions referred to in Article 87(3)(c) of the EC Treaty and in compliance with the regional aid map, the intensity of the aid must not exceed 12.5 % or the applicable regional aid ceiling, whichever is the lower.

Aid must cover eligible expenditure as defined in the Community guidelines on regional aid.

Member States are required to submit annual reports to the Commission on all existing aid schemes. This Framework will be applicable from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2006 at the latest. It may be reviewed by the Commission during this period, in particular in the light of the Community’s international obligations.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

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

The financial framework of 2000-06

The financial framework of 2000-06

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The financial framework of 2000-06


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


The financial framework of 2000-06 (Agenda 2000)

The adoption of new financial provisions, which will enable the Union to face the dual challenge of the deepening of Community policies and enlargement of the Union, is a key element of Agenda 2000. It was mainly in response to the request made by the Madrid European Council (1995) that an in-depth analysis be undertaken of the financing system and a new financial framework for the Union proposed with a view to enlargement that the Commission launched “Agenda 2000”.

The financial package which was finally adopted in 1999 includes several decisions, the most important one being the decision on the new financial perspective (2000-06), which is an integral part of the new Inter-institutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure.

The framework for the development of Community expenditure with ceilings for major spending categories covering several years and adopted jointly by the Commission, Parliament and the Council has been a standard feature since 1988 (Delors I package). Since the 1993-99 financial perspective is to expire shortly, the approval of a new financial framework was one of the most urgent matters during the negotiations on Agenda 2000.

Continuing the approach put in place by the 1988 and 1993 Inter-institutional Agreements on budgetary discipline, the three institutions have undertaken, in the new Interinstitutional Agreement, to consider budgetary objectives contained in the financial perspective for each of the major categories of expenditure as strict spending ceilings.

The expenditure available under the financial perspective cannot, of course, exceed the amount of own resources available for the period in question. During the negotiations which led to the adoption of the new financial framework, the institutions were very much aware of the need to ensure sound management of public finances, while making it possible to finance essential requirements. The overall ceiling on own resources has thus been kept at 1.27% of gross national product (GNP) for the entire period 2000-06.

Financial perspectives

The expenditure figures in the financial perspective are well below this overall ceiling. The total for commitments will fall from 92.03 billion in 2000 to 90.66 billion in 2006. The corresponding amounts for payments are 89.60 billion and 89.62 billion i.e. in terms of GNP, a decline from 1.13% to 0.97 %.

This budgetary rigour will be reflected in the various headings of the financial perspective, where the common agricultural policy and structural action will continue to account for the bulk of expenditure.

Other Union priorities which have been allocated funding in the new multiannual financing programming reflect the Union’s higher profile on the international scene, the modernisation of the Community’s administration and the development of certain internal policies (trans-European networks, research and innovation, education and training, application of new environment-friendly technologies, small and medium-sized enterprises).

Budgetary discipline and the expected increase in GNP will suffice to cover the cost of enlargement of the Union within an own resources ceiling of 1.27% of the GNP of the enlarged Union. On the assumption that the first wave of enlargement will take place during the middle of the period covered by the financial perspective, these costs will initially take the form of increased pre-accession aid and will gradually come to be borne by the funds reserved for Community policies.

A table annexed to the Inter-institutional Agreement but separate from the financial perspective gives an estimate of expenditure from 2002 onwards in a Union with 21 Member States (EUR 21). An adjustment of the financial perspective to take into account the budgetary impact of the accession of new States will be made each time a new country joins.

Improvement of the budgetary procedure

Apart from the financial perspective, the new Inter-institutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure includes provisions to promote better cooperation between the institutions during the annual budgetary procedure.

The conciliation procedure had been broadened and solutions have been found to problems which were left unresolved by the 1993 Agreement, in particular the matter of classification of expenditure and the need for all budget items to have a legal basis. The Commission stated in its report on the implementation of the 1993 Inter-institutional Agreement that it would like to see these problems resolved.

All the Inter-institutional Agreements and Joint Declarations dealing with budgetary matters have been consolidated in the new Inter-institutional Agreement in accordance with the recommendations made by the Commission in its report.

Own resources system

The Inter-institutional Agreement and the financial perspective which it contains relate mainly to the “expenditure” side of the Community budget. The arrangements for financing this expenditure are laid down in the “own resources decision”.

Since the 1988 own resources decision was adopted, the Community has four categories of revenue: customs duties, sugar and isoglucose levies and agricultural duties (traditional own resources), VAT, and the GNP-based resource. Under the 1994 own resources decision, the share of GNP in the financing of the budget increased significantly.

In a report on the operation of the own resources system, the Commission examined the current system and the possibilities of improving it, including the introduction of a new resource.

The Berlin European Council decided to introduce a set of measures which had as one of their objectives the improvement of the budgetary balances of some Member States. The maximum call-in rate for VAT resources will be gradually reduced (from 1.0% to 0.75% in 2002 and 0.50% in 2004) and the percentage of traditional own resources (customs duties, etc.) retained by the Member States by way of collection costs will be increased from 10% to 25% in 2001.
It was agreed to maintain the correction mechanism for the United Kingdom subject to some minor adjustments. For example, the financing scale has been changed, reducing the portion paid by Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden to one quarter of their normal share.
A new own resources decision incorporating these changes should be adopted shortly.
A decision on whether or not to reform the own resources system more radically was postponed until later.

Guarantee Fund for external action

Apart from these basic decisions, the Agenda 2000 financial package also includes a more specific measure, namely the new regulation on the Guarantee Fund for external action.

The Guarantee Fund for external action was set up in 1994 in order to protect the Community against any budgetary shocks should loans covered by the Community guarantee under its borrowing and lending policy for non-member countries not be repaid. When the Guarantee Fund was evaluated in 1998, it emerged that the quality of the guaranteed loans portfolio and the healthy financial state of the Fund made it possible to lower the parameters it operates with.
That was done by the new regulation amending the rules of the Fund. The new financial perspective also provides for a corresponding reduction in the amount allocated to the guarantee and loan reserve in the general budget.
This Agenda 2000 financial package will enable the Union to meet its major immediate challenges – the reform of its policies and the arrival of new members – within strict financial limits.


The Court of Auditors of the European Union

The Court of Auditors of the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Court of Auditors of the European Union


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

The Court of Auditors of the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union [Official Journal L 103 of 23.04.2010].


These Rules of Procedure, which entered into force on 1 June 2010, lay down the internal workings of the Court, the rules on nominating the President and the decision-making procedure. It is the Court itself that establishes its own Rules of Procedure, subject to the approval of the Council acting by qualified majority.


Article 287 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defines the role and prerogatives of the Court of Auditors.

The Court therefore audits the legality of the revenue and expenditure of the EU and its bodies. The audit completed by the Court is carried out with the aim of both improving financial management, as well as making European citizens aware of how public funds are used.

The audit carried out by the Court shall be:

  • based on records and, if necessary, performed on the spot in the other European institutions;
  • performed on the premises of any body which manages revenue or expenditure on behalf of the EU;
  • performed in the Member States, including on the premises of any natural or legal person in receipt of payments from the European budget.

In its role as auditor, the Court shall cooperate with the national services and the European institutions. Moreover, it is able to request any information required to successfully complete its task from the EU institutions and bodies, organisations in receipt of payments from the European budget or from national audit institutions.

In respect of the European Investment Bank’s activity in managing expenditure and revenue, the Court’s rights of access to information held by the Bank shall be governed by an agreement between the Court, the Bank and the Commission.

The Court of Auditors must notify the relevant authorities of any irregularity. To this end, it shall work closely together with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Despite its name, the European Court of Auditors has no judicial powers and therefore no power to impose sanctions. After the close of each financial year it shall draw up an annual report to be published in the Official Journal. This report concerns the management of the European budget by the competent institutions. It is a fundamental part of the European Parliament’s decision-making process regarding the granting of the budget discharge to the Commission.

The Court of Auditors also provides the Council and the Parliament with a statement of assurance concerning the reliability of the accounts and attesting that the European budget has been used well. In addition, the Court may also, at any time, submit observations, particularly in the form of special reports, on specific questions and deliver opinions at the request of one of the other European institutions.

Composition of the Court

Articles 285 and 286 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU establish rules regarding the composition of the Court of Auditors.

The College shall be the main decision-making body of the Court. It shall comprise one Member from each Member State of the EU. Members shall be appointed by the Council acting by qualified majority following consultation of the European Parliament, on the basis of proposals from the Member States. Members eligible for appointment by the Member States must belong to an external audit body in their own country or possess a specific qualification for this post. They shall carry out their duties at the Court of Auditors entirely independently. Their term of office is six years and may be renewed.

The Members of the Court shall elect the President of the Court by secret ballot. The candidate who, in the first round of voting, obtains a two-thirds majority of the Members’ votes shall be elected President. If this majority is not reached, the candidate must obtain the majority of votes in the second round of voting. The term of office is three years and may be renewed. The President’s duties shall be to:

  • draw up the agenda;
  • call and chair meetings of the Court;
  • ensure that discussions run smoothly;
  • ensure that the Court’s decisions are implemented;
  • ensure that the departments of the Court operate properly and that its various activities are managed soundly;
  • appoint an agent to represent the Court in litigation;
  • represent the Court in its external relations and in its relations with the other European institutions, etc.

The Court shall appoint the Secretary-General of the Court, who shall be responsible for the Court’s Secretariat, by secret ballot. In addition, chambers and committees shall be set up. The chambers have the task of preparing opinions and reports adopted by the Court. The committees shall deal with matters not covered by the chambers.

The Court shall decide in formal session, by the majority of its Members, on the adoption of the annual report, special reports and opinions. The Court’s meetings shall not be public, unless the Court decides otherwise. The Court may also decide, on a case-by-case basis, to adopt decisions by the written procedure.

Origins of the Court

The Court of Auditors was founded by the Treaty of Brussels, which was signed on 22 July 1975 and entered into force in October 1977. The Treaty of Maastricht (1992) gave the Court the status of a full institution. The seat of the Court is in Luxembourg.


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

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union


OJ L 103 of 23.4.2010

Control of classical swine fever

Control of classical swine fever

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Control of classical swine fever


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 classical swine fever

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2001/89/EC of 23 October 2001 on Community measures for the control of classical swine fever [See amending act(s)]


The Directive is designed to ensure an adequate degree of preparation enabling an effective response to be given to emergency situations. The Member States have to draw up contingency plans indicating the vaccine requirements in the event of contamination and the areas with a high density of pigs. They also have to ensure that a national disease control centre and local centres can be established immediately in the event of outbreaks of the disease. Moreover, the feeding of catering waste to pigs is prohibited, as it is likely to constitute a danger of propagation of the disease.

If the presence of swine fever on its territory is suspected or confirmed, the Member State concerned must inform the competent authority immediately. It must also provide information to the Commission and the other Member States on the cases observed.

The competent authority must then immediately initiate official investigations in accordance with the procedures laid down in the diagnostic manual (see Decision 2002/106/EC). This manual guarantees the uniformity of diagnostic procedures. The coordination of diagnostic standards and methods (see Annex III of the Directive) is carried out by a national laboratory designated by Member States who then communicate the name and address of their laboratory to the other Member States and to the public.

The Commission may send experts to carry out on-the-spot checks in the Member States in order to ensure the uniform application of this Directive.

Presence of swine fever on a holding

If the suspicion cannot be invalidated, the holding is placed under official supervision. In particular, movements to and from the holding must be prohibited or made subject to authorisation. Access ways to the holding and means of transport leaving it must be disinfected.

Once the presence of the disease has been officially confirmed, all the pigs on the holding are killed and their carcasses rendered. Any material (meat, sperm, ova) or waste likely to be contaminated is destroyed, rendered or processed to destroy the virus.

Next, the buildings housing the pigs, the vehicles transporting them or their carcasses and the equipment, bedding, manure and slurry likely to be contaminated must be cleaned and disinfected. These operations are carried out under official supervision with products approved by the competent authority.

An epidemiological enquiry is carried out on the basis of the questionnaires drawn up as part of the contingency plans. It must cover the length of time during which the virus may have existed before the disease was notified, the possible origin of the fever and the movements of persons, vehicles, pigs or any other material which could have transported the virus.

In the case of holdings comprising different production units, it is possible, following various checks by an official veterinarian, to derogate from these measures in healthy production units.

The competent authority must also establish, around the outbreak of the disease:

  • a surveillance zone with a radius of at least 10 kilometres;
  • a protection zone with a radius of at least 3 kilometres.

Special safety measures must be applied in each of these zones. They involve in particular a census of all holdings, prohibition of any movement or transport of pigs, and all necessary cleaning and disinfection. The competent authority may in some cases and only under certain conditions authorise the removal of pigs from a holding situated in a surveillance or protection zone.

Pigs may not be reintroduced to a holding affected by the disease until 30 days after the completion of the cleaning and disinfection operations. In open-air holdings, full repopulation may take place only if none of the first pigs returned has developed antibodies against the virus.

In a slaughterhouse or means of transport, once the presence of the disease has been confirmed all susceptible* animals present must be killed. New animals may not be reintroduced until 24 hours after the completion of cleaning and disinfection operations. The carcasses, offal and animal waste of possibly contaminated pigs must be processed under official supervision.

The case of feral pigs

As soon as confirmation of a primary case of classical swine fever in feral pigs* has taken place, the competent authority of the Member State concerned must set up an expert group to assist it. It must determine the infected area and the measures to be applied there.

It must immediately place under official surveillance the pig holdings in the area. In this connection, it must order that an official census be carried out of all categories of pigs on all holdings, that all pigs on the holding be kept isolated from feral pigs and that no pigs enter or leave the holding without its authorisation.

Within 90 days from the confirmation of the disease, the Member States must submit to the Commission a written plan of the measures taken to eradicate the disease in the infected area. Once they have been approved, these measures replace those laid down previously. They include collecting information on:

  • the results of the epidemiological investigations and the geographical distribution of the disease;
  • the infected area determined on the territory of the Member State concerned;
  • the information campaign to be organised to increase hunters’ awareness of the measures to be taken;
  • the approximate number of meta-populations of feral pigs* in and around the infected area;
  • the method of removal of feral pigs found dead or shot and the epidemiological enquiry carried out on each of them.

Every six months, the Member State concerned must forward to the Commission and the other Member States a report on the results of the eradication plan and the epidemiological situation in the affected area.

The use of classical swine fever vaccines is, in principle, prohibited. However, after confirmation of a risk of spread of the disease, the Member State concerned may submit an emergency vaccination plan to the Commission. This measure is possible for both farm pigs and feral pigs.

Key terms of the Act
  • Susceptible animal: an animal who has not developed immunity against classical swine fever virus.
  • Feral pig: pigs that are not kept or raised in farms.
  • Meta-population of feral pigs: any group or sub-population of feral pigs with limited contracts with other groups or sub-populations.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2001/89/EC



OJ L 316 of 1.12.2001

Amending Acts Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2008/73/EC



OJ L 219 of 14.8.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2001/89/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purposes only.


Annex III – List and duties of national classical swine fever laboratories
Decision 2006/911/CE [Official Journal L 346 of 9.12.2006];
Directive 2006/104/CE [Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006];
Decision 2007/729/CE [Official Journal L 294 of 13.11.2007];
Directive 2008/73/CE [Official Journal L 219 of 14.8.2008].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2007/19/EC of 22 December 2006 approving contingency plans for the control of classical swine fever pursuant to Council Directive 2001/89/EC [Official Journal L 7 of 12.1.2007].

Commission Decision 2007/682/EC of 18 October 2007 on the renewal of the Community stocks of live attenuated vaccine against classical swine fever [Official Journal L 281 of 25.10.2007].

Commission Decision 2006/553/EC of 4 August 2006 on the purchase by the Community of marker vaccine against classical swine fever to increase the Community stocks of those vaccines [Official Journal L 217 of 8.8.2006].

Reducing the emissions of volatile organic compounds

Reducing the emissions of volatile organic compounds

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reducing the emissions of volatile organic compounds


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

Environment > Air pollution

Reducing the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 1999/13/EC of 11 March 1999 on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations [See amending acts].


The emissions of volatile organic compounds * (VOCs) in the atmosphere contribute to the formation of the tropospheric ozone (ozone in the lower atmosphere). Large quantities of this ozone may be harmful to people, vegetation, forests and crops. Sensitive people may suffer irritation of the throat and eyes, as well as respiratory difficulties. Tropospheric ozone is also a greenhouse gas.


The Directive covers emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from certain activities and installations listed in Annex I.

Requirements of installations

Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure that all new installations comply with the provisions of the Directive. Moreover, all new installations not already covered by the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC) must be registered or authorised before being put into service.

Existing installations must be registered or authorised if they have not yet been authorised under the IPPC Directive. They must comply with the same requirements as for new installations no later than 30 October 2007. Where part of an existing installation undergoes a substantial change, it must comply with the requirements applicable to new installations.


The industrial operators concerned can conform to the specified emission limits in either of the following ways:

  • by installing equipment to reduce emissions to comply with the emission limit values and the fugitive emission values, or total emission limit values;
  • by introducing a reduction scheme to arrive at an equivalent emission level, in particular by replacing conventional products which are high in solvents with low-solvent or solvent-free products.

Solvents or mixtures likely to have a serious effect on human health because of their content of VOCs (classified as carcinogens, mutagens, or toxic to reproduction), must be replaced by less harmful substances or mixtures.

National plans

Member States may define and implement national plans for reducing emissions from the activities and industrial installations covered by Article 1 (excluding surface cleaning and dry cleaning activities). The plans must result in a reduction of the annual emissions of VOCs by at least the same amount and within the same time-frame as would have been achieved by applying the emission limits under the Directive.

The national plan must include:

  • a list of the measures taken or to be taken;
  • binding interim reduction targets against which progress towards the aim can be measured;
  • a full description of the range of instruments through which its requirements will be achieved, evidence that these instruments will be enforceable and details of the means by which compliance with the plan will be demonstrated.


The Commission must ensure that an exchange of information between Member States and the activities concerned on the use of organic substances and their potential substitutes takes place.

It must consider the potential effects of organic substances on human health in general and occupational exposure in particular. Their potential effects on the environment and the economic consequences will also be examined with a view to providing recommendations on the use of techniques which have the least potential effects on air, water, soil, ecosystems and human health.

Following the exchange of information, the Commission must publish recommendations for each activity.


The Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure that the public has access to information concerning:

  • applications for authorisation for new installations or for substantial changes to installations,
  • the decision of the competent authority, including at least a copy of the authorisation, and any subsequent updates,
  • the general binding rules applicable to installations and the list of registered and authorised activities,
  • the results of emission-monitoring as required under the authorisation or registration conditions.


Every three years, Member States must submit a report to the Commission on the implementation of the Directive.


This Directive complements the provisions adopted under the framework of the Auto-Oil Programme (Directives relating to emissions in the atmosphere from cars and lorries with internal combustion engines and Directive 94/63/EC relating to volatile organic compound emissions resulting from the storage of petrol).

Key terms of the Act
  • Organic compound: any compound containing at least the element carbon and one or more of the following elements: hydrogen, halogens, oxygen, sulphur, phosphorus, silicon or nitrogen, with the exception of carbon oxides and inorganic carbonates and bicarbonates;
  • Volatile organic compound: any organic compound emanating from human activities, other than methane, which are capable of producing photochemical oxidants by reacting with nitrogen oxide in the presence of sunlight. having at 293,15 K a vapour;
  • Organic solvent: any VOC which is used alone or in combination with other agents, and without undergoing a chemical change, to dissolve raw materials, products or waste materials, or is used as a cleaning agent to dissolve contaminants, or as a dissolver, dispersion medium, viscosity adjuster, surface tension adjuster, plasticiser, or a preservative.


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

Directive 1999/13/EC



Official Journal L 85 of 29.3.1999

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

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003


Official Journal L 284 of 31.10.2003

Directive 2004/42/EC



Official Journal L 143 of 30.04.2003

Directive 2008/112/EC


OJ L 345 of 23.12.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1999/13/EC have been integrated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 December 2007 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (recast) [COM(2007) 844 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The new Directive shall fill the gaps in existing legislation concerning industrial emissions. By reducing this type of emissions, it shall bring about significant improvements to health and the environment. The new Directive shall:

  • encourage the implementation of the Best Available Techniques;
  • establish more stringent emission limit values for certain sectors across the EU;
  • introduce minimum rules for environmental inspections of industrial installations;
  • extend the scope of the legislation to other polluting activities not covered by current legislation;
  • enable a more effective permit review;
  • amalgamate the current IPPC Directive and the six sectoral directives included in the Directive on waste incineration into one sole directive on industrial emissions.

Co-decision procedure (COD/2007/286)

Directive 2004/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in decorative paints and varnishes and vehicle refinishing products and amending Directive 1999/13/EC.
The Directive aims to prevent the negative environmental effects of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from decorative paints and vehicle refinishing products. It lays down maximum limits for the VOC content of these products. The sub-categories of the relevant products are listed in Annex I to the proposal.
Product categories falling within the scope of the Directive can be marketed in the EU only if they comply with the specifications in Annex II. Such products must be labelled when placed on the market. Member States will develop a market surveillance system to verify the VOC content of the products covered by this Directive.
Each Member State will designate an authority to be responsible for ensuring conformity with the provisions of the Directive. A system of effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties should be established for infringements.
Table 1 in the Directive shows estimates of VOC emissions by sector and source for 2010. According to Commission studies, this Directive could help to reduce VOC emissions by 280 kilotonnes per year until 2010.

The challenge of enlargement

The challenge of enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The challenge of enlargement


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

The challenge of enlargement

Since the European Council summit in Helsinki in December 1999, the group of candidate countries has had 13 members:

  • ten countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs)
  • Cyprus, Malta and Turkey.

All these countries except Turkey have been engaged in accession negotiations since 1998 (Cyprus, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia) or 2000 (Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria). Accession is conditional on compliance with the so-called ‘ Copenhagen criteria ‘ set out in 1993.Other than Romania and Bulgaria, the candidate countries finished accession negotiations in December 2002 at the Copenhagen European Council. In May 2004, the enlarged European Union will have 25 Member States. The new Member States will participate in the next elections to the European Parliament, in June 2004.

There can be no doubt that enlargement is a major event in the building of Europe and one which will have an enormous impact on the continent’s politics over the next few decades. To avoid this change causing paralysis, it must be preceded by a reform of the way the Community currently operates.



The Commission’s first interim report on the impact on the policies of the European Union of the accession of the associated central and eastern European countries dates back to December 1995. That Council asked the Commission to deepen its analysis of the effects of enlargement on Community policies, especially the agricultural and structural policies. Agenda 2000 is an initial answer to that request. The aim of the financial perspective which it describes is to meet the first challenge raised by the reform of Community policies.

Enlargement offers a major political and economic opportunity to a Union which will have almost 30 members. Taking into account its overall economic impact, the first consequence will be the expansion of the single market from 370 million to about 455 million consumers. Moreover, the Union’s position on the international political scene and world markets will be strengthened.

At the same time, the variety of interests within the European Union will generate substantial pressure for sectoral and regional adjustments which will require the adoption, before enlargement, of appropriate measures such as:

  • reform of the way Europe’s institutions and bodies operate. The Treaty of Nice, which came into force in February 2003, defines how the enlarged European Union will function;
  • the need for candidate countries to adopt the Community acquis and prepare to operate within the internal market.

Great needs

The second progress report on economic and social cohesion shows that the average wealth of the CEECs, expressed as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is still well below that of the present Member States. The area and population of the Union will increase by one third but its GDP by only 5%. Of the 105 million people living in these countries, over 98 million live in regions where per capita GDP is less than 75% of the average in the enlarged Community.

The needs of these countries are enormous in all sectors of the economy and society: industry, services, transport, the environment, agriculture and skills for their human resources. Substantial efforts will have to be made to expand national transport networks and integrate them into trans-European networks. The most acute environmental problems concern water and air pollution and waste management. Great changes are already taking place on the labour market in preparation for accession and these will speed up. Industry and agriculture account for a very large proportion of jobs while the services sector is weak outside the major conurbations and labour productivity is below the EU average.


The accession of the candidate countries is a major challenge for the Union’s policy for economic and social cohesion. Enlargement will in fact create within the Community a new group of countries with an income of less than 40% of the EU average. The principles of solidarity require European structural policies to concentrate on the less developed regions of those countries, i.e. virtually the whole of the areas concerned. However, existing disparities in the 15 will not have vanished and regional policy will have to continue to take them into account.

Implementation of a regional development policy is something new for the authorities of the candidate countries. The management of the Structural Funds, to which they will soon be entitled, implies far-reaching changes in the practices and operations of all levels of the administration to comply with the legal framework of regulations on which structural assistance is based. Considerable efforts have already been made in the following areas:

  • the establishment of an appropriate legal framework;
  • definition of an administrative breakdown of the territory on the lines of the NUTS;
  • definition of integrated multiannual regional development programmes;
  • definition of the responsibilities of all parties involved in the implementation of the future regional policy in the candidate countries;
  • compliance with the general principles of structural assistance: programming, partnership, additionality, management, monitoring, evaluation, payments and financial checks.


The pre-accession strategy set specific priorities based principally on the candidate countries accepting the Community acquis. That has been done in stages, as bilateral negotiations between the Commission and the country in question on the 31 chapters covering Union responsibilities have been opened and concluded.

Under the Commission’s enlargement strategy approved by the Nice European Council in December 2000, Chapter 21 “Regional policy and the coordination of the structural instruments” is a priority because of its financial implications. Negotiations with Cyprus and the Czech Republic were provisionally closed in April 2002 and with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in June 2002. At the end of July, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary too reached agreement with the Commission on this Chapter. Poland is still in negotiations. In December 2003, the Brussels European Council once again acknowledged the efforts made by Bulgaria and Romania and encouraged both countries to continue with reforms. Bulgaria and Romania will join the European Union in 2007.

The accession strategy also implies increasing the institutional and administrative capacity of these countries so that they can apply the acquis and bring their firms into line with Community standards. Regular reports are made to the Council on the progress made by these countries on their progress in coming into line with the acquis. To meet the requirements of the pre-accession strategy for the applicant countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Commission has developed accession partnerships and opened Community programmes to these countries. It has doubled assistance from January 2000 and is continuing to ensure implementation of the Europe Agreements.

Pre-accession instruments

The Europe Agreements are the basic legal instruments defining relations between the Union and the candidate countries. They cover matters of trade, political dialogue and other areas of cooperation. They permit monitoring of the progress made by the candidate countries in adopting and implementing the Community acquis and adhering to the priorities of the Accession Partnerships.

The Accession Partnerships are the key feature of the strategy. They cover all forms of assistance to the candidate countries within a single framework for the implementation of those countries’ own accession preparation programmes. They use multi-annual programming to fix short and medium-term priorities for each candidate country (particularly in the fields of democracy, macroeconomic stabilisation, nuclear safety and adoption of the acquis) and specify resources which they can draw on for the purposes of their preparations.

The future Member States participate in Community programmes. As these programmes cover most of the Community’s policies (education, training, the environment, transport, research), they constitute useful preparation for accession by making the associated countries and their populations familiar with the Union’s policies and working methods.

Approximation of legislation is also a priority objective. The Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX) provides information on all aspects of the Community acquis. It acts within the candidate countries by assisting government bodies and businesses, particularly through the organisation of specific seminars and study visits.

The approximation of legislation alone is not enough: the institutions responsible for implementing and applying the Community acquis also need to be strengthened. An essential tool in this respect is twinning, which involves the secondment of advisers from the Union to the candidate countries. This process has begun with the secondment of “Pre-accession Advisers”, who may be officials from the Member States or independent advisers. Their expertise helps train their opposite numbers in the candidate countries in the adoption, implementation and strengthening of the key sectors of the acquis.

Financial instruments

The aims of the pre-accession strategy cannot be achieved without recourse to the instruments providing support and financial aid. To meet the needs of the candidate countries, the Berlin European Council decided in 1999 to double pre-accession aid from the year 2000 and to create two specific instruments:

  • the pre-accession structural instrument (ISPA), with a budget of 1 040 million a year from 2000;
  • the pre-accession agricultural instrument (SAPARD) with a budget of 520 million a year.

These two instruments complement the assistance financed under the Phare programme since 1989, which is still the main source of assistance to the candidate countries.


The aim of the Phare programme has changed over time, as have the needs which have emerged from the process of absorbing the acquis. Phare now concentrates on two key priorities:

The strengthening of the administrative and institutional capacity of applicant countries or ‘institution building’ has helped to establish, at all administrative levels, structures which have the responsibility for and the capacity to define multi-annual development plans in the shape of the special preparatory programme for management of the Structural Funds.

The financing of investment or ‘investment support’ helps to bring firms and infrastructure into line with European standards. This accounts for 70% of the Phare budget of 1 560 million.

Pre-accession agricultural aid

Since 2000, pre-accession aid to agriculture (SAPARD) has amounted to 520 million a year. It has been deployed in priority fields such as the improvement of processing structures, marketing channels and food quality control. These measures have been implemented on the basis of national programmes and have also made it possible to fund specific integrated development projects designed to provide support for local initiatives.

Pre-accession structural assistance

Since 2000, the pre-accession structural instrument (ISPA) has had a budget of 1040 million, mainly to support infrastructure investments in the environment and transport sectors.


The Copenhagen European Council has concluded the accession negotiations, opening the way for the accession of ten new Member States on 1 May 2004. For 2004-06, the Council granted the new Member States 21.7 billion of additional resources. This sum is less than the ceiling fixed in 1999 within the Agenda 2000 framework at the Berlin European Council.

Following the Commission’s guidelines, the future Member States have finalised the 2004-06 regional programmes, which have been receiving support from the Structural Funds since January 2004. They are also participating in two Community Initiatives: Interreg III and Equal.

The new Member States will receive 5.76 billion for rural development during the 2004-06 period. As Poland is a largely agricultural country, it will receive nearly half of this aid. These funds will help farms in these countries to modernise, restructure and comply with Community production standards. They will also contribute to sustainable development in rural areas through the following measures: support for disadvantaged areas, quality of foodstuffs, agri-environment and animal welfare, afforestation and the creation of producer groups.

Within the context of the debate on the future of regional policy in the enlarged European Union, the Commission is drawing up proposals for a post-2006 cohesion policy. The Commission published the third report on cohesion at the beginning of 2004. Although it seems likely that this policy can be maintained, the question of its overall financing remains unanswered. According to current forecasts, the outlines for future regional policy are as follows:

  • A new Objective 1 will group together structural measures for underdeveloped areas. This concerns current regions of the EU which have not achieved economic convergence and almost all the regions of the new Member States. Only Cyprus and the regions of Prague (Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia) are not concerned. From now on, transitional support will be given to current EU regions that will, because of enlargement, no longer be eligible for support due to the statistical effect. Objective 1 will concentrate 75% of allocated funds on future Regional Policy.
  • A reformed Objective 2, using 20% of funds, will support projects to promote regional competition, employment and training in regions which are not eligible for Objective 1. Each Member State will receive a national envelope that must be concentrated on specific areas, budgets and time scales.
  • Interregional cooperation will continue in 5% of funds. It will apply to both the internal and external borders of the EU.

Programme to promote non-governmental organisations active in the youth field

Programme to promote non-governmental organisations active in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Programme to promote non-governmental organisations active in the youth field


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Programme to promote non-governmental organisations active in the youth field (2004 – 2006)

The requirement for greater budgetary transparency in the European Communities has led the European Parliament and the Council to adopt a new programme to support international non-governmental organisations operating in the youth field.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 790/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a Community action programme to promote bodies active at European level in the field of youth [Official Journal L 138 of 30.04.2004].


1. The European Parliament and the Council have adopted this Decision in the context of the need for budgetary transparency imposed by the 2002 Financial Regulation of the European Communities (Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002), which requires a legal basis to be established to cover existing support measures. This provides an opportunity for the European Parliament and the Council to do more to support non-governmental organisations active at European level in the field of youth – as mentioned in the Commission’s White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”.

2. These organisations help to strengthen Community action and increase its effectiveness by participating, inter alia, in youth exchanges, education and training programmes, youth policy debates, dissemination of information on Community action and activities fostering young people’s participation and initiative.

3. Under this programme, there are two categories for the award of operating grants, namely:

  • grants for the operation of the European Youth Forum, a body pursuing an aim of general European interest whose members are national youth councils and international non-governmental youth organisations;
  • grants for the operation of international non-governmental youth organisations, constituting non-profit-making bodies working for the benefit of young people, or a European network representing such bodies and involving young people in the management of their activities. It is stipulated that operating grants for international non-governmental youth organisations will be awarded on the basis of annual calls for proposals.

4. The programme is open to the Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), three countries of the European Economic Area (EEA – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), two candidate countries (Bulgaria and Romania) and Turkey. Participation is also open to the Balkan countries forming part of the stabilisation and association process for the countries of South-East Europe, and some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

5. With an overall budget of EUR 13 million for the period 2004-06, this programme provides that:

  • a maximum of 80% of the Forum’s budget will be co-financed to cover operating costs and expenditure necessary for carrying out its activities. The resources allocated will not be less than EUR 2 million;
  • a maximum of 80% of the budget of international non-governmental youth organisations will be co-financed to cover the administration and operating costs necessary for the proper conduct of the normal activities of the body selected, relating in particular to personnel, overheads, internal meetings, publications, information and dissemination. This co-financing will be reduced progressively from the third year.

The European Commission is responsible for implementing the programme.

6. The Commission will present a report on the achievement of the programme’s objectives to the European Parliament and the Council no later than 31 December 2007.



Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 791/2004/EC [adoption: codecision procedure COD/2003/0113]

01.05.2004 – 31.12.2006

Official Journal L 138 of 30.04.2004

Related Acts

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Actionprogramme for the period 2007 to 2013 [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

Bathing water quality

Bathing water quality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Bathing water quality


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

Environment > Water protection and management

Bathing water quality

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2006/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC.


The European Union (EU) is committed to protecting environmental quality and human health. This Directive therefore strengthens the rules guaranteeing bathing water quality *. It supplements Directive 2000/60/EC on water protection and management.

The Directive does not apply to swimming pools or spa pools, or to artificially created confined waters, subject to treatment or used for therapeutic purposes.

Monitoring of bathing water

Each year, the Member States shall identify the bathing waters in their territory and define the length of the bathing season.

They shall establish monitoring at the location most used by bathers or where the risk of pollution is greatest. Monitoring shall take place by means of sampling:

  • four samples, including one before the start of the bathing season;
  • three samples only if the seasons does not exceed eight weeks or if the region is subject to special geographical constraints.

Member States shall communicate the results of their monitoring to the Commission with a description of the water quality management measures. Monitoring may be suspended exceptionally once the Commission has been informed.

Determining bathing water quality

Water quality is assessed on the basis of microbiological data defined according to the parameters described in Annex I. Member States shall then establish a classification of waters of poor, sufficient, good or excellent quality. This classification shall comply with the criteria set out in Annex II.

All bathing waters in the EU must be at least of sufficient quality by the end of the 2015 bathing season. Furthermore, Member States are to take the necessary measures to improve the number of bathing waters of good or excellent quality.

If quality is poor, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to manage and eliminate pollution, and to protect and inform bathers.

Bathing water profile

The Directive provides for profiles to be established to identify possible pollution, for one or more than one contiguous bathing waters. In particular, they comprise an assessment of:

  • the physical, geographical and hydrological characteristics of the bathing water and of other surface waters in the catchment area;
  • pollution and sources thereof;
  • management measures.

These profiles must be established by 24 March 2011.

Exceptional measures

Member States shall adopt exceptional measures if unexpected situations deteriorate the quality of waters or represent a risk to bathers’ health.

Appropriate monitoring must also be implemented if there is a risk of proliferation of algae. The authorities responsible must therefore:

  • take management measures and provide information immediately if a proliferation of cyanobacteria (or “blue algae”) occurs;
  • assess the health risks if there is a proliferation of macro-algae and/or marine phytoplankton.

Transboundary waters

Member States shall exchange information and take joint action if a river basin * extends over several territories.

Information to the public

National authorities shall enable the public to obtain information and to participate in water quality management. Citizens may therefore make suggestions, remarks or complaints. They may also participate in the establishment, review and updating of lists of water quality.

Moreover, Member States shall ensure that adequate information is disseminated actively and is easily available during the bathing season. This concerns in particular:

  • the classification of water, prohibitions or advice against bathing;
  • a general description of the water in non-technical language;
  • a description of the nature and duration of pollution.


This Directive shall repeal Directive 76/2006/EEC by 31 December 2014.

Key terms
  • Bathing water: any element of surface water where the national authorities of a Member State expect a large number of people to bathe or have not imposed a permanent bathing prohibition, or issued permanent advice against bathing.
  • River basin: area from which all surface run-off flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta.


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

Directive 2006/7/EC



OJ L 64 of 4.3.2006

Another Normative about Bathing water quality


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

Environment > Water protection and management

Bathing water quality (until 2014)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 76/160/EEC of 8 December 1975 concerning the quality of bathing water [See amending acts].


This Directive concerns the quality of bathing water in the Member States of the European Union (EU). It concerns those waters in which bathing is authorised by the national authorities and regularly practised by a significant number of bathers. This Directive does not apply to water intended for therapeutic purposes, or to water used in swimming pools.

It lays down the minimum quality criteria to be met by bathing water. They relate to:

  • the limit values of substances considered to be indicators of pollution (in the Annex);
  • the minimum sampling frequency and method of analysis or inspection of such water (in the Annex).

Member States may fix more stringent values than the criteria laid down in the Directive. In addition, where it does not give any values for certain substances, Member States are not obliged to fix any.

Water quality assessment

Sampling is carried out by Member States at different intervals for each polluting substance (in the Annex). Samples are taken at places where the daily average density of bathers is highest. Sampling begins two weeks before the start of the bathing season. The water testing must be adapted to the geographical and topographical conditions and to the presence of existing or potential polluting discharges.


Where the waters do not conform to the parameters of the Directive, Member States may not authorise bathing in them before they have taken the necessary measures to improve the water quality. They have a period of ten years after notification of the Directive for the quality of the water to conform to the set limit values.

However, under certain conditions, bathing water is deemed to conform to the relevant parameters, even if a certain percentage of samples taken during the bathing season do not conform to the limit values. Derogations to the Directive are possible, provided that they meet the objective of protecting public health.

In addition, the consequences of floods, natural disasters or abnormal weather conditions are not taken into consideration when determining the water quality.

Monitoring Committee

A Committee on adaptation to technical progress enables the measures for improving water quality to be adapted. It consists of representatives from the Member States and is chaired by a representative of the Commission.


This is repealed by Directive 2006/7/EC with effect from 31 December 2014. However, it still applies in Member States where transposition of the new Directive is not finished.

The review of bathing water legislation is designed to ensure consistency with the Sixth Environment Action Programme, the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Water Framework Directive. It is also intended to simplify procedures in the light of scientific developments and improve participatory processes for the actors concerned and the information given to the public.


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

Directive 76/160/EEC



OJ L 31, 5.2.1976

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

Directive 91/692/EEC



OJ L 377, 31.12.1991

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008


OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 76/160/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purpose only.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 21 December 2000: Developing a new bathing water policy [COM(2000) 860 final – Not published in Official Journal].
The Communication sets out the strengths and weaknesses of the management of bathing water quality, and proposes various approaches to drafting a new directive to take account of technical progress in the field.

Commission Decision 92/446/EEC of 27 July 1992 concerning questionnaires relating to Directives in the water sector [Official Journal L 247 of 27.8.1992].
This Decision draws up the outlines of questionnaires needed to monitor the implementation of and compliance with the provisions of all Directives in the water sector, including Directive 76/160/EEC.

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof


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

Food safety > Animal health

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2006/88/EC of 24 October 2006 on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals.


The Directive establishes:

  • animal health requirements for the placing on the market, importation and transit of aquaculture animals and their products;
  • minimum measures to prevent diseases in aquaculture animals;
  • minimum measures to be taken in response to suspected or established cases of certain diseases in aquatic animals.

The animals concerned are fish, molluscs and crustaceans and their products, not including ornamental animals bred in an aquarium not intended for sale, wild animals introduced directly into the food chain and animals intended for the production of fish meal, fish oils and similar products. Ornamental animals not in direct contact with natural waters or which live in treated water systems are only concerned by the rules on prevention and treatment of the diseases.

Authorisation of aquaculture production businesses and processing establishments

The Directive provides for the authorisation of farms and processing establishments by the relevant authority in their Member State.

In order to obtain this authorisation, farms and establishments must keep a register that includes details of movements of animals and products, implement good hygiene practices and, in the case of fish farms and mollusc farming areas, apply a risk-based animal health surveillance scheme.

List of diseases

The Directive provides for a list of exotic and non-exotic diseases and a list of species sensitive to them. The diseases on this list have substantial economic repercussions or an adverse effect on the environment of wild aquatic animals.

Exotic diseases are those that are not established in Community aquaculture and whose pathogen is not present in Community waters. These include the following diseases: epizootic haemopoietic necrosis, infection with Bonamia exitiosa, infection with Xenohaliotis californiensis, Taura syndrome, or even yellowhead disease.

Non-exotic diseases included on the list are: spring viraemia of carp, viral haemorrhagic septicaemia, infectious haemopoietic hecrosis, herpes virus infection, infectious salmon anaemia, infection with Marteilia refringens, infection with Bonamia ostreae, and white spot disease.

Disease-free status

The territory of a state or a part thereof can be declared free of a non-exotic disease if no species sensitive to that disease is present there or if the State has had surveillance and detection measures in place for a sufficiently long period of time. Moreover, the state must also create buffer zones between its territory and the territory of neighbouring states that have not been declared disease-free areas.

The Commission draws up, updates and publishes the list of disease-free states and areas.

Animal health requirements for the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

The Directive makes provision for general rules for the transport and traceability of animals (animal health certification). It also includes animal health conditions for animals and their products intended for breeding or restocking, with particular reference to whether their region of origin has disease-free status and the obligation in some cases for them to be kept in quarantine. Other specific conditions relate to animals and their products intended for human consumption, particularly their health status, and hygiene in processing and temporary storage establishments. Some rules relate to wild aquatic animals, which must normally spend a period of time in quarantine when they are reintroduced into disease-free areas, and ornamental animals.

Import of aquaculture animals and their products into the Community from third countries

Third countries or parts of third countries authorised to export into the Community must appear on a list drawn up by the Commission. These countries or parts of countries are placed on the list once an evaluation has been carried out by the Commission to assess, among other things, the state of health of aquatic animals there, the legislation of the country in question, and the organisation of the relevant local authority and inspection services. Commission experts can if necessary carry out on-the-spot inspections to complement the evaluation.

Consignments of imported animals or products must be accompanied by an animal health certificate attesting that the consignments meet Community requirements.

Notification and minimum measures for control of diseases

When there is reason to suspect the presence of a disease listed by the Commission or when increased mortality occurs in aquatic animals, the responsible authority in the Member State must immediately consult with professionals in the field with regard to the health of and trade in the aquatic animals. The affected Member State must notify the Commission, the other Member States and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states of the presence of a listed exotic disease within 24 hours, and of the presence of a listed non-exotic disease if the affected area has been declared free of this disease.

The Directive makes provision for measures to be taken in response to the suspected presence of a listed disease, specifically the examination of samples by an authorised laboratory, a ban on movements of aquatic animals into and out of the infected farm and the carrying out of epizootic investigations.

In the event of confirmation of a listed exotic disease, a containment area must be set up around the infected farm, together with a ban on movements of animals. Furthermore, all dead animals, live animals exhibiting clinical signs of the disease and animals which have not reached commercial size and do not exhibit clinical signs of the disease must be removed and disposed of in an appropriate timeframe. The harvesting, catching and subsequent processing of animals may continue once treatment can take place in conditions that prevent the spread of the pathogen. The infected farm may be required to undergo an appropriate period of fallowing.

In the event of confirmation of a listed non-exotic disease in an area declared free of that disease, the affected Member State must either implement the same measures as for contamination with an exotic disease, or apply minimum measures of containment and restriction of movement, and remove and dispose of dead animals.

In the event of suspicion or confirmation of contamination of wild animals with a listed disease, the affected Member State must monitor the situation and implement the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

If an emerging disease develops, the Member State must take the necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading and inform the Commission and the other Member States of the situation. Where necessary, the list of diseases will be amended as a result.

Vaccinations are normally prohibited, unless they are part of a Commission-approved control and eradication programme, are being used to control an emerging disease, or have been authorised by the Commission where the epizootic situation requires it.


This Directive meets the need to update legislation on the health of aquatic animals with regard to developments in aquaculture, international experience and scientific progress. This Directive focuses on the prevention of epizootic diseases in order to reduce financial losses due to the diseases themselves and trade restrictions. It aims in particular at improving exchange both within the Community and with third countries by bringing the rules on the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and their products into line with the standards established by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This Directive repeals Directives 91/67/EEC and 93/53/EEC concerning the animal health conditions governing aquaculture animals and products as from 1st August 2008.


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

Directive 2006/88/EC



OJ L 328 of 24.11.2006


Annexe IV – Disease listing
Directive 2008/53/EC[Official Journal L 117 of 1.5.2008].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/392/EC of 30 April 2008 implementing Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards an Internet-based information page to make information on aquaculture production businesses and authorised processing establishments available by electronic means [Official Journal L 138 of 28.5.2008].

Commission Decision 2010/221/EU of 15 April 2010 approving national measures for limiting the impact of certain diseases in aquaculture animals and wild aquatic animals in accordance with Article 43 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC [Official Journal L 98 of 20.4.2010].

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