Author Archives: Glenda Lawrence

Mediterranean package

Mediterranean package

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mediterranean package

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Agriculture > General framework

Mediterranean package

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 864/2004 of 29 April 2004 amending Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 establishing common rules for direct support schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers, and adapting it by reason of the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia to the European Union.

Summary

This Regulation, known as the “Mediterranean package”, supplements the major reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of June 2003 with provisions relating to the integration of support for tobacco, hops, olive groves and cotton into the single payment scheme.

The Regulation establishes specific direct aid applicable to these sectors. This aid is granted on condition that farmers meet the cross-compliance requirements laid down by the 2003 reform.

Hops

Direct aid for hops has been decoupled from production since 1 January 2005 (except in countries which applied a transitional period until 31 December 2005). However, in order to deal with specific market situations or regional implications, Member States may retain a certain percentage of coupled aid (corresponding to a maximum of 25 % of their national ceiling *).

The reference amount for the calculation of the aid is EUR 480 per hectare for which aid was granted during the reference period 2000 to 2002.

The Regulation on the common organisation of the market in hops contains rules on marketing, producer groups and trade with third countries.

Cotton

Direct aid for cotton has been decoupled from production since 1 January 2006. However, in order to safeguard production in areas where cotton production would be liable to cease if decoupling were applied in full, Member States may retain a certain percentage of coupled aid (corresponding to a maximum of 35 % of the total amount of aid previously granted for cotton).

This aid is calculated according to the following table:

Maximum area (total)
440 000 hectares
Greece Spain Portugal
National base area

370 000 hectares

70 000 hectares

360 hectares

Aid in euros per eligible hectare

300 000 hectares at EUR 594 per hectare
70 000 hectares at EUR 342.85 per hectare

EUR 1 039 per hectare

EUR 556 per hectare

The “approved inter-branch organisations” in the cotton sector are encouraged to participate in the management of area aid for their members (fixing a scale).

Following the cancellation by the Court of Justice of the European Communities of the 2004 reform in September 2006, the current regulations governing the cotton sector will be replaced in the near future. In response to a very wide-ranging public consultation, stakeholders and the general public submitted contributions with a view to drawing up a new proposal for reform.

Olive oil

Support for the olive oil sector has been decoupled from production since 1 January 2006. However, for the upkeep of olive groves of environmental or social value, area aid (corresponding to a maximum of 40 % of the aid previously granted) is granted for olive groves recorded in the geographical information system *.

Only Spain decided to apply coupled aid for olive groves, amounting to EUR 103.14 million per annum.

Member States may assign no more than 10 % of their national envelope for olive oil to measures to improve quality.

The Regulation on the common organisation of the market in olive oil and table olives regulates the internal market and trade in these products with third countries.

Tobacco

Direct aid for tobacco will be fully decoupled from production from 2010. However, in order to protect local economies and to allow the market price to adjust to the new conditions, Member States may maintain a certain percentage of coupled aid (corresponding to a maximum of 60 % of the aid previously granted) for the four years up to 2010.

During this period, and depending on the choice made by the Member States concerned, the maximum amounts of this aid are as follows:

2006-2009
(EUR million)
Germany

21.287

Spain 70.599
France 48.217
Italy (apart from Puglia) 189.366
Portugal 8.468

A proportion of this production aid (set at 5 % in 2007) is transferred to the Community Tobacco Fund, which finances research and information programmes on the harmful effects of tobacco consumption.

From 2011, half the aid granted annually for tobacco between 2000 and 2002 (estimated at EUR 484 million) will be transferred for restructuring the tobacco-producing regions under rural development programmes financed under the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, EAGGF.

The Regulation on the common organisation of the market in tobacco regulates production orientation and trade with third countries.

Background

The “Mediterranean products” reform is based on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament entitled “Accomplishing a sustainable agricultural model for Europe through the reformed CAP – the tobacco, olive oil, cotton and sugar sectors “. For hops, the reform is based on the report from the Commission to the Council on evolution of the hop sector .

Key terms used in the act
  • National ceiling: maximum amount which each State may allocate to direct aid payments.
  • Geographical information system: a computerised tool organising geographical data and providing a realistic representation of the spatial environment.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 864/2004 1.5.2004 OJ L 161 of 30.4.2004

Resources

See Also

Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Audiovisual Media Services Directive

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

Audiovisual and media

Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive establishes legal, regulatory and administrative provisions related to the provision and distribution of audiovisual media services.

Which media service providers * does the Directive apply to?

This Directive applies to media service providers when:

  • the head office of the provider and the editorial decisions taken about the audiovisual media services are located in the same Member State;
  • the head office and audiovisual media services are located in different Member States;
  • the service provider has its head office in a Member State, whereas decisions on the audiovisual media services are taken in a third country;
  • the service provider uses a satellite up-link situated in a Member State;
  • the service provider uses satellite capacity appertaining to a Member State.

To what extent does freedom of retransmission apply?

Member States shall not restrict retransmissions on their territory of audiovisual media services from other Member States, as long as the programmes broadcast are not of a violent or pornographic nature which could offend the sensibilities of minors.

They may also limit retransmissions if they believe public policy, health and security or consumer protection to be at risk.

What are the obligations of media service providers?

Media service providers shall make the following information available to consumers:

  • their name;
  • their geographical address;
  • their contact details;
  • the competent regulatory or supervisory bodies.

Protection of minors

In order to protect minors against the negative effects of pornographic or violent programmes, such programmes, when broadcast, must be preceded by an acoustic warning or identified by the presence of a visual symbol throughout the broadcast.

Incitement to hatred

Audiovisual media services may not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality.

Accessibility of audiovisual media services

Providers are obliged to improve the accessibility of their services for people with a visual or hearing disability.

The right to information

Member States may take measures aimed at ensuring that certain events, which it considers are of major importance for society, cannot be broadcast exclusively in such a way as to deprive a substantial proportion of the public in that Member State. Each Member State may draw up a list of events and implementation procedures.

For the purpose of short news reports, any broadcaster established in a Member State has the right to access short extracts of events of high interest to the public which are broadcast on an exclusive basis.

Promotion of European and independent works

Broadcasters must devote at least 10% of their transmission time, or 10% of their programming budget, to European works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters, excluding time allocated to:

  • news;
  • sports events;
  • games;
  • advertising;
  • teletext services;
  • teleshopping.

With regard to on-demand audiovisual media services, Member States shall ensure that audiovisual media service providers promote the production of and access to European works. To this end, audiovisual service providers can contribute financially to the production of European works, or they can reserve a share and/or prominence for European works in their catalogue of programmes.

Audiovisual commercial communication

Media service providers provide audiovisual commercial communications *. These must comply with certain conditions:

  • they must be readily recognisable. Surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication shall be prohibited;
  • they shall not use subliminal techniques;
  • they shall not prejudice respect for human dignity;
  • they shall not be discriminatory;
  • they shall not encourage behaviour harmful to the environment;
  • they shall not contain messages relating to alcoholic beverages specifically aimed at minors;
  • they shall not promote tobacco products;
  • they shall restrict the promotion of medicinal products and medical treatments to those available on prescription only;
  • they shall not cause moral or physical detriment to minors.

Certain programmes or audiovisual media services may be sponsored *. In this case, they must meet other types of requirements:

  • they shall not affect the editorial independence of the media service provider;
  • they shall not directly encourage the purchase or rental of goods;
  • viewers shall be informed of the sponsorship agreement.

Product placement is authorised in certain circumstances and in certain types of programmes.

Television advertising and teleshopping

Television advertising and teleshopping shall be distinguishable from editorial content through optical, acoustic or spatial means.

The transmission of films made for television (excluding series, serials and documentaries), cinematographic works and news programmes may be interrupted by television advertising or teleshopping on the condition that the interruption only takes place once for each programme period of 30 minutes.

This Directive repeals Directive 89/552/EC.

Key terms of the Act
  • Media service provider: the natural or legal person who has editorial responsibility for the choice of the audiovisual content of the audiovisual media service and determines the manner in which it is organised;
  • Audiovisual commercial communication: images with or without sound which are designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of a natural or legal entity pursuing an economic activity;
  • Sponsorship: any contribution made by public or private undertakings or natural persons not engaged in providing audiovisual media services or in the production of audiovisual works, to the financing of audiovisual media services or programmes with a view to promoting their name, trade mark, image, activities or products;
  • Product placement: the inclusion of a product, a service or a trade mark in a programme in return for payment or for similar consideration.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2010/13/EU

5.5.2010

OJ L 95 of 15.4.2010

Development of relations between the Commission and civil society

Development of relations between the Commission and civil society

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Development of relations between the Commission and civil society

Topics

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

Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society

Development of relations between the Commission and civil society

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 11 December 2002, Towards a reinforced culture of consultation and dialogue – General principles and minimum standards for consultation of interested parties by the Commission [COM(2002) 704 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

By establishing a consultation process, the Commission is encouraging the participation of external interested parties in the development of European policies. Starting the consultation at an early stage in the legislative procedure helps to improve the effectiveness of policies whilst reinforcing the involvement of interested parties and the general public.

External consultation process

The consultation and dialogue are part of the European legislative procedure and complement the work of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in the development of policy. The scope of the consultation depends on the potential impact of a proposal on a particular sector or on whether it represents a major policy reform.

This process differs clearly from the internal decision-making process and the specific consultation processes provided for in the treaties or secondary legislation, as well as in international agreements.

The process for the consultation of interested external parties is not legally binding. Moreover, it cannot be indefinite or permanent.

The Commission advocates open governance involving as broad a participation by citizens as possible, in a growing number of fields.

The specific role of organised civil society

Civil society organisations act as relays between citizens and the European institutions, thus encouraging policy dialogue and the active participation of citizens in achieving the aims of the European Union (EU).

The departments of the Commission thus conduct structured dialogue with these organisations. Improving the consultation procedures will guarantee a more consistent and interactive approach. Interactive mechanisms will allow the impact of Community policies to be assessed, via the feedback of information and the consultation of panels.

Information on the Commission’s formal or structured advisory bodies in which civil society organisations participate can be found in the CONECCS database (Consultation, European Commission and Civil Society), which also includes a voluntary list of civil society organisations established at European level.

The Commission also supports the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. These institutional advisory bodies acts as relays for the views of organised civil society and regional and local authorities respectively.

A consistent consultation framework

More systematic consultation calls for a rationalisation of procedures and the availability of a structured channel for participants’ views to be expressed. Interested parties can express their views via the Internet portal ” Your voice in Europe “.

The consultation is subject to certain general principles, relating to:

  • the broadest possible participation of citizens, from the preparation of European policies until their implementation;
  • the openness and responsibility of each European institution, so that the decision-making process is more visible and more easily understandable for everyone;
  • the effectiveness of the consultations, which are conducted at a sufficiently early stage so as to have a real influence on the development of policies;
  • the consistency and flexibility of the consultation procedures, so that they can be adapted to the various categories of interests.

The consultation must respect certain minimum standards, which provide that:

  • the content of the consultation must be clear. All communication must be sufficiently complete and concise to encourage the interested parties to respond;
  • the groups consulted must be representative and able to express their views;
  • the consultation must be publicised as broadly as possible and be geared as far as possible to the target audience;
  • the timeframe for participation must be long enough for the consulted parties to be able to submit their responses, i.e. at least eight weeks for the receipt of written consultations and 20 working days for meetings;
  • information provided by the parties consulted must be accompanied by a receipt, and the results of the consultations must be publicised.

These consultation principles and standards apply in particular to key Commission proposals, identified in the Commission’s programme of work.

These general principles and minimum standards must be complemented by the dissemination of good practices, such as the diversity, responsibility and integrity of the information gathering exercise.

Background

In this Communication, the Commission is fulfilling the undertakings it made in its 2001 White Paper on European governance to reinforce the culture of consultation and dialogue in the European Union.

This Communication also contributes to the ‘Action Plan for Better Regulation’ and the new approach for evaluating the impact of Community legislation.

Key terms used in the act
  • Organised civil society: Although there is no legal definition of this concept, the term may be used to designate all organisations associating parties from the labour market, organisations representing various socio-economic groups, non-government organisations, community-based and denominational organisations. These groups are the main structures in society outside the State and the public administration.
  • Comitology: according to the Treaty establishing the European Community, it is for the Commission to implement legislation at Community level. To do this, it may call on the assistance of a committee comprising representatives of the Member States in order to establish dialogue with the national administrations. The European Parliament also has an important role in the comitology procedure, as it is entitled to express an opinion on the implementation of legislative acts adopted in codecision.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 5 June 2002, Consultation document: Towards a reinforced culture of consultation and dialogue – Proposal for general principles and minimum standards for consultation of interested parties by the Commission [COM(2002) 277 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission launched a consultation to find out the views of all the parties concerned with the improvement of its external consultation process. These results were incorporated in the final version of the Communication from the Commission concerning the drafting of general principles and minimum standards for consultations.

Commission White Paper of 25 July 2001 on European Governance [COM(2001) 428 final – Official Journal C 287 of 12.10.2001].

Commission Discussion paper of 18 January 2000, The Commission and Non-Governmental Organisations: Building a Stronger Partnership [COM(2000) 11 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
This Discussion Paper emphasises the Commission’s desire to build stronger partnerships with non-government organisations (NGOs). They contribute by their work towards reinforcing participative democracy by improving the representation of certain groups of citizens with the European institutions, as well as with their support for the definition of policies, the management of projects and European integration. Having identified the main issues that hamper such partnerships, the Commission proposes simplifying funding procedures, facilitating access to information and establishing regular dialogue through formalised consultations.

Animal health

Animal health

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Animal health

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

Food safety > Animal health

Animal health

In order to prevent and to combat diseases afflicting animals, the European Union has devised measures to limit the risks of outbreaks and the spread of these diseases and to eradicate them once they have been detected. This legislation complements the rules on veterinary checks and food hygiene, and includes general provisions on the surveillance, notification and treatment of infectious diseases and their vectors, and specific provisions for certain diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), foot and mouth disease or bird flu. Rules applicable to animal medicines have also been established.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

  • European Union Animal Health Strategy (2007-2013)
  • Monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents
  • Control of salmonella and other zoonotic agents
  • Notification of diseases
  • Community strategy against antimicrobial resistance

TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES (TSEs) AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES (BSEs)

  • Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs)
  • BSE: state of play in March 2003

FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

  • The fight against foot-and-mouth disease

BLUETONGUE

  • Bluetongue

CLASSIC AND AFRICAN SWINE FEVERS

  • Control of classical swine fever
  • African swine fever

OTHER DISEASES

  • African horse sickness
  • Swine vesicular disease and other animal diseases
  • Avian influenza
  • Fight against Newcastle disease
  • Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof
  • Control measures: fish diseases

VETERINARY MEDICINE

  • Community code relating to veterinary medicinal products
  • Preparation and marketing of medicated foodstuffs for animals

State aid in the agriculture sector

State aid in the agriculture sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid in the agriculture sector

Topics

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

Agriculture > General framework

State aid in the agriculture sector

Document or Iniciative

Community guidelines for state aid in the agriculture and forestry sector 2007-13 [Official Journal C 319 of 27.12.2006].

Summary

The guidelines cover state aid in the agriculture and forestry sector for the period 2007-13 and replace the previous guidelines (2000-06) established for agriculture.

These guidelines apply to state aid granted for the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. Annex I of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides a detailed list of the agricultural products included. They do not apply to the fisheries and aquaculture sector but, unlike the previous ones (2000-06), are applicable for aid for some forestry activities.

European Union (EU) countries are still obliged to notify the Commission of state aid for certain Annex I products that are not covered by a common market organisation (CMO), but the Commission may only make observations on the aid schemes. EU countries are invited to take on board these observations to avoid the risk of infringement procedures.

State aid is categorised in the guidelines as follows:

  • rural development measures;
  • aid for risk and crisis management;
  • other types of aid;
  • aid for the forestry sector.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT MEASURES

In line with Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, which regulates EU support for rural development (the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)), the guidelines set out the rules governing state aid for rural development measures or other closely related measures.

Aid may be authorised for investment in agricultural holdings in the following cases:

  • aid for investment in agricultural holdings proper;
  • aid for the conservation of traditional landscapes and buildings;
  • aid to relocate farm buildings where this is done in the public interest;
  • aid for necessary investment to improve the environment, hygiene conditions and animal welfare;
  • aid for additional costs due to investment made in EU countries to implement Directive 91/676/EEC;
  • aid for investment in compliance with applicable EU or national rules (only for additional costs incurred by young farmers to implement the rules within 36 months of their establishment).

Aid for investment in connection with the processing and marketing of agricultural products is authorised where it meets the conditions laid down in one of the following provisions:

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008;
  • the Commission guidelines on national regional aid for 2007–13.

Environmental and animal welfare aid must meet the general objectives of EU environmental policy. This consists of the precautionary principle and the principles that preventive action should be taken, that as a priority environmental damage should be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.

Aid to compensate for handicaps in certain areas must contribute to maintaining land use for agriculture, conserving rural areas and maintaining and promoting sustainable farming systems. To qualify for this aid, EU countries must demonstrate the handicaps in question and provide proof that the amount of aid avoids any overcompensation of these handicaps. The level of compensatory payments must be proportionate to the economic impact of the handicaps. Only the economic impact of permanent handicaps that lie outside human control may be taken into account for calculating the amount of compensatory payments.

Aid for meeting standards is designed to cover part of the costs incurred and loss of income as a result of applying standards in the fields of environmental protection, public health, animal and plant health, animal welfare and occupational safety.

Aid for the setting up of young farmers is for persons under 40 years of age who are setting up an agricultural holding for the first time as farm manager. Eligible beneficiaries may also submit a plan to develop their agricultural activities.

Aid for early retirement or for the cessation of farming activities is authorised subject to the conditions for permanent and definitive cessation of commercial farming activities.

Aid for producer groups aims to encourage the establishment of producer groups to concentrate their supply and adapt their production to market requirements. This aid is limited to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Eligible expenditure includes: rental of suitable premises, purchase of office equipment, including computer hardware and software, administrative costs (including staff), overheads and other expenses.

Aid for land reparcelling aims to support the exchange of plots of agricultural land and to facilitate the establishment of economically viable holdings. Aid may only be granted to cover the legal and administrative expenses involved in reparcelling up to 100 % of actual expenditure incurred.

Aid to encourage the production and marketing of quality agricultural products aims to improve the quality of agricultural products and to encourage farmers to participate in food quality schemes.

Under technical support in the agricultural sector, aid may be granted for the following measures:

  • education and training provided to farmers and agricultural workers;
  • replacement services to cover farmers’ absence due to holiday or sickness;
  • consultancy services provided by third parties;
  • organisation of forums to pool knowledge between enterprises and organisation of and participation in competitions, exhibitions or fairs;
  • publication of factual or scientific data;
  • publications.

Aid in the livestock sector targets support for the maintenance and improvement of the genetic quality of EU livestock.

Aid for the outermost regions and the Aegean islands aimed at meeting the needs of these regions will be examined by the Commission on a case by case basis, in accordance with the specific legal provisions applying to these regions, and with regard to the compatibility of the measures concerned with rural development programmes for the regions concerned.

RISK AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT

State aid may be granted to manage crises in the sector of primary agricultural production. However, distortions of competition must be avoided as far as possible. Requiring a minimum contribution from producers to losses or the cost of such measures provides an incentive for minimising risk. The following risk and crisis management measures are eligible for state aid:

  • aid to compensate for damage to agricultural production or the means of agricultural production;
  • aid regarding TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) and fallen stock;
  • aid towards the payment of insurance premiums;
  • aid for closing production, processing and marketing capacity.

Aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty will be assessed in accordance with the applicable EU guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty.

OTHER TYPES OF AID

Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 provides certain conditions under which aid for employment and aid for research and development are authorised.

There are horizontal aid instruments applicable to the agriculture sector. State aid for the agriculture sector is also covered by more general rules on the compatibility of aid with the TFEU, such as training aid (which is also covered by Regulation (EC) No 800/2008), state aid in connection with investment capital, state aid in the form of guarantees and state aid in the form of public service compensation.

Aid for advertising agricultural products may be authorised if the advertising campaign is centred on quality products – recognised EU designations (such as registered designation of origin – protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI)) or for national or regional quality labels. Advertising campaigns must not be dedicated directly to the products of one or more particular company or companies.

Aid linked to tax exemptions under Directive 2003/96/EC may be granted by applying reduced or zero rates of taxation, provided that no differentiation is made in the agricultural sector. This covers products used as fuel for primary agricultural production or energy and electricity products used for primary agricultural production.

Aid in the form of subsidised short-term loans is no longer authorised.

AID FOR THE FORESTRY SECTOR

Up to now there have not been any specific EU rules governing state aid for the forestry sector. Aid could be granted under EU general rules for all sectors or under certain specific regulations. In the interests of transparency, the Commission has therefore sought to more clearly define EU policy on state aid for the forestry sector. However, the guidelines apply only to living trees and their natural environment in forests and other wooded land. They do not apply to state aid for forest-based industries, timber transport, wood processing or other forestry resources used as products or for the purpose of energy generation.

Aid in the forestry sector is authorised for the following purposes:

  • to contribute directly towards maintaining and enhancing the ecological, protective and recreational functions of forests, local biodiversity and a healthy forest ecosystem;
  • afforestation of agricultural and non-agricultural land, establishment of agri-forestry systems on agricultural land, Natura 2000 payments, payments for the forestry environment, restoring forest potential, introducing prevention systems, and non-productive investments;
  • to cover additional costs and loss of revenue linked to using more demanding environmentally friendly forestry techniques than those imposed by the rules, if the owners concerned undertake voluntarily to use these techniques and this commitment meets certain conditions;
  • to purchase forestry land, provided that the intensity of aid is within the limits set for aid for investment in agricultural holdings;
  • training for forestry owners and workers and for consultancy services provided by third parties;
  • setting up forestry associations;
  • support for initiatives to spread new techniques, pilot or demonstration projects under the conditions laid down in the chapter on technical assistance in the agricultural sector in the guidelines.

PROCEDURES

All new aid schemes and all new aid must be notified to the Commission before they are implemented, unless the aid is covered by one of the exemption regulations adopted by the Commission. In contrast to the guidelines for 2000-06, only aid schemes of limited duration are now authorised, with the maximum duration being seven years. These new guidelines apply from 1 January 2007.

EU countries must submit annual reports and the Commission reserves the right to request additional information.

These guidelines apply until 31 December 2013. However, the Commission reserves the right to amend them in the light of important considerations of competition policy, agricultural policy, human and animal health or in order to take account of other EU policies or international commitments.

BACKGROUND

The new guidelines form part of the 2003 reform of the CAP, which confirms the importance of rural development and shows the Commission’s concern to make aid granted by EU countries in the agriculture sector more coherent. The guidelines for the period 2007-13 are based on Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and in particular Articles 88 and 89 thereof, which contain specific provisions regarding state aid.

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

Topics

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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

1) Objective

To draw up roadmaps setting out the main steps to be taken by Bulgaria and Romania to ensure that they are ready for accession.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 13 November 2002 – Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania [COM(2002)624 – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

In its 2002 strategy paper for enlargement, the Commission indicated that roadmaps would be adopted for Bulgaria and Romania. They were in fact adopted at the Copenhagen European Council held on 12 and 13 December 2002. The communication contains these roadmaps, aimed at helping Romania and Bulgaria to meet the necessary criteria before accession (the European Council supports the efforts of both countries to join the Union in 2007). To achieve this goal, the roadmaps set out the tasks to be completed by these countries and provide additional financial assistance.

Among the tasks to be carried out, the roadmaps concentrate, in particular, on the administrative and judicial capacities required in the countries to enable them to implement the acquis and on economic reform.

The Commission proposes a substantial increase in the financial assistance for Bulgaria and Romania from the first wave of accessions (which should take place in May 2004). It proposes that the assistance should be increased gradually until 2006, when it should total 40% more than the average assistance granted to both countries from 2001 to 2003. All additional assistance will be conditional on making progress in line with the roadmaps and each country’s capacity to use the funds effectively. The instruments used will continue to be the same, in other words Phare, ISPA and SAPARD. Additional aid will be used to help Bulgaria and Romania prepare for participation in the Structural Funds.

The roadmaps cover the period up to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania and will be updated periodically in view of progress in the negotiations and developments in the countries.

The Commission will continue to monitor the progress and implementation of the commitments made at Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession negotiations, in particular through the regular reports published each year. The next regular reports will contain an assessment of the implementation of the roadmaps.

Roadmap for Bulgaria

The roadmap for Bulgaria concentrates on administrative and judicial capacities, economic reform and the chapters of the acquis. The current situation in these three areas is described and steps to be taken are indicated. As regards administrative capacity, a reform strategy should be drawn up. As regards judicial capacity, the Commission expresses its support for the implementation of a strategy and action plan for the reform of the judicial system. As far as economic reform is concerned, priority should be given to the following aspects: the privatisation programme, development of small and medium-sized businesses, the programme to reduce and simplify licensing procedures, reform of the customs and tax administrations, bankruptcy procedures, development of financial intermediation, enforcement of property rights, transactions and prices of agricultural land, and public investment in education, the environment, health and infrastructure. Finally, for each of the chapters of the acquis, the necessary measures are indicated.

Roadmap for Romania

The roadmap for Romania also concentrates on administrative and judicial capacities, economic reform and the chapters of the acquis. The current situation in these three areas is described and steps to be taken are indicated. Key areas for the reform of the public administration and the reform of the judiciary are highlighted. The Commission will support these reforms through the Phare programme. Priority areas for the economic reform are set out: rate of inflation, inter-enterprise arrears, wage bill in the public sector, energy costs, tax reform, budgetary reform, bankruptcy procedures, development of financial intermediation, enforcement of property rights, transactions and prices of agricultural land, public enterprise reform, completion of privatisation in the banking sector, public investment in infrastructure, education, the environment and health, and reduction of State aid. Finally, for each of the chapters of the acquis, the necessary measures are indicated.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

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

The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Topics

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

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

As potential candidates, the countries of the Western Balkans have a European perspective. Recognised during the Feira European Council in 2000 and confirmed by the Thessaloniki European Council in 2003, this European perspective is integrated into the stabilisation and association process, which is the European Unions policy in relation to the countries of the Western Balkans. In addition to the specific regional requirements regarding political and economic stability and regional cooperation, the stabilisation and association process has gradually incorporated the enlargement process instruments to bring the countries of the region closer to the EU.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

  • Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective
  • Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans
  • Integration into the European Union
  • The stabilisation and association process
  • Kosovo – Towards European integration

Enlargement Strategy

  • Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012
  • 2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy
  • Enlargement strategy 2009-2010
  • Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008
  • Enlargement strategy 2006-2007: challenges and integration capacity
  • Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans

Stabilisation and association agreements

  • Partnerships with the Western Balkans
  • European Partnership with Albania
  • European Partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • European partnership with Montenegro
  • European Partnership with Serbia, including Kosovo
  • Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
  • Readmission agreements with the countries of the western Balkans

INSTRUMENTS

Financial Instruments

  • Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)
  • European Agency for Reconstruction
  • The CARDS programme (2000-2006)

Specific instruments

  • Participation in Community programmes
  • Exceptional trade measures
  • Exceptional trade measures

SECTORAL COOPERATION

  • European Training Foundation (ETF)
  • The Energy Community Treaty
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

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

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [Official Journal C 155 of 8.7.2009].

Summary

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of Member States promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training (VET).

Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems, especially by improving the effectiveness of training. Therefore, it should underpin every policy initiative in VET.

Member States are invited to develop and use this instrument on a voluntary basis. The main users of the reference framework will be national and regional authorities as well as public and private bodies responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of VET.

Implementation

As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help Member States to assess clearly and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed.

The methodology proposed by the framework is based on:

  • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
  • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle (Annex I);
  • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results – some indicators are to be based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature (Annex II).

The recommendation stresses a culture of quality improvement and responsibility at all levels, i.e. at the VET-system, VET-provider and qualification-awarding levels. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET attaches importance to systematic self-assessment. It includes internal and external assessment mechanisms that are to be defined by Member States. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.

Drawing on the framework, Member States should develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders should be involved in this development work.

European network for quality assurance

The recommendation encourages Member States to participate actively in the European network for quality assurance in VET, using it as a basis for further development of common principles and tools for quality improvement in VET at national, regional and local levels.

The recommendation also encourages Member States to designate Quality Assurance National Reference Points for VET, to bring together competent bodies and involve all relevant players at national and regional levels. These reference points will promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support Member States’ self-evaluation as well as the Network’s work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.

Background

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It will promote the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

The recommendation responds to the resolutions of the 2002 Barcelona European Council, which set the target of making Europe’s education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. It is also in line with the Copenhagen process, which concerns re-launching cooperation in vocational education and training.

 

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Non-commercial movements of pet animals

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

Food safety > Veterinary checks animal health rules food hygiene

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals and amending Council Directive 92/65/EEC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Regulation harmonises the health requirements applicable to pet animals which are moved within the European Union (EU) for non-commercial reasons. It also reinforces the standards applicable to animals coming in from third countries.

This Regulation aims to guarantee a high level of protection for human and animal health while facilitating movements of pet animals * accompanied by their owners.

Animals concerned

This Regulation deals with:

  • dogs,
  • cats,
  • ferrets,
  • invertebrates (except bees and crustaceans),
  • ornamental tropical fish,
  • amphibians,
  • reptiles,
  • birds (except poultry which are covered by Directives 2009/158/EC and 92/65/EEC),
  • rodents, and
  • domestic rabbits.

However, the health requirements applicable to these animals are not harmonised. The national rules prevail.

This Regulation applies without prejudice to the provisions on species of wild fauna and flora.

Identification of animals

Cats, dogs and ferrets must be identified by means of an electronic chip (transponder) or a clearly readable tattoo. As from 3 July 2011, transponders will be the only accepted means of identification.

The transponder is already recognised as the only valid means of identification in Ireland, Malta and United Kingdom.

Movements of pet animals between Member States

Animals travelling, accompanied by their owner, within the European Union must be accompanied by a passport * issued by a veterinarian authorised by the competent authority in their Member State of origin.

The passport of the animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) must certify that the animal complies with the health requirements detailed below and, in the case of Finland, Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with the additional national rules required by these countries.

Entry of pet animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) into the territory of a Member State is subject to compliance with the following three conditions:

  • the animal must have a system of identification (transponder or tattoo);
  • the animal must be validly vaccinated against rabies;
  • the animal must comply, if necessary, with certain preventive health measures concerning diseases other than rabies.

For a transitory period up until 31 December 2011, entry of pet animals (dogs or cats) into the territory of Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom is subject to compliance with the following additional conditions:

  • the animal must have undergone a neutralising antibody titration (a test aimed at checking the efficacy of the vaccine) in a laboratory approved by the European Commission and following the protocol in force in these Member States;
  • the animal must be treated against ticks (except for Sweden) and tapeworm echinococciosis (this treatment is also required for Sweden) following the protocol in force in these Member States.

In addition, Member States may authorise entry to young animals under three months old and unvaccinated under certain conditions.

Movements of pet animals from third countries

The health rules applicable to intra-Community movements of pet animals also apply to the following countries: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican. They also apply to the third countries listed in Annex II, Part C.

Stricter health rules apply to animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) coming from a third country not listed in Part C of Annex II. If they enter Member States other than Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, these animals must be vaccinated and have undergone a neutralising antibody titration (for Finland treatment against tapeworm echinococcosis is also required until 31 December 2011). The titration must be carried out in a laboratory approved by the European Commission on a blood sample taken at least one month after the vaccination and three months before the movement of the animal.

If they enter Ireland, Malta, Sweden or the United Kingdom, placing in quarantine is foreseen in accordance with the protocol in force in those Member States.

Animals coming from third countries must be accompanied by a certificate issued by an official veterinarian or a passport in the case of reintroduction, certifying that the health rules of this Regulation have been complied with.

Penalties

Where checks, particularly those performed at EU entry points, reveal that an animal does not satisfy the requirements of this Regulation, the authority responsible may decide to return the animal to its country of origin, to isolate it under official supervision for the time necessary to bring it into line with health requirements or, as a last resort, to put the animal down where its return or isolation in quarantine cannot be envisaged.

Key terms of the Act
  • Pet animals: animals of the species listed in Annex I which are accompanying their owners or a natural person responsible for such animals on behalf of the owner during their movement and are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner.
  • Passport: any document enabling the pet animal to be clearly identified and including the points that enable its status with regard to this Regulation to be checked.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 998/2003

3.7.2003

JO L 146, 13.6.2003

DEROGATION FROM THE ACT

Decision 2004/557/EC [Official Journal L 249, 23.7.2004].
This derogation applies to the transit of pet dogs and cats between the island of Bornholm and other parts of the territory of Denmark via Swedish territory.

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

Decision 2004/650/EC

21.9.2004

JO L 298, 23.9.2004

Regulation (EC) No 454/2008

24.6.2008

OJ L 145 of 4.6.2008

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009

20.4.2009

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Regulation (EU) No 438/2010

18.6.2010

OJ L 132 of 29.5.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for information only.

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EU) No 388/2010 of 6 May 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the maximum number of pet animals of certain species that may be the subject of non-commercial movement [Official Journal L 114 of 7.5.2010].

Commission Decision 2007/25/EC of 22 December 2006 as regards certain protection measures in relation to highly pathogenic avian influenza and movements of pet birds accompanying their owners into the Community [Official Journal L 8, 13.1.2007].
See consolidated version

Commission Decision 2005/91/EC of 2 February 2005 establishing the period after which the anti-rabies vaccination is considered as valid [Official Journal L 31, 4.2.2005].

Commission Decision 2004/839/EC of 3 December 2004 establishing conditions for non-commercial movements of young dogs and cats from third countries into the Community [Official Journal L 361, 8.12.2004].

Commission Decision 2004/824/EC of 1 December 2004 establishing a model health certificate for non-commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets from third countries into the Community [Official Journal L 358, 3.12.2004].

Commission Decision 2003/803/EC of 26 November 2003 establishing a model passport for the intra-Community movements of dogs, cats and ferrets [Official Journal L 312 of 27.11.2003].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council in connection with Article 23 of Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals [COM(2007) 578 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report concerns the measures to be taken at the end of the transitional period during which Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom have maintained anti-rabies measures as a specific condition of entry. With a view to achieving full harmonisation of the rules in force in the EU, the Commission is assessing the options available for revising the current arrangements. This assessment is based on the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority. The options available include continuing on a permanent basis, extending, lifting or adjusting the conditions of entry for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Finland and Sweden. However, since the discussions on amending the Regulation will last for longer than the time provided for by the Regulation, the Commission will initially opt for an extension of the period of application of those rules.

Early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases

Early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 2000/57/EC of 22 December 1999 on the early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 21 of 26.1.2000] [See amending acts].

Summary

EVENTS TO BE REPORTED

The Community network’s early warning and response system (EWRS) shall be reserved for Community-level events, or indications for such events, which have the potential to become public health threats. Member States shall notify such events and then collect and exchange all necessary information on these events. The scope of the EWRS also includes the notification and coordination of countermeasures applied or envisaged to deal with events constituting a health threat. This coordination between Member States shall take place in liaison with the Commission.

Events caused by communicable diseases, and the health measures undertaken in response to them should be notified simultaneously to the EWRS and the World Health Organization (WHO) if they constitute an emergency with international impact by virtue of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

The events to be reported within the early warning and response system are as follows:

  • outbreaks of communicable diseases extending to more than one Member State of the Community;
  • spatial or temporal clustering of cases of disease of a similar type, if pathogenic agents are a possible cause and there is a risk of propagation between Member States;
  • spatial or temporal clustering of cases of disease of a similar type outside the Community, if pathogenic agents are a possible cause and there is a risk of propagation to the Community;
  • the appearance or resurgence of a communicable disease or an infectious agent which may require coordinated Community action to contain it;
  • pathological events or facts creating a risk of a communicable disease and related measures notified to the WHO under the terms of the IHR 2005.

The competent authorities of each Member State shall collect and exchange all necessary information on these events and all measures taken or envisaged to deal with these events or the indications of such events, e.g. by using the national surveillance system or the epidemiological surveillance component of the Community network.

CONTACT TRACING

When measures are taken by the competent authorities of Member States to trace persons who have been exposed to a source of infectious agents and who have developed or are in danger of developing a communicable disease of Community relevance (‘contact tracing’), personal data may sometimes be exchanged within the EWRS. When exchanging personal data the Member States concerned by contact tracing must use a selective communication channel. This shall offer appropriate guarantees when communicating personal data within the EWRS and should ensure that only adequate, relevant and not excessive personal data is circulated within the EWRS. An indicative list of personal data has been established specifically for contact tracing. It includes information concerning:

  • travellers;
  • accompanying persons;
  • details of persons to be contacted in an emergency.

European legislation on personal data protection (Directive 96/45/EC and Regulation 45/2001/EC) prevails in this case.

PROCEDURES

The Decision provides for procedures for information, consultation and cooperation among Member States and in liaison with the Commission. These procedures are applied at three levels:

Activation level 1: information exchange

Action level 1 is put in place if the information collected at national level suggests that an event representing a health risk is likely. In this case, the Commission and the Member States concerned must ensure that information is exchanged rapidly. The information collected must be assessed as quickly as possible by the competent national health authorities.

Activation level 2: potential threat

In the event of a potential threat to public health, similar information, consultation and cooperation procedures shall be set up. Provision is made for phases of verification/evaluation of the information and deactivation of the system.

Activation level 3: definite threat

In the event of a definite threat, the health authorities concerned shall inform their counterparts in other Member States and the Commission without delay of the nature and scope of the potential threat and the measures they intend to take themselves or in association with other Member States.

Coordination of measures

The health authorities concerned shall without delay inform other Member States and the Commission of the progress and results of the measures taken. They may adopt further measures to be taken at Community level. The Commission shall support Member States in coordinating their efforts to cope with the public health threat and to ensure protection of the population.

Deactivation

The system shall be deactivated after the agreement of the Member States concerned, which shall inform other Member States and the Commission.

Information to the general public and concerned professions

If an event arises, Member States shall without delay provide suitable information material to concerned professionals and the general public and shall inform them of the measures adopted.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2000/57/EC

23.12.1999

OJ L 21 of 26.1.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 351/2008/EC

1.5.2008

OJ L 117 of 1.5.2008

Decision 2009/547/EC

OJ L 181 of 14.7.2009

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament Operation of the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) of the Community Network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases during 2006 and 2007 (Decision 2000/57/EC) (Text with EEA relevance) [ – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 March 2007 on the operation of the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) of the Community Network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases during years 2004 and 2005 (Decision 57/2000/EC) [ – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission of 29 March 2005 on the operation of the early warning and response system of the Community Network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases (Decision 2000/57/EC) during 2002 and 2003 [COM(2005) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 1998 setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community.