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Reform of the common agricultural policy

Reform of the common agricultural policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the common agricultural policy


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

Agriculture > General framework

Reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP)

Since its inception, the common agricultural policy has had to adapt a great deal in order to meet the challenges with which it has been faced over the years: in the early days it concentrated on attaining the goals set out in Article 39 of the Treaty, securing a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and ensuring security of supply at affordable prices, and then it had to control quantitative imbalances. Finally it embarked on a new approach based on a combination of lowering institutional prices and making compensatory payments. The aim of the new CAP reform is to deepen and widen the 1992 reform by replacing price support measures with direct aid payments and accompanying this process by a consistent rural policy.

The new challenges

New internal and external challenges have now arisen:

  • strong growth is predicted on the world agricultural market with prices offering a good rate of return. The current level of CAP prices is too high for the EU to meet international undertakings and to be able to take advantage of the expansion of world markets, with the risk that surpluses will appear again and create intolerable budget costs, and market share may be lost within the Community and on the world level;
  • agricultural support is distributed somewhat unequally between regions and producers, resulting in poor countryside planning: a decline in agriculture in some regions and overly intensive farming practices in others, generating pollution, animal diseases and poorer food safety;
  • making the CAP more acceptable to the average citizen, to the consumer, is a key task;
  • the strength of the agricultural sector in the Union rests on its diversity: its natural resources, its farming methods, its competitiveness and income levels, and also its traditions. With successive enlargements, the management of the CAP has become far too complex and bureaucratic, and sometimes even almost impossible to understand. A new, more decentralised model has, therefore, to be developed which grants the Member States greater freedom without any risk of distorting competition or renationalising the CAP but with shared, clear ground rules and rigorous controls;
  • the Union has to prepare its agricultural sector for international negotiations and define the limits of what it finds acceptable;
  • enlargement makes market management and simplification measures even more necessary as the economies in the applicant countries are still heavily dependent on agriculture.

The responses

The agreement reached at the European Council in Berlin responds to the key Agenda 2000 proposals, giving concrete shape to a European model for agriculture in the years ahead.

The Berlin European Council reaffirmed that the content of the reform will secure a multifunctional, sustainable and competitive agriculture throughout Europe, including in regions facing particular difficulties. It will also be able to maintain the landscape and the countryside, make a key contribution to the vitality of rural communities and respond to consumer concerns and demands regarding food quality and safety, environmental protection and maintaining animal welfare standards.

The Commission’s proposals adopted by the European Council were based on the 1992 reforms which successfully reduced surpluses and controlled expenditure without compromising an average 4.5 % rise in income. This general trend has been confirmed by the European Council in the following guidelines.

  • Continued competitiveness should be ensured by sufficiently large price cuts that will guarantee growth of home-market outlets and increased participation by Community agriculture in the world market. These price reductions are offset by an increase in direct aid payments in order to safeguard the income level.
  • There is to be a new division of functions between the Commission and the Member States, whether concerning compensation in the form of direct payments or rural development measures incorporated into an overall programming framework.
  • This new decentralisation is logically accompanied by a major effort at simplifying the rules, such as the new rural development Regulation, which does away with a large number of regulations, or the market-management regulations, in particular the one on arable crops. Legislation is now clearer, more transparent and easier to access, with red tape for farmers cut to the strict minimum.
  • Rural development becomes the second pillar of the CAP. For the first time, the foundations have been laid for a comprehensive and consistent rural development policy whose task will be to supplement market management by ensuring that agricultural expenditure is devoted more than in the past to spatial development and nature conservancy, the establishment of young farmers, etc. The Member States will be able to vary, i.e. downwards, the direct aids awarded to holdings in line with criteria to be defined by each Member State relating to the amount of labour employed on a farm. Money released in this way is to be allocated by the Member State to agri-environmental schemes.

Beef and veal

The effects of the 1996 crisis on beef and veal consumption should ease. If there is no change in market policy, production should soon creep back up to its maximum potential after 2001, while consumption is set to decline in the long term. Over-production cannot be solved by slaughtering young calves, nor by imposing quotas limiting the number of animals or production levels.

The new Regulation cuts effective market support. It should be possible to stabilise market prices with the aid of protective measures at the Community’s external frontiers and measures relating to exports, and by introducing a private storage scheme similar to that for pigmeat.

Farmers will undoubtedly suffer losses of income which they should be able to offset by adapting production methods and investments. In return, they will be granted direct income payments by head of cattle, which will be increased gradually.

A number of simplifications have been made in the beef and veal sector, such as the abolition of the marketing system and the processing premium for veal calves. The intervention scheme will apply only in severe crises. Finally, the new Regulation repeals a number of other Regulations.

Milk and milk products

The Regulation establishes a new common market organisation for dairy products. It remains based on intervention and public storage of butter and skimmed-milk powder as well as certain aid schemes and marketing measures. Intervention prices for butter and skimmed milk powder are to be cut from the marketing year 2005/06 to improve competitiveness on both internal and external markets. As for internal market aid measures, a number of Regulations have been repealed, resulting in a major simplification of the legislation in this sector.

The new system is to extend the quota scheme until 2007/08, in order to gradually reduce internal and external consumer prices. The total reference quantity has been increased and the additional quantity will be allocated to Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Tobacco, olive oil and wine

In December 1996 the Commission presented a report on the tobacco regime to the Council and the Parliament, giving a positive assessment of the 1992 reform and proposing extending it along the same guidelines. In February 1997, the Commission presented a report on the olive oil regime, in which it suggested replacing price support with direct aid payments and a radical simplification of these payments. The new regime takes account of the proposals in both of these reports.

For wine, a reform proposal had been pending at Council level since 1994. Developments in the sector have largely been influenced by the Uruguay Round agreement. The new Regulation follows the guidelines laid down in the 1995 “agricultural strategy document”. The new Regulation replaces 23 Council Regulations previously in force, thus clarifying the system immensely and facilitating more direct access to the legislation.

The ban on planting vines has been maintained and will be operated flexibly to allow development of wine production where there is growing demand. The grubbing measures have also been maintained, although targeted more specifically at regions with serious and persistent structural surpluses. Intervention will be eliminated, while a “crisis distillation” mechanism will be introduced to deal with exceptional cases of market disturbance.

Lastly, the Regulation officially recognises the potential role of producer groups and inter-branch organisations, and it provides for major adjustments to the designation and presentation of wine sector products to ensure that consumers are better informed.

Arable crops

The intervention price for arable crops has been cut. The Regulation provides for an increase in direct payments for cereals and silage maize in two steps, from EUR 54 to EUR 63 per tonne. Payments for oilseeds and non-textile linseed are to be progressively reduced in three stages to the same level as cereals. Protein crops will receive a direct payment of EUR 72.5 per tonne, thus ensuring their profitability in relation to other arable crops. The special scheme for durum wheat is to be continued.

Compulsory set-aside has been retained, and voluntary set-aside is still allowed: it has, however, been made more effective and should have a more positive impact on the environment. The level of compensation for set-aside, both compulsory and voluntary, will be the same as for cereals.

Although the essential elements of the existing regime (in particular the base areas, the regionalisation scheme, the link to historic yields and the set-aside provisions) have been retained, major simplifications have been achieved.

Rural policy

The accompanying measures previously financed by the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) have been complemented by aid for less-favoured areas and areas whose development is lagging behind. All these measures have been applied horizontally and implemented in a decentralised manner. For rural areas eligible under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds the current system will be maintained. In rural areas eligible under the new Objective 2 (former Objectives 5(a) and 5(b)), measures are financed under the EAGGF Guarantee Section. Objective 2 is financed through the intermediary of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). Any measures in favour of rural areas that are not eligible under the Structural Funds are part-financed under the EAGGF Guarantee Section.

To improve integration of environmental objectives in the common market organisations, the new reform enables Member States to make direct aid payments conditional on compliance with environmental provisions.

More specifically, the measures aim to:

  • strengthen the agricultural and forestry sectors by trying to promote quality agricultural products. The reform includes measures concerning the establishment of young farmers and conditions for taking early retirement;
  • improve the competitiveness of rural areas with the aim above all of improving the quality of life of rural communities and creating new sources of income for farmers and their families;
  • preserve the environment and European rural heritage via agri-environmental measures such as organic farming. To help the further ‘greening’ of the CAP, the traditional compensatory allowances in support of farming in less-favoured areas will be extended to areas where farming is restricted by the existence of specific environmental constraints.

Member States must, however, ensure that farmers are able to demonstrate that they do not exercise activities solely for the purpose of obtaining the benefit of support payments.

The financial framework

The new financial framework must cover the development of the CAP and the effects of enlargement in a coherent fashion and within reasonable budget limits, for a sufficient length of time. At the same time, it must finance key needs and ensure sound management of public funds. A simplified and comprehensive agricultural policy can now make it clear that the expenditure it involves is justified by the services which society at large expects farmers to provide.

The Berlin European Council considered that this reform could be implemented within a financial framework of an average level of EUR 40.5 billion plus EUR 14 billion over the period for rural development as well as veterinary and plant health measures. The reform aims at stabilising agricultural expenditure over the period while staying more in keeping with actual levels of spending.

In the light of these decisions, the European Council considered that the amounts to be entered in heading 1 of the financial perspective should be those indicated below. The Inter-institutional Agreement will ensure that all parties abide by this agreement.

Heading 1
(EUR million – 1999 prices)
CAP expenditure
(excluding rural development and accompanying measures)
Rural development and accompanying measures
40 920
42 800
43 900
43 770
42 760
41 930
41 660
36 620
38 480
39 570
39 430
38 410
37 570
37 290
4 300
4 320
4 330
4 340
4 350
4 360
4 370

The agricultural guideline will also remain unchanged. It will be re-examined on the basis of a report which the Commission will present to the Council before the next enlargement of the European Union in order to make any adjustment considered necessary. The amount set aside in the financial perspective for the agricultural pre-accession instrument (EUR 250 million – 1999 prices) falls within the ceiling established by the guideline.

The European Council acknowledged the scale of the efforts being made to curb the budget and exercise rigour in implementing the common agricultural policy decided within the framework of Agenda 2000, the reduction in support prices being largely compensated by expenditure on the rural development budget and other accompanying measures (direct income aids, early retirement, aid to young farmers, etc.).

Preparations must be made for the accession of the applicant countries in accordance with the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council in compliance with the horizontal pre-accession framework provided by a general coordination Regulation. The applicant countries are facing major difficulties in adapting to a rather complex Community acquis and completing the institutional process of privatisation and transformation of agricultural structures.

Concentrating on priority needs for agriculture, which remains a major source of employment, pre-accession measures concern in particular support for improving the efficiency of holdings and producer groups, processing and distribution, promotion of quality products, veterinary and phytosanitary control, land re-parcelling, water resource management, vocational training, environment, and the maintenance of rural heritage, etc.

Responding to the challenge of enlargement means giving a fresh boost to the development and integration of the European economy as a whole.

The efforts made, notably in terms of reducing support prices, represent an essential contribution by the European Community to stabilise the world’s agricultural markets. The European Council considers that the decisions adopted regarding the reform of the CAP within the framework of Agenda 2000 will constitute key elements in defining the Commission’s negotiating mandate for the future multilateral trade negotiations at the WTO.

State aid for public service broadcasting

State aid for public service broadcasting

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for public service broadcasting


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

Audiovisual and media

State aid for public service broadcasting

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting [Official Journal C 257 of 27.10.2009].


Since the 2001 Communication from the Commission on the application of state aid rules to public broadcasting, technological changes have significantly changed the broadcasting and audiovisual markets, including an increase in competition with new players entering the market as well as the availability of new media services. In order to compete, both public and private broadcasters have had to diversify their activities, moving to new distribution platforms and expanding the range of their services. This diversification of the publicly funded activities of public service broadcasters has resulted in a number of complaints by other market players. There have also been significant legal developments since the 2001 Communication, with the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which extends the scope of the European Union (EU) audiovisual regulation to emerging media services. Due to these technological, market and legal developments, an update to the 2001 Communication on state aid for public broadcasting is necessary.

The assessment of state aid in the EU is based on Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)). In accordance with Article 107 TFEU, state aid includes the following conditions:

  • aid must be granted by an EU country, or by means of state resources;
  • it must distort or threaten to distort competition by favouring the beneficiary;
  • it must be liable to affect trade between EU countries.

Article 106(2) TFEU (ex-Article 86(2) TEC) provides a derogation from the ban on state aid for undertakings operating a service of general economic interest. To benefit from this exemption, the following conditions apply:

  • the service in question is clearly defined as a service of general economic interest by the EU county concerned;
  • the undertaking in question must be explicitly entrusted by the EU country with the provision of that service;
  • the ban on state aid must obstruct the performance of the particular tasks assigned to the undertaking and the exemption from the ban must not affect the development of trade to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

For public broadcasting the above must be adapted in accordance with the Amsterdam Protocol which:

  • states that the public service remit is conferred, defined and organised by each EU country;
  • provides for a derogation for funding granted to broadcasting organisations for the fulfilment of the public service remit so long as it does not affect trading conditions and competition in the EU to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

The state aid assessment by the Commission requires transparency. This consists of a precise definition of the public service remit. The undertaking carrying out this service must be clearly entrusted with that task. The public service compensation should not exceed the net costs of the public service. EU countries should ensure regular supervision of the use of public funding and the carrying out of the public service mandate.

In relation to the diversification of public broadcasting services, the Commission considers that public service broadcasters should be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitisation and internet-based services to benefit society by offering services on all platforms, provided that it does not distort competition or disproportionately affect the market. However, EU countries must consider whether significant new audiovisual services envisaged by public service broadcasters fulfil the conditions of the Amsterdam Protocol in serving the democratic, social and cultural needs of the society, without having disproportionate effects on trading conditions and competition. EU countries must determine what qualifies as a significant new service.

The rapid evolution of the broadcasting markets means that broadcasters are turning to new sources of financing, such as online advertising or the provision of services for payment. Whilst traditionally public broadcasting services are free-to-air, the Commission considers that a direct remuneration in such services does not necessarily mean that the services are not part of the public service remit. The communication states that as long as the pay element does not compromise the benefit to society which distinguishes public services from purely commercial activities.

Action programme to combat discrimination

Action programme to combat discrimination

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action programme to combat discrimination


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

Action programme to combat discrimination (2001-2006)

This Decision establishes an action programme to support and complete the action taken by Member States to combat all forms of discrimination. From 1 January 2007, this programme is replaced by the PROGRESS Community programme.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2000/750/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a Community action programme to combat discrimination (2001 to 2006).


The goal of this programme was to encourage concrete measures to combat discrimination and to supplement the activities (mainly legislative) of the European Union (EU) and the Member States. Discrimination where a person or group of persons are treated less favourably on the grounds of the characteristics indicated in the Treaty (race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, etc.) or if the application of an apparently neutral provision is liable to adversely affect this person or group for the same reasons.

The EU wishes in particular:

  • to improve the knowledge and appraisal of the phenomenon through the evaluation of the effectiveness of policies and practice;
  • to develop the capacity of target actors (local authorities, independent bodies, social partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), etc.), through exchange of information and good practices and the creation of European networks, which in this way will be able to anticipate and tackle discrimination;
  • to promote and disseminate values and practices underlying the fight against discrimination (a particularly important aspect with the prospect of enlargement).

Actions and method

Through this programme, the EU supported the following transnational actions:

  • analysis of factors linked to discrimination (gathering of statistics, studies, evaluation of the effectiveness of policies and dissemination of results);
  • transnational cooperation between the target actors and creation of European networks of NGOs;
  • awareness-raising as regards the European dimension of the fight against discrimination.

These actions were carried out thanks to active cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and civil society. A regular exchange of views between NGOs and the social partners on the design, implementation and follow-up of the programme was organised by the Commission.

An advisory committee, composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission, assisted the Commission in preparing general guidelines for implementation of the programme, the budget and the annual work plan.

The Commission had to ensure overall consistency of combating discrimination with other EU policies, instruments and actions relating to research, employment, equality between women and men, social inclusion, education, training and youth policy and external relations. Together with the Member States, it coordinated the actions adopted under this programme and under the Structural Funds and the Community Initiative EQUAL.

The European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area countries and the applicant countries were free to participate in the programme.

The budget for the period 2001-2006 was EUR 98.4 million.


Following the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the European Union is empowered to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (Article 13 of the EC Treaty).

Community measures to promote equality between men and women were first adopted in the 1970s. On the basis of the experience gained in this area in the field of legislation and practice, the Commission proposed a broader action programme aimed at combating all forms of discrimination referred to in the Treaty, other than discrimination based on gender, which is still the subject of a specific action.

This programme, replaced by the PROGRESS Community programme from 1 January 2007, included a raft of initiatives designed to establish common principles for combating discrimination. A Communication [COM(1999)564 final] sets out the general framework for EU action and, besides the action programme, includes a legislative strand consisting of two directives designed to ensure equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, on the one hand, and in relation to employment and occupation, on the other.



Entry into force – Expiry date

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2000/750/EC 2.12.2000 – 31.12.2006 1.1.2001 OJ L 303 of 2.12.2000

Fight against Newcastle disease

Fight against Newcastle disease

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fight against Newcastle disease


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

Food safety > Animal health

Fight against Newcastle disease

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 92/66/EEC of 14 July 1992 introducing Community measures for the control of Newcastle disease [See amending acts].


This Directive lays down measures for tackling Newcastle disease as soon as its presence is detected in poultry. Similar measures are applied to racing pigeons and other birds kept in captivity.

Once a case of Newcastle disease is suspected, the official veterinarian shall inform the competent authority and implement the measures imposed by them. These measures provide for:

  • the placing of all holdings with suspected outbreaks under surveillance;
  • a record of all categories of poultry kept on the holdings to be made;
  • the isolation of all animals in their living quarters;
  • the banning of transporting poultry;
  • the competent authority to limit the movement of people, vehicles, other animals and materials connected with the poultry, which are liable to be contaminated;
  • the requirement that eggs remain within the holding;
  • the installation of appropriate means of disinfection inside the holding;
  • carrying out an epizootiological inquiry.

The preventative measures shall be withdrawn by the veterinarian once the suspicion of Newcastle disease has been officially ruled out.

Once the presence of Newcastle disease has been officially confirmed, the competent authority shall order a series of measures, including:

  • all poultry on the holding shall be killed;
  • all substances and waste liable to be contaminated shall be destroyed or treated appropriately;
  • meat from poultry from the holding, slaughtered during the presumed incubation period of disease shall be destroyed;
  • eggs laid during the presumed incubation period shall be destroyed;
  • buildings used for housing poultry shall be cleaned and disinfected;
  • no poultry shall be reintroduced to the holding until at least 21 days after completion of cleaning and disinfecting operations;
  • carrying out an epizootiological inquiry.

Some flocks of poultry do not have to be destroyed if the official veterinarian confirms that the animals are healthy and have been completely separated from infected flocks.

After the confirmation of Newcastle disease, the competent authority shall establish a protection zone (based on a minimum radius of three kilometres around the infected holding) and a surveillance zone (based on a minimum radius of 10 kilometres around the infected holding), in which specific measures apply. These measures include, amongst others, the identification of all holdings keeping poultry, periodic visits, clinical examinations and isolating animals. The measures applied in the protection zone shall be withdrawn no less than twenty one days after the cleaning and disinfecting of the holding. In the surveillance zone the measures shall be maintained for thirty days after the cleaning and disinfecting operations.

Each Member State shall designate a national laboratory responsible for coordinating the standards and methods of diagnosis, the use of reagents and the testing of vaccines for Newcastle disease. Each Member State shall then communicate the details of their laboratory to the other Member States and the public. The national laboratories shall work in cooperation with the Community reference laboratory, located in Weybridge (United Kingdom).

Vaccination against Newcastle disease can be carried out in accordance with procedures laid down by Member States. Member States may also provide a vaccination programme for racing pigeons. If the presence of the disease is confirmed, emergency vaccination may also be performed in the zones and for periods as defined by the competent authority.

Each Member State shall draw up a contingency plan which shall determine how Newcastle disease will be managed nationally. The plans shall comply with the series of criteria detailed in this Directive. For example, they must include the establishment of a crisis centre, local disease control centres and detailed information on the staff responsible for the emergency measures.

Commission experts may undertake checks on national establishments.

In order to eradicate Newcastle disease, Member States shall benefit from Community financial assistance according to the conditions defined in Decision 90/424/EEC.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health shall assist the Commission in managing Newcastle disease. They will be involved in designing the checks carried out by the Commission’s experts, amongst other tasks.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 92/66/EEC



OJ L 260 of 5.9.1992

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 806/2003


OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

Directive 2008/73/EC



OJ L 219 of 14.8.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 92/66/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2007/24/CE of 22 December 2006 approving contingency plans for the control of avian influenza and Newcastle disease [Official Journal L 8 of 13.1.2007].

Pure air for Europe

Pure air for Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pure air for Europe


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

Environment > Air pollution

Pure air for Europe

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe.


This Directive lays down measures aimed at the following:

  • defining and establishing objectives for ambient air quality * designed to reduce harmful effects on health and the environment;
  • assessing the ambient air quality in Member States on the basis of common methods and criteria;
  • collating information on ambient air quality in order to monitor long-term trends, in particular;
  • ensuring that such information on ambient air quality is made available to the public;
  • maintaining air quality where it is good and improving it in other cases;
  • promoting increased cooperation between the Member States in reducing air pollution.

Member States shall designate the competent authorities and bodies responsible for evaluating the quality of ambient air, approving measurement systems, ensuring the accuracy of measurements, analysing assessment methods and cooperating with other Member States and the Commission.

Air quality assessment

This Directive establishes a system for the assessment of ambient air quality in relation to sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2,5), lead, benzene and carbon monoxide as well as ozone.

Member States shall establish areas or zones (urban, suburban, rural, rural background) throughout their territory, and assess and manage the air quality.

This Directive sets thresholds for assessment for each pollutant, criteria for the assessment method (in particular the siting of sampling points), reference methods for measurement, limit values * for the protection of human health and the environment, the target and the obligation of reducing exposure for the population to PM2,5, information thresholds * and alert thresholds *, critical levels * for the protection of vegetation and the list of information to be included in action plans for improvement in air quality.

Each Member State shall set up at least one measuring station and may, by agreement with adjoining Member States, set up one or several common measuring stations.

Air quality management and action plans

Where the levels of pollutants in ambient air are below the limit values specified in this Directive, Member States shall maintain the levels of those pollutants below the limit values and shall endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality, compatible with sustainable development.

Where, in given zones or agglomerations, the levels of pollutants in ambient air exceed any limit value or target value *, plus any relevant margin of tolerance in each case, Member States shall ensure that air quality plans are established for those zones and agglomerations in order to achieve the predefined limit value or target value.

In the event of exceedances of those limit values for which the attainment deadline is already expired, the air quality plans shall set out appropriate measures, so that the exceedance period can be kept as short as possible and can include additional specific measures to protect sensitive population groups. Measures similar to those laid down in short-term action plans may be considered.

Where there is a risk that the levels of pollutants will exceed the alert thresholds, Member States shall draw up action plans indicating the measures to be taken in the short term in order to reduce the risk or its duration. These actions plans can in particular suspend activities which contribute to the risk of exceedance (motor-vehicle traffic, construction works, the use of industrial plants etc.). In addition, these action plans may include specific measures aimed at the protection of sensitive population groups, in particular children.

Where thresholds are exceeded due to transboundary transport of air pollutants, the Member States concerned shall cooperate and coordinate their work in order to remove the exceedance.

Public information

Member States shall ensure that up-to-date information on ambient concentrations of the pollutants covered by this Directive is routinely made available to the public and the bodies concerned. Where alert thresholds and information thresholds are exceeded, Member States shall publish:

  1. information on the exceedance or exceedances observed (place, type of threshold, time and duration of the exceedance, highest concentration observed);
  2. forecasts for the following hours and days;
  3. information on the type of population concerned, possible health effects and recommended behaviour;
  4. information on preventative measures and measures to reduce the emissions.

Member States shall also make available to the public annual reports for all pollutants covered by this Directive.


Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.


This Directive repeals and replaces Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management, Directive 1999/30/EC relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air, Directive 2000/69/EC relating to limit values for benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air, Directive 2002/3/EC relating to ozone in ambient air and Decision 97/101/EC establishing a reciprocal exchange of information and data on air pollution within the Member States.

Key Terms of the Act
  • Ambient air: outdoor air in the troposphere, excluding workplaces as defined by Directive 89/645/EEC.
  • Limit value: a level fixed on the basis of scientific knowledge, with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on human health and/or the environment as a whole, to be attained within a given period and not to be exceeded once attained.
  • Target value: a level fixed with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on human health and/or the environment as a whole, to be attained where possible over a given period.
  • Information threshold: a level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for particularly sensitive sections of the population and for which immediate and appropriate information is necessary.
  • Alert threshold: a level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for the population as a whole and at which immediate steps are to be taken by the Member States.
  • Critical level: a level fixed on the basis of scientific knowledge, above which direct adverse effects may occur on some receptors, such as trees, other plants or natural ecosystems but not on humans.


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

Directive 2008/50/EC [adoption COD/2005/0183]



OJ L 152 of 11.6.2008

Community response to the flooding in central Europe

Community response to the flooding in central Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community response to the flooding in central Europe


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

Community response to the flooding in central Europe

1) Objective

To draw up a list of the array of measures that can be taken directly and in the future, in particular the creation of an EU Disaster Relief Fund, to come to the aid of the Member States and applicant countries whose citizens suffer as a result of natural disasters in general and flooding in particular.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – A solidarity-based initiative – The European Community response to the flooding in Austria, Germany and several applicant countries [COM(2002) 481 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

The flooding in central Europe in the summer of 2002 caused considerable damage. The cost in human terms and the damage to infrastructure and the natural and cultural heritage were particularly severe in Germany (EUR 15 billion), Austria (EUR 2 billion), the Czech Republic (EUR 2 to 3 billion) and Slovakia (EUR 35 million).

As a community of peoples, the European Union supports the victims and is doing everything it can to come to their aid. At a time when the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development was taking place in Johannesburg, events like these should also be the occasion to reflect on how such a disaster came to pass, and especially on the exceptional weather conditions and the impact man is having on the environment.

This communication describes briefly the action the European Commission has already taken or proposes to take to come to the aid of the Member States and applicant countries. The Commission is planning mainly to:

  • reallocate existing resources using the possibilities offered by the rules governing the Structural Funds, the common agricultural policy (CAP) and aid to the applicant countries;
  • establish a Disaster Relief Fund at Community level to respond to the consequences of major disasters by rapidly mobilising the necessary resources.


Structural Funds

By modifying their development programmes, regions and Member States can:

  • concentrate funds on flood-related measures in affected regions under ongoing operational programmes and single programming documents;
  • introduce new measures to rebuild infrastructure and for productive investment in companies and training and employment schemes;
  • shift funds from other measures and priorities to the appropriate existing or newly-created measures, including, where necessary, between funds.

Under the “n+2” rule, the Commission can automatically decommit funds for which no admissible application for payment has been submitted by the end of the second year following the year they were committed. However, Member States may, if the under-implementation is due to force majeure, make available again appropriations unused in the two years following commitment.

The Commission will make every effort to take the necessary decisions within the shortest possible time. It will look into the possibility of resorting to the performance reserve (4% of the funds allocated to each Member State) designed to reward the most deserving regions at the end of 2003.


Under the CAP, the Commission will accept:

  • exceptions involving the use of set-aside land:
    Where at least 33% of the area under fodder on a holding has been flooded, set-aside land may be used to feed livestock in some areas of Germany, Austria, Ireland and the United Kingdom;
  • advances on direct payments:
    Germany may grant 50% advances to affected producers up to 15 October 2002;
  • the use of cereals from intervention stocks in Austria.

Rural development

In cases of force majeure, specific arrangements apply making the conditions to be met for obtaining assistance more flexible, for example, regarding stocking densities and agri-environmental requirements. Higher rates of Community part-financing and exceptional changes to programmes can be considered.

Trans-European networks (TEN)

The funds that have not been allocated under the TEN-Transport and TEN-Energy budgets amount to EUR 11 million and EUR 5.9 million respectively. These could be used to support the reconstruction of TEN projects damaged by the floods in Germany and Austria. In addition, EUR 79.7 million is earmarked for Germany and EUR 14.4 million for Austria under the multiannual indicative programmes.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The EIB is currently examining a proposal for the rapid implementation of a flood disaster relief plan. It would make loans totalling EUR 1 billion on favourable terms: with maturities of up to 30 years and, in exceptional circumstances, up to 100% of the cost of individual projects. Global loans to finance SMEs would be part of this aid plan.


Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA)

From unallocated ISPA 2002 funds the Commission will allocate EUR 48 million to the Czech Republic and EUR 28 million to Slovakia. The Commission will raise the ceiling on public aid to 75% and the Community contribution to 85% for projects in affected areas. In addition, the Commission will make available to both countries funds for technical assistance to finance damage assessment and the preparation of projects in full.


The Commission will make available to the Czech Republic an additional EUR 9.75 million from the Phare 2003 reserve.

Instrument for Agricultural Policies for Pre-Accession (SAPARD)

The Commission has made advances of EUR 5.5 million to the Czech Republic and EUR 4.6 million to Slovakia and may double them. It will propose raising the ceiling on public aid to 75% and on the Community contribution to 85%. Action to restore rural areas, where applicable with retroactive effect, will be eligible for Community support.


State aids

Compensation can be up to 100% of material damage. Individual aid is compatible with the aid programmes. Where major delays in production and delivery occur and a clear causal link between the flood and the damage can be established, full compensation is also possible.

Under the ‘de minimis’ rule, aid of up to EUR 100 000 over a three-year period is not subject to the Community State aid rules. Furthermore, public funding for basic infrastructure work such as roads and bridges is not covered by the State aid rules.

Public procurement

The rules for the award of contracts are more flexible in the event of natural disasters. They permit two exceptions to the standard procedure: competitive tendering with a shorter deadline and exemption from the requirement to publish a notice of contract.


Civil protection

During the flooding, full advantage was taken of the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) for civil protection to channel information and coordinate assistance (pumps, vaccines). The SEVESO contact points were alerted about the situation of German and Austrian chemical plants.

The Commission will shortly adopt an integrated Community strategy to prevent natural risks.

A flood alert system

The Commission has developed a flood simulation system (LISFLOOD) providing forecasts between two and ten days in advance and simulations of the impact. The Commission will provide scientific back-up for a European flood warning system which will contain information about the main European catchment areas and have access to medium-term meteorological forecasts.


The Commission is proposing to create a new Disaster Relief Fund to assist regions in Member States and countries involved in accession negotiations which are victims of a major natural, technological or environmental disaster. In addition, the EIB may consider introducing a specific financial mechanism in addition to the Disaster Fund.

Aims, scope and operation of the Disaster Fund

The Fund would provide relief assistance to areas affected by a major disaster, independently of their status under the Structural Funds. The amount of support would be related to the scale of the disaster and could also take account of the prosperity of the region concerned.

With an initial allocation of EUR 500 million, the Fund would be used to:

  • reconstruct infrastructure that has been destroyed, including electricity, water/waste-water, telecommunications, transport and social amenities;
  • secure damaged preventive infrastructure such as dams and dikes.

Assistance from the Fund would be granted on request by the Member State as a global grant under a tripartite agreement between the Member State, the region and the Commission. The selection of projects would be a matter for the country and regions concerned.

The Commission recommends choosing the creation of a new flexibility instrument which would make it possible to observe the financial perspective for 2000-06. Putting this instrument in place would first require the revision of the interinsitutional agreement to establish the procedure for mobilising resources (between EUR 500 million and EUR 1 billion).

It will be necessary for the Council and the European Parliament, acting on a proposal from the Commission, to adopt a legal basis establishing the operational procedure and the criteria for implementing the mechanism. The new budget lines could then be entered under heading 2 (structural actions), 3 (internal policies) or 7 (pre-accession aids) of the financial perspective.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas


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

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

The agreements concluded between the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Western Balkans on facilitating the issuance of visas are intended to simplify and speed up the procedures for issuing visas to nationals of these Western Balkan countries. These agreements are, in principle, coupled with readmission agreements.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/821/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/822/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/823/EC of 8 November on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Montenegro on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/824/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/825/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.


The agreements concluded with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (“partner countries”) are intended to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas to citizens of these countries for stays of up to 90 days per period of 180 days.

When applying for such short-stay visas, citizens of these partner countries benefit from simplified document requirements for justifying the purpose of their journey to the European Union (EU). The documentary evidence to be presented consists of formal documents, such as a written request from the host organisation or other certificate, depending on the category of the applicant (business people, drivers for international transportation services, journalists, students, persons travelling for tourism or for medical reasons, representatives of civil society organisations, etc.).

EU countries’ diplomatic missions and consular posts may issue multiple-entry visas that are valid for up to five years to: members of the governments, parliaments, constitutional courts and supreme courts of partner countries; permanent members of official delegations; spouses and children under the age of 21 visiting citizens of partner countries legally residing in the territory of an EU country. The categories of persons who benefit from simplified document requirements may also be granted multiple-entry visas with a maximum validity period of one year. However, the person concerned must have obtained and used at least one visa during the previous year and have valid reasons for requesting a multiple-entry visa. If such a person has made use of the one-year multiple-entry visa during the previous two years, s/he may be granted a multiple-entry visa that is valid a minimum of two and a maximum of five years.

The standard fee for processing visa applications of partner countries’ citizens is 35 euros. This is waived for certain categories of persons, including close relatives, members of official delegations, students, disabled persons, children under the age of six, journalists, pensioners and drivers for international transportation services.

Visas are issued within 10 days of the receipt of the application. This may be extended to up to 30 days when further scrutiny of the application is needed or may be reduced to 3 days or even less in emergencies.


The participants at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held in Thessaloniki on 21 June 2003 (“Thessaloniki Agenda”) agreed on the principle of liberalisation of the visa regime and began negotiations with a view to concluding the necessary agreements. This process, coupled with discussions on the conclusion of readmission agreements, resulted on 8 November 2007 in the adoption of a series of Council decisions, one for each of the partner countries, establishing the conclusion of agreements based on Article 62, taken in conjunction with Article 300, of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 77 and 218 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).


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

Decision 2007/821/EC


OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/822/EC


OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/823/EC


OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/824/EC


OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/825/EC


OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training


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

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

Document or Iniciative

Declaration of the European Ministers of Vocational Education and Training, and the European Commission, convened in Copenhagen on 29 and 30 November 2002, on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training – “The Copenhagen Declaration ” [Not published in the Official Journal].


The Copenhagen Declaration set the priorities of the Copenhagen process on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET). This process aims to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of VET in Europe. It seeks to encourage the use of the various vocational training opportunities within the lifelong learning (LLL) context and with the help of the LLL tools.

The Copenhagen process consists of:

  • a political dimension, aiming to establish common European objectives and reform national VET systems;
  • the development of common European frameworks and tools that increase the transparency and quality of competences and qualifications and facilitate mobility;
  • cooperation to foster mutual learning at European level and to involve all relevant stakeholders at national level.

The priorities set by the Copenhagen Declaration provide the basis for voluntary cooperation in VET. With the target of 2010, they aim at:

  • reinforcing the European dimension in VET;
  • increasing information, guidance and counselling on, as well as the transparency of, VET;
  • developing tools for the mutual recognition and validation of competences and qualifications;
  • improving quality assurance in VET.

Maastricht Communiquéof 14 December 2004 on the future priorities of enhanced European cooperation in VET

The Maastricht Communiqué confirms the success of the Copenhagen process in raising the visibility and profile of VET at the European level. At the same time, it develops the priorities set by the Copenhagen Declaration. In addition, and for the first time, specific priorities for national level work on VET are provided:

  • application of common instruments and references in reforming and developing VET systems and practices;
  • increasing public/private investment in VET;
  • drawing support from European funds (such as social and regional development) to develop VET;
  • development of VET systems to cater for the needs of disadvantaged people and groups;
  • establishment of open learning approaches as well as flexible and open VET frameworks to enable mobility between different educational levels and contexts;
  • improving the relevance and quality of VET in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders;
  • development of learning-conducive environments both in educational institutions and in the workplace;
  • promotion of VET teachers’ and trainers’ continuous competence development.

Helsinki Communiquéof 5 December 2006 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Helsinki Communiqué evaluates the Copenhagen process, as well as reviews its priorities and strategies. Since the adoption of the Maastricht Communiqué, progress has been achieved on the common European frameworks and tools for VET. The EUROPASS single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competencies was adopted and work is underway on the European Qualifications Framework, the European Credit System for VET (ECVET) and the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET. Strengthened action is now needed on the following priorities:

  • improving the image, status, attractiveness and quality of VET;
  • developing, testing and implementing common European tools for VET, so that they will be in place by 2010;
  • taking a systematic approach to strengthening mutual learning and cooperation, in particular with the use of consistent and comparable data and indicators;
  • involving all stakeholders in the implementation of the Copenhagen process.

Bordeaux Communiquéof 26 November 2008 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Bordeaux Communiqué reviews the priorities and strategies of the Copenhagen process in light of a future education and training programme post-2010. The process has proved to be effective in promoting the image of VET, while maintaining the diversity of national VET systems. Nevertheless, new impetus is needed, in particular regarding the:

  • implementation of VET tools and schemes to promote cooperation at the European and national levels;
  • further improvement of the quality of VET systems and promotion of the attractiveness of VET to all target groups;
  • creation of better links between VET and the labour market;
  • consolidation of European cooperation arrangements.

Bruges Communiquéof 7 December 2010 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training for the period 2011-20

The Bruges Communiqué provides long-term strategic objectives for European cooperation in VET for the period 2011-20. These objectives draw from past achievements and aim to respond to current and future challenges, while taking into account the underlying principles of the Copenhagen process.

The Copenhagen process has significantly helped raise awareness of VET at the European and national levels, in particular through the implementation of the common European VET tools, principles and guidelines. It has triggered profound reforms which have lead to a shift to a learning outcomes approach. Nevertheless, there is a need to improve communication in order to better involve all relevant stakeholders, as well as to better link VET to other policies in order to address socio-economic challenges and make mobility and LLL a reality.

For VET to respond to current and future challenges, European education and training systems must:

  • be flexible and of high quality;
  • adapt to labour market evolutions and understand emerging sectors and skills;
  • ensure the provision of tailored and easily accessible continuing training;
  • ensure the sustainability and excellence of VET through a common approach to quality assurance;
  • empower people to adapt to and manage change by enabling them to acquire key competences;
  • be inclusive;
  • facilitate and encourage VET learners’ and teachers’ transnational mobility;
  • secure sustainable funding for VET and ensure the efficient and equitable use of this funding.

The Copenhagen process forms an integral part of the “Education and Training 2020” (ET2020) strategic framework and will contribute to achieving the education-related targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. With these in mind, the global vision for VET calls for European VET systems that are more attractive, inclusive, relevant, accessible, career-oriented, flexible and innovative by 2020. Based on this vision, the 11 long-term strategic objectives for European cooperation in VET for the period 2011-20, together with the 22 short-term deliverables for the period 2011-14 that provide concrete actions at national level for achieving the strategic objectives, call in particular for:

  • the strengthening of the quality and efficiency as well as the attractiveness and relevance of VET;
  • the realisation of LLL and mobility;
  • the development of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.


The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 recognised the importance of developing high quality VET to promote social inclusion, cohesion, mobility, employability and competitiveness.

The Barcelona European Council of March 2002 called for the creation of a process specific to VET, which would contribute to making European education and training systems a world quality reference by 2010. As a result, the Council adopted in November 2002 a resolution on enhanced cooperation in VET.

Hygiene for food of animal origin

Hygiene for food of animal origin

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Hygiene for food of animal origin


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

Hygiene for food of animal origin

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 29 April 2004, laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin. [See amending act(s)].


Foodstuffs of animal origin listed in Annex I of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union may present microbiological and chemical hazards, necessitating the adoption of specific hygiene rules contributing to the completion of the internal market and ensuring a high level of public health protection. These rules supplement those laid down in Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, which primarily concerns the approval of operators.


The provisions of this Regulation apply to unprocessed and processed products of animal origin, but not to foods consisting of both products of plant origin and processed products of animal origin, unless expressly indicated to the contrary. Furthermore, this Regulation does not apply to the retail trade or to primary production for private consumption, for which the provisions of the above-mentioned Regulation on the hygiene of foodstuffs are sufficient.

Registration and approval of establishments

Establishments handling products of animal origin must be registered and, where necessary, approved by the competent authority in their Member State. This does not apply to establishments engaged only in primary production, transport or storage of products not requiring temperature-controlled storage conditions, or retail operations not subject to the Regulation.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law and with the provisions relating to animal health and animal welfare. Member States must keep up-to-date lists of approved establishments, which are given an approval number with additional codes indicating the type of products of animal origin manufactured.

Health marking and identification

Where required by the Regulation, products of animal origin must be given a health mark applied in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 laying down specific rules on the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption or, failing this, an identification mark applied to products before they leave the product establishment if their packaging and/or wrapping is removed or it is further processed in another establishment. This mark must be legible, indelible and clearly visible for the competent authorities, and must show the name of the exporting country and the establishment’s approval number where the operations took place. When applied in an establishment located within the European Union, the mark must be oval in shape and include the abbreviation CE, EC, EF, EG, EK or EY.

Imports from Non-EU Member Countries

The Commission draws up lists of Non-EU Member Countries from which imports of products of animal origin are permitted, in accordance with the Regulation (EC) 854/2004 on official controls. In principle, a third country may only be included on these lists if a European control has taken place in that country and demonstrates that the competent authority provides appropriate guarantees that their provisions comply with or are equivalent to European legislation.

Furthermore, Regulation (EC) 854/2004 provides that an establishment may only be included in these lists if the competent authority in the originating third country guarantees:

  • >that the aforementioned establishment, as well as any other establishment handling raw materials of animal origin used in the production of the products of animal origin concerned, comply with the relevant European requirements, specifically with those of Regulation (EC) 853/2004 or those which have been defined as equivalent to these requirements following the decision to include this third country in the relevant list, in accordance with Article 11;
  • >that an official inspection service in this country carries out monitoring of the establishments and makes available to the Commission, where necessary, all relevant information on the establishments providing raw materials;
  • >that this service has the power to prevent establishments from exporting to the Union in the even that they do not comply with the requirements detailed above.

When drawing up these lists, particular account is taken of:

  • the existing legislation of the third country, and the organisation and powers of the competent authority and the inspection services;
  • where applicable, the situation regarding animal health, zoonoses and plant health, as well as the procedures for notifying the Commission and the competent international bodies of animal or plant diseases which occur;
  • experience gained in relation to marketing vis-à-vis the third country and its collaboration in exchanging information, particularly on health risks;
  • the results of EU inspections/audits carried out in the country concerned;
  • the existence, in the third country concerned, of legislation on animal nutrition and programmes for monitoring zoonoses and residues.

By way of derogation, there are special provisions for imports of fishery products.

Food chain information

The Regulation also provides instructions to ensure that slaughterhouse operators receive food chain information on all animals except wild game.


In Annex II to the Regulation, a sectoral approach is taken to determining the specific hygiene provisions applicable to foodstuffs of animal origin.

In order to take account of traditional production methods, the competent authority may grant special conditions for applying the appropriate hygiene rules in the sectors concerned.

Meat of domestic ungulates

This section is concerned mainly with meat from domestic animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine and caprine species.

Animals for slaughter must be collected and transported carefully so as not to cause unnecessary distress. Animals showing symptoms of disease or from contaminated herds or flocks may not be transported, except with special authorisation.

Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections must be carried out in accordance with the Regulation on official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

With a view to minimising the possibility of any contamination of meat, specific hygiene rules cover the following aspects:

  • construction and equipment of slaughterhouses;
  • the slaughter process in general and emergency slaughter in particular: stunning, bleeding, skinning, dressing and evisceration;
  • cutting and boning operations in cutting plants;
  • control of health marking of meat by an official veterinarian;
  • storage, transport and maturation of meat (temperature at which it is kept).

Meat of poultry and lagomorphs

The following provisions apply to meat of farmed birds and of rabbits, hares and rodents.

Poultry and lagomorphs must be collected and transported carefully so as not to cause unnecessary distress. Those showing symptoms of disease or from contaminated flocks may not be transported, except with special authorisation.

Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections must be carried out in accordance with the Regulation on official controls.

Specific hygiene standards are laid down with the aim of minimising the possibility of any contamination of the meat produced, covering the following elements:

  • transport of birds to the slaughterhouse;
  • construction, design and equipping of slaughterhouses and cutting plants;
  • the slaughter process: stunning, bleeding, skinning or plucking, dressing and evisceration;
  • cutting and boning work;
  • poultry reared for the purpose of producing ‘foie gras’.

Meat of farmed game

Unless the competent authority considers them inappropriate, meat of farmed game coming from even-toed mammals (Cervidae and Suidae) must be produced and marketed under the conditions laid down for meat of domestic ungulates (see above).

The provisions relating to poultry meat will apply to the production and marketing of meat from ratites (flightless birds).

In the interest of animal welfare, the competent authority may, in certain circumstances, authorise the slaughter of farmed game at the place of origin instead of at an approved establishment.

Wild game meat

Specific hygiene provisions cover the following elements:

  • training of hunters in health and hygiene;
  • killing, evisceration and transport of wild game to an approved establishment;
  • game handling establishments.

Minced meat, meat preparations and mechanically separated/recovered meat (MSM)

This section does not apply to the production and marketing of minced meat intended for the processing industry, which is subject to the requirements for fresh meat.

Specific hygiene rules cover the following elements:

  • equipping and approval of production establishments;
  • raw materials used (or prohibited) in the production of minced meat;
  • production, conservation and use of minced meat, meat preparations obtained from minced meat, and mechanically separated meat (MSM);
  • product labelling.

Meat products

There are hygiene standards specific to meat products. Depending on the type of animal, they cover the raw materials which may not be used in the manufacture of meat products.

Live bivalve molluscs

With the exception of the provisions on purification, the following rules also apply to live echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods.

Live bivalve molluscs harvested from the wild and intended for human consumption must comply with high health standards applicable at all stages of the production chain:

  • production of live bivalve molluscs: three types of production area (Class A, B or C);
  • harvesting of molluscs and their transport to a dispatch or purification centre, relaying area or processing plant;
  • relaying of molluscs in approved areas under optimal conditions of traceability and purification;
  • essential equipment and hygiene conditions in dispatch and purification centres;
  • health standards applicable to live bivalve molluscs: freshness and viability; microbiological criteria, evaluation of the presence of marine biotoxins and harmful substances in relation to the permissible daily intake;
  • health marking, wrapping, labelling, storage and transport of live bivalve molluscs;
  • the rules applicable to pectinides harvested outside classified areas.

Fishery products

Fishery products caught in their natural environment may have to be handled for bleeding, heading, gutting and the removal of fins. They are then chilled, frozen or processed and/or wrapped/packaged on board vessels in accordance with the rules laid down in this section.

Specific hygiene requirements cover the following elements:

  • equipment and facilities on fishing vessels, factory vessels and freezer vessels: areas for receiving products taken on board, work and storage areas, refrigeration and freezing installations, pumping of waste and disinfection;
  • hygiene on board fishing vessels, factory vessels and freezer vessels: cleanliness, protection from any form of contamination, washing with water and cold treatment;
  • conditions of hygiene during and after the landing of fishery products: protection against any form of contamination, equipment used, auction and wholesale markets;
  • fresh and frozen products, mechanically separated fish flesh, endo-parasites harmful to human health (visual examination), and cooked crustaceans and molluscs;
  • processed fishery products;
  • health standards applicable to fishery products: evaluation of the presence of substances and toxins harmful to human health;
  • wrapping, packaging, storage and transport of fishery products.

Raw milk and milk products

As regards primary production of raw milk, the specific health requirements are as follows:

  • raw milk and colostrum must come from females of the species (cows, buffaloes, ewes, goats, other) which are in a good general state of health that do not show any symptoms of infectious diseases communicable to humans through the milk or colostrum and which are not suffering from any infection of the genital tract with discharge, enteritis with diarrhoea and fever, or a recognisable inflammation of the udder. The animals must not have any udder wound likely to affect the milk or the colostrum;
  • subject to further, more specific provisions, raw milk must comply with microbiological criteria and standards for plate count and somatic cell count.
  • milking, collection and transport of raw milk and colostrum must comply with clearly-defined hygiene rules in order to avoid any contamination. The same applies to persons involved, premises, equipment and utensils used in production.

The Regulation sets out the general hygiene requirements for heat-treated drinking milk and other milk products, dealing mainly with the preparation of pasteurised milk and Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk.

Wrapping and packaging must be designed to protect milk and/or milk products from harmful effects of external origin. For control purposes, the labelling must clearly show the characteristics of the product, including where applicable the terms ‘raw milk’, ‘made with raw milk’, ‘colostrum’ or ‘colostrum-based’.

Eggs and egg products

At the producer’s premises and until sale to the consumer, eggs must be kept clean, dry, free of extraneous odour, protected from shocks and direct sunlight, stored and transported at an optimal temperature for conservation. They must be delivered to consumers within 21 days of laying.

The hygiene rules governing egg products (e.g. albumin) cover:

  • the availability of suitable rooms within approved production establishments in order to separate egg product manufacturing operations;
  • the raw materials used in egg products: conditions for using eggshells and liquid egg;
  • the manufacture of egg products in such a way as to avoid any contamination during production, handling and storage;
  • analytical specifications for various residues and for butyric and lactic acids;
  • labelling and identification marking.

Frogs’ legs and snails

Only approved establishments with the required facilities, having due regard to handling and preparation, may prepare and kill frogs and snails.

Frogs and snails which are found dead are not fit for consumption. The same applies to those considered to present a hazard on the basis of an organoleptic examination carried out by sampling.

Rendered animal fats and greaves

Hygiene standards for storage, preparation and preservation apply to establishments collecting or processing raw materials.

The hygiene rules in respect of rendered animal fats, greaves and by-products cover:

  • raw materials: these must come from animals deemed fit for consumption after inspection, consisting of adipose tissues or bones which are reasonably free from blood and impurities;
  • the originating establishment which must be registered or approved pursuant to Regulation 852/2004 and pursuant to this Regulation;
  • preservation during the collection, transport and storage of these raw materials;
  • the rendering methods: heat, pressure, decantation, prohibition of solvents;
  • the composition of animal fats;
  • the storage of finished products intended for human consumption.

Treated stomachs, bladders and intestines

In addition to the storage requirements for these products, specific hygiene rules govern the production and placing on the market of treated stomachs, bladders and intestines, as regards the animals they come from and the establishments where they are treated.

Only products which have been cleaned and scraped, then salted, heated or dried, and treated to avoid any new contamination, are suitable for human consumption. There are also rules on conservation, in particular the temperature of products that are not salted or dried.


The following raw materials, derived from animals declared fit for consumption after inspection and slaughtered according to the existing hygiene rules, may be used in the manufacture of gelatine which is to be used in foodstuffs:

  • bones, tendons and sinews;
  • hides and skins of farmed ruminant animals, pigs, poultry and wild game;
  • fish skin and bones.

Specific provisions apply to:

  • collection centres and tanneries authorised to supply raw materials;
  • the transport and storage of raw materials;
  • the gelatine manufacturing process;
  • the maximum limits for residues in finished products;
  • labelling.


Collagen may be manufactured from the same raw materials as gelatine, with the exception of hides and skins that have undergone a tanning process.

Specific provisions also apply to:

  • collection centres and tanneries authorised to supply raw materials;
  • the transport and storage of raw materials;
  • the collagen manufacturing process;
  • the maximum limits for residues in finished products;
  • labelling.


This Regulation forms part of the ‘hygiene package’, a body of law laying down hygiene rules for foodstuffs, which, in addition to this Regulation, includes the following acts:

  • Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 defining the food safety objectives to be achieved, leaving food operators responsible for adopting the safety measures to be implemented in order to guarantee food safety;
  • Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 putting in place a Community framework for official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption and laying down specific rules for fresh meat, bivalve molluscs, milk and milk products.

The following acts supplement the Community legislation on food hygiene:

  • Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles of food law. This Regulation explains the food safety procedures and establishes the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);
  • Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 reorganising official controls on foodstuffs and feedingstuffs so as to integrate controls at all stages of production and in all sectors;
  • Directive 2002/99/EC laying down the conditions for placing products of animal origin on the market and the restrictions applicable to products from non-EU countries or regions of non-EU countries subject to animal health restrictions.


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

Regulation (EC) No 853/2004


OJ L 139 of 30.4.2004

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

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009


OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005 of 5 December 2005 laying down implementing measures for certain products under Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and for the organisation of official controls under Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, derogating from Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and amending Regulations (EC) No 853/2004 and (EC) 854/2004 [Official Journal L 338, 22.12.2005].
See consolidated version

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the experience gained from the application of the hygiene Regulations (EC) No 852/2004, (EC) No 853/2004 and (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on they hygiene of foodstuffs [COM(2009) 403 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission reviews the experience gained from the application of the aforementioned regulations. It presents the progress achieved and the difficulties encountered by all the interested actors in the implementation of the 2006 – 2008 hygiene package. It concludes that overall Member States have taken the necessary administrative and control steps to ensure compliance, but that there is still room for improvement in relation to implementation. The main difficulties identified are in relation to:

  • certain exemptions from the scope of the hygiene Regulations;
  • certain definitions laid down in these Regulations;
  • certain practical aspects concerning the approval of establishments handling foods of animal origin and the marking of such foods;
  • the import regime for certain foods;
  • the implementation of HACCP-based procedures in certain food businesses; and
  • the implementation of official controls in certain sectors.

This report does not suggest any detailed solutions. However, on the basis of the difficulties identified, the Commission will consider the need for any proposals to improve the food hygiene package.

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Antibiotic resistance


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

Antibiotic resistance

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 8 June 1999 on antibiotic resistance: a strategy against the microbial threat [Official Journal C 195 of 13.07.1999]


Antibiotic resistance is a major European and global health problem. Antibiotic resistance increases morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases, which leads to a diminution in the quality of life and also to additional health and medical care costs.

Antibiotics are indispensable in combatting infectious diseases and it is therefore imperative to preserve the effectiveness of those medicinal products which are still effective.

Antibiotic resistance and its various causes need a multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach. National initiatives are not enough to reduce the risks and to effectively prevent micro-organisms from becoming resistant to antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine and in animal feedingstuffs, nor can they preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment of infectious diseases. A common strategy and coordinated action are required at Community and international levels.

Bearing in mind the global dimension of this problem, the Member States and the Commission must actively promote the aims of this resolution in international organisations, in particular in the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the International Office of Epizootics (OIE).

According to the Council, the overall strategy should be based on risk assessment using established scientific findings and comprise coordinated control and preventive action (for example in relation to surveillance of antibiotic resistance in humans, animals and foodstuffs and its effects, infection control in health care and infection control in animal production, development of new therapeutic and preventive medicaments, etc) and research work (notably on the effects of preventive measures, the development of new antibiotics and alternatives, the best use of antibiotics, determinants which increase the risk of emergence of antibiotic resistance, mechanisms of the spread and development of antibiotic resistance, or best farming practice so as to improve animal health).

In the context of this strategy, Member States are called upon:

  • to establish multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral policies in order to facilitate the containment of the spread of antibiotic resistance;
  • to cooperate in order to enable an effective comparable monitoring of the supply and use of antibiotics and an effective comparable surveillance of antibiotic resistance;
  • to maintain the principle of antibiotics authorised as human and veterinary medicine being “prescription-only-medicines” and to ensure vigilance on the implementation of this principle;
  • to promote adherence to the principles of infection control both in hospitals and non-hospital care as well as in animal production;
  • to promote optimal prescribing and use of antibiotics (through professional education, guidelines, etc.) and to prevent their unnecessary and inappropriate use in human and veterinary medicine;
  • to promote actions aimed at raising the awareness of health professionals, farmers and the general public of the problem of antibiotic resistance;
  • to promote health orientated animal production systems, thus reducing the need for antibiotics;
  • to promote research in this area;
  • to cooperate closely with the Commission, in particular in the aforementioned areas.

The Commission is invited:

  • to include as a priority the surveillance of antibiotic resistance in human medicine and in the field of zoonosis control and to promote – through the Community network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases – the complementarity of this surveillance;
  • to ensure, on the basis of comparable data provided by Member States, the reporting, including conclusions, on the supply and use of antibiotics in particular in human and veterinary medicine as well as in animal feeding, horticulture and other agricultural productions and foodstuffs;
  • to support the exchange of experience and information concerning the rational usage of antibiotics by appropriate Community activities;
  • to promote research work in the implementation of the Fifth Research Framework Programme with regard to the evolution of antibiotic resistance within bacterial populations and the understanding of the transmissibility of resistant bacteria in humans, animal populations and the environment;
  • to consider the advisability of preparing a proposal for a Recommendation in accordance with the Treaty;
  • to examine the necessity of reviewing current Community legislation in the areas of human and veterinary medicine;
  • to pay particular attention to the problem of antibiotic resistance in specific health actions related to applicant countries, in particular in the framework of the Phare 2000 programme.

The Commission should promote cooperation in close coordination with the Member States and the competent international organisations.