Category Archives: Employment and Social Policy

European society is changing, influenced by different factors such as technological progress, the globalisation of trade and an ageing population. European employment, social affairs and equal opportunities policies contribute to improving people’s living conditions with a view to sustainable growth and greater social cohesion. The European Union (EU) plays the role of a trigger in social change. It has introduced a protective legal framework for European citizens. It fosters the cooperation of Member States, the coordination and harmonisation of national policies, and the participation of local authorities, unions, employers’ organisations and other stakeholders involved.

The priority aims of this policy are to increase employment and worker mobility, to improve the quality of jobs and, working conditions, to inform and consult workers, to combat poverty and social exclusion, to promote equality between men and women, and to modernise social protection systems.

European Strategy for Growth
Europe 2020 Strategy, Intelligent growth, Sustainable growth, Inclusive growth
Priorities and objectives: the social agenda
Social agenda
Community employment policies
Partnership for growth and employment, Legal instruments for Community employment policies, Skills and mobility, Quality of employment
Social and employment situation in europe
Reports, Statistics
Job creation measures
General job creation measures, Promoting employment at a local level, Sectoral job creation promotion
Employment rights and work organisation
Protection of employee’s rights, Organisation of working time, Corporate social responsibility
Social dialogue and employee participation
Cross-industry social dialogue, Sectoral social dialogue, Information, consultation and participation of employees
Health, hygiene and safety at work
Equipment, signs and loads, Protection of specific groups of workers, The workplace, Chemical, physical and biological agents
Social protection
Coordination of social security regimes, Supplementary pension schemes, Modernising social protection
Equality between men and women
Gender mainstreaming, Female employment and entrepreneurship, Combating sexual harassment and violence against women
Social measures for target groups: disability and old age
Equal opportunities, Rights and dignity of handicapped persons, Pensions and healthcare for the elderly, Demographic changes
Social inclusion and the fight against poverty
Combating social exclusion, Social protection and the fight against poverty
Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society
Combating discrimination, Fundemental social rights, Relations with civil society
Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement
Social development, Measures aimed at target groups, Enlargement

Employment and Social Policy

Employment and Social Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment and social policy

Topics

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

Employment and social policy

Employment and social policy

European society is changing, influenced by different factors such as technological progress, the globalisation of trade and an ageing population. European employment, social affairs and equal opportunities policies contribute to improving people’s living conditions with a view to sustainable growth and greater social cohesion. The European Union (EU) plays the role of a trigger in social change. It has introduced a protective legal framework for European citizens. It fosters the cooperation of Member States, the coordination and harmonisation of national policies, and the participation of local authorities, unions, employers’ organisations and other stakeholders involved.

The priority aims of this policy are to increase employment and worker mobility, to improve the quality of jobs and, working conditions, to inform and consult workers, to combat poverty and social exclusion, to promote equality between men and women, and to modernise social protection systems.

Employment and social policy Contents

  • European Strategy for Growth: Europe 2020 Strategy, Intelligent growth, Sustainable growth, Inclusive growth
  • Priorities and objectives: the social agenda:Social agenda
  • Community employment policies: Partnership for growth and employment, Legal instruments for Community employment policies, Skills and mobility, Quality of employment
  • Social and employment situation in europe: Reports, Statistics
  • Job creation measures: General job creation measures, Promoting employment at a local level, Sectoral job creation promotion
  • Employment rights and work organisation: Protection of employee’s rights, Organisation of working time, Corporate social responsibility
  • Social dialogue and employee participation: Cross-industry social dialogue, Sectoral social dialogue, Information, consultation and participation of employees
  • Health, hygiene and safety at work: Equipment, signs and loads, Protection of specific groups of workers, The workplace, Chemical, physical and biological agents
  • Social protection: Coordination of social security regimes, Supplementary pension schemes, Modernising social protection
  • Equality between men and women: Gender mainstreaming, Female employment and entrepreneurship, Combating sexual harassment and violence against women
  • Social measures for target groups: disability and old age: Equal opportunities, Rights and dignity of handicapped persons, Pensions and healthcare for the elderly, Demographic changes
  • Social inclusion and the fight against poverty: Combating social exclusion, Social protection and the fight against poverty
  • Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society: Combating discrimination, Fundemental social rights, Relations with civil society
  • Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement: Social development, Measures aimed at target groups, Enlargement

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.

Action programme to combat discrimination

Action programme to combat discrimination

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

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

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).

Summary

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.

Background

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.

References

Act

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

Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee

Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee

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

Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee

Document or Iniciative

Rules of procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Summary

Article 303 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (EU) confers upon the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) the power to self-regulate. These rules of procedure establish the functioning and organisation of the EESC.

THE MEMBERS

In accordance with Article 300 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the Committee consists of representatives of organisations of employers and of the employed. It also includes representatives of civil society, notably in socio-economic, civic, professional and cultural areas.

Moreover, the members are proposed by the governments of the Member States and are appointed by the Council, for five years. Their number cannot exceed 350.

THE COMMITTEE’S CONSTITUENT WORKING BODIES

The bureau

It consists of:

  • the President and the two Vice-Presidents;
  • the three Group Presidents (Group I: employers; Group II: employees; Group III: various economic and social interests);
  • the six section Presidents;
  • a variable number of members, which cannot exceed the number of Member States.

The President is elected from among the members of the three Groups and the Vice-Presidents are elected from among the members of the two Groups to which the President does not belong. They are elected for a period of two years, in accordance with the principle of group rotation.

The Bureau’s chief tasks are as follows:

  • it lays down the organisation and working procedures of the Committee and has political responsibility for its general management;
  • together with the President of the Committee, it exercises the budgetary and financial powers provided for in the Financial Regulation and the Committee’s Articles of Procedure;
  • it lays down the Implementing Provisions of the Rules of Procedure, whose interpretation it clarifies;
  • every six months it examines, on the basis of a report drawn up for this purpose, the action taken on opinions delivered by the Committee.

The Presidency and the President

The Presidency (the President and the two Vice-Presidents) meets with the Group Presidents to prepare the work of the Bureau and the assembly.

The President, elected for two and a half years, directs the work of the Committee. He involves the Vice-Presidents in his activities on a permanent basis. He represents the Committee in its external relations. He reports to the Committee on action and measures taken on its behalf. After his election, he presents his work programme for his term of office at the plenary assembly and presents a review of achievements at the end of his term.

The specialised sections

The Committee comprises six specialised sections:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment;
  • Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion;
  • Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship;
  • External Relations;
  • Single Market, Production and Consumption;
  • Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society.

Other sections may be set up by the plenary assembly on a proposal from the Bureau, in the fields covered by the Treaties. Apart from the President, every member of the Committee must be a member of at least one specialised section and a maximum of two (with exceptions). The members of the sections are appointed by for two and a half years.

The task of the specialised sections is to draw up opinions or information reports on questions referred to them. They may set up from among their members a study group or drafting group or appoint a rapporteur working alone. The rapporteur is responsible for preparing opinions and monitoring action taken on opinions by the European institutions, once the opinion has been adopted in plenary session.

The subcommittees

For some subjects, especially those where different specialised section remits overlap, the Committee may set up ad hoc sub-committees. These subcommittees operate in the same way as the specialised sections and their draft opinions are submitted directly to the Committee for discussion.

The observatories, hearings, experts

The Committee may set up observatories when the nature, extent and specific character of the subject to be dealt with calls for particular flexibility in terms of the working methods, procedures and instruments to be used.

Likewise, if an issue under discussion is of sufficient importance, the various bodies and working units of the Committee may invite guest speakers from outside the Committee to a hearing.

Finally, the President may appoint experts to clarify technical questions posed by the activities.

The consultative commissions

The Committee has the option of setting up consultative commissions. These commissions are made up of members of the Committee and of delegates from areas of civil society that the Committee wishes to involve in its work.

Dialogue between the EU’s social and economic organisations and third countries

Because of its specific mission, the Committee may maintain structured relations with economic and social councils and similar institutions and with civil society organisations in the European Union and third countries. The Committee appoints the delegations responsible for maintaining these relations.

The groups and categories

The Committee is made up of three Groups representing respectively employers, employees and the various other economic and social components of organised civil society. The Groups elect their Presidents and Vice-Presidents. They participate in the preparation, organisation and coordination of the business of the Committee.

  • The Employers’ Group (Group I) has members from private and public sectors of industry, small businesses, chambers of commerce, wholesale and retail trade, banking and insurance, transport and agriculture.
  • The employees’ group (Group II) has members from national trade union organisations, both at the level of confederations and that of sectoral federations.
  • The group including the other components of civil society (Group III) consists of members of farmers’ organisations, consumers’ organisations, small businesses, the crafts sector, liberal professions and NGOs in the field of social protection and environmental protection.

Members of the three groups of the Committee may, on a voluntary basis, form categories representing the various economic and social components of organised civil society in the European Union.

PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE

Consultation of the Committee

The Committee produces opinions requested by the Council, the Commission or the European Parliament.

The Committee may also deliver opinions on its own initiative, information reports or resolutions on any question pertaining to the tasks assigned to the European Union.

Furthermore, the Committee’s opinions set out its position on the issue referred to it. They are generally accompanied by concrete proposals. In its opinions, the Committee defends the interests of civil society in particular, which it represents at European level.

Work of the specialised sections

When an opinion or information report is to be produced, the Bureau designates the specialised section that is to be responsible for preparing the work in question.

The rapporteur, assisted where appropriate by one or more co-rapporteurs and an expert, studies the question referred, collect the views expressed and, on this basis, compile the draft opinion, which is sent to the specialised section for discussion and approval by voting.

Proceedings of the plenary sessions

The Committee meets in plenary assembly during the different sessions (ten sessions each year as a rule). The Committee’s plenary assembly adopts its opinions on the basis of the opinions of the specialised sections and sends them to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.

The draft agenda is drawn up by the Bureau on a proposal from the Presidency in collaboration with the Group Presidents. It is sent to all Committee members and to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. It is submitted for approval by the assembly before the opening of the relevant session.

Opinions adopted by the Committee and minutes of Committee sessions are sent to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. They are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Regardless of the legal basis for consultation (mandatory or optional referral) the Committee’s opinions are a legally necessary component in the Council’s final decisions.

FINAL PROVISIONS

Methods of voting

Except where otherwise provided, adoption of the texts and decisions of the Committee and its constituent bodies shall be by a majority of the votes. Voting is by open ballot, by recorded vote, or by secret ballot.

The urgency procedure

Where the urgency results from a deadline for the submission of its opinion imposed on the Committee, the urgency procedure may be applied. The President may, immediately and without consulting the Bureau beforehand, take all requisite steps to enable the Committee to carry out its work. He informs the members of the Bureau of the steps which he takes.

Publication and distribution of Committee texts

The Committee publishes its opinions in the Official Journal of the European Union. Likewise, the names of the members of the Committee, its Bureau and its specialised sections are published in the Official Journal.

The Secretary-General of the Committee is responsible for taking the measures necessary to guarantee the public’s right of access to the corresponding documents. Any citizen of the European Union may write to the Committee in one of the official languages and receive a reply written in the same language

Plenary sessions and meetings of the specialised sections are public. Moreover, the members of the European institutions may attend and address meetings of the Committee and its.

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

Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Social inclusion and the fight against poverty are an integral part of the European Union’s growth and employment objectives. Coordination of the national social protection and inclusion policies is based on a process of mutual exchange and learning, better known as the “open method of coordination” (OMC). In addition to eliminating poverty and social exclusion, this process will hinge in the years to come on providing adequate and sustainable pensions and on developing accessible, high-quality and sustainable health care and long-term care.

TRANSVERSAL ACTIONS

  • European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Reinforcing the Open Method of Coordination for social protection and social inclusion
  • Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)
  • European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF)
  • Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market
  • Promoting decent work for all
  • Sufficient resources and assistance
  • Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008
  • Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion: 2007
  • Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006
  • Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion
  • Joint report on social inclusion
  • A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies
  • Community programme encouraging cooperation between Member States to combat social exclusion (2002-2006)
  • Building an inclusive Europe
  • URBAN II

SPECIFIC ACTIONS

  • Consumer access to basic payment accounts
  • National Roma Integration Strategies: Common European Framework
  • Social and economic integration of Roma
  • Participation of young people with fewer opportunities
  • European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)
  • European Year of Education through Sport 2004
  • European Fund for Refugees (2000-2004)
  • Social inclusion of young people
  • Promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe

European Fund for Refugees

European Fund for Refugees

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Fund for Refugees

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

European Fund for Refugees (2000-2004)

The European Union established the European Refugee Fund to group in a single instrument the measures concerning integration and those concerning reception and voluntary repatriation in the event of a massive influx of refugees and displaced persons. The Fund, which was set up for a period of five years (2000-04), has been extended for the period 2005-2010.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2000/596/EC of 28 September 2000 establishing a European Refugee Fund.

Summary

1. Pilot projects aimed at refugees and displaced persons have been financed by the Commission since 1997. This experience prompted the Union to set up a European Refugee Fund grouping in a single instrument the measures relating to integration, reception and voluntary repatriation which had been the subject of the Joint Action of 26 April 1999. By establishing a multiannual project, the Council is taking the Amsterdam Treaty as a basis for carrying out long-term measures in favour of refugees and displaced persons and for meeting the requests formulated by the Tampere European Council in October 1999 for the creation of an instrument suited to emergency situations.

Financial balance

2. The establishment of the European Refugee Fund is the first step towards a common asylum system. The Fund has run for five years (2000-2004). It introduced a system of financial redistribution to balance the burdens borne by the Member States. Inequalities between reception facilities for refugees and displaced persons should be remedied because they cause imbalances in financial and organisational burdens in the Union: displaced persons go to the country which appears most attractive to them and they sometimes go from one Member State to another in that quest, thereby increasing the burden of the Member States. This Community financial support is also an incentive to improve reception conditions and to introduce fair and effective asylum procedures in States where that is necessary. Moreover, the aim of Community aid is to make it easier to adjust the facilities of countries that experience large alterations in the volume or nature of movements of refugees.

Measures supported by the Fund

3. Measures financed by the Fund are for persons with the status of refugee or persons benefiting from another form of international protection and displaced persons benefiting from temporary protection and, depending on the nature of the measures, persons applying for such status or protection.

4. The European Fund will support the Member States in the following respects:

  • improvement of reception conditions and procedures in terms of infrastructure and services (accommodation, material assistance, medical care, social assistance, assistance with administrative and judicial formalities)
  • integration of persons benefiting from a stable form of international protection (aid for immediate needs, sociocultural adjustment). These persons must be made as independent as possible.
  • voluntary repatriation and reintegration in the country of origin. Community assistance will give access to reliable information, necessary advice, training and assistance for reintegration.

5. The reference amount for financing the Fund has been set at 216 million for the five years of operation. 5% of the Fund’s annual budget can be used to finance innovative or transnational Community measures (studies, pilot projects, exchanges of experience, assessment of measures implemented, etc.).

6. The Council, initially acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and subsequently in accordance with the provision laid down by the directive on temporary protection can decide to allocate part of the Fund to emergency measures in the event of a massive influx of refugees or displaced persons (accommodation, food, clothing, healthcare, administrative and organisational costs).

The implementation of measures

7. The Member States are mainly responsible for the implementation of the measures covered by the Fund and they coordinate measures at national level. Each Member State submits a cofinancing application each year. The Commission examines the applications and takes the cofinancing decisions. The Member States manage and select the individual projects in accordance with pre-established criteria (requirements, cost/effectiveness ratio, profile of the applicant organisation, complementarity with other measures).

8. Since the implementation of long-term measures is decentralised, the Member States must provide guarantees with regard to the methods employed and quality of the work, results accompanied by assessments, sound financial management and how measures are monitored as well as the prevention and rectification of irregularities. The Commission ensures that national management and control systems operate effectively. It can also carry out on-the-spot checks and in some cases reduce payments to the Member State or make financial corrections (reduced payments, total or partial withdrawal of participation of the Fund in the measure in question).

Emergency measures in the event of a massive influx of persons

9. With regard to emergency measures in the event of a massive influx of persons, the Commission will divide resources available, on the basis of the number of persons who entered the State, between each Member State concerned on the basis of proposals by those Member States. With regard to the financing of other measures, a minimum amount is allocated to each Member State each year (this amount will be reduced gradually from EUR 500 000 in 2000 to EUR 100 000 in 2004). The remainder of the resources is divided between the Member States on the basis of statistics compiled by the European Communities Statistical Office for the previous three years. The number of applications for protection will be given a 65% weighting, against 35% for the number of refugees accepted and displaced persons receiving temporary protection. Community support for the financing of projects will not exceed 50% of the total cost of each project (75% for the Member States drawn from the Cohesion Fund). There are different procedures for emergency measures: financial support can cover 80% of the cost of each measure for a maximum of six months. The available resources are then divided between the Member States on the basis of then number of displaced persons they receive.

Monitoring and organisational measures

10. With regard to monitoring and assessment of the projects, each Member State will each year present the financial accounts and an activity report to the Commission on the basis of detailed summary reports drawn up by the authorities responsible for implementing the measures. In addition, it will carry out an independent assessment of the implementation and impact of the measures. The Commission will present two summary reports on the projects undertaken to the Parliament and the Council, an interim report no later than 31 December 2002 and a final report before 1 June 2005.

11. The Commission will be assisted by an advisory committee consisting of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a Commission representative.

12. With regard to 2000 and 2001 transitional measures are to be applied to the establishment of the amounts to be allocated to the Member States, the procedure for approving cofinancing requests and the criteria of eligibility for support from the Fund.

European Refugee Fund II

13. On 12 February 2004 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Decision establishing the European Refugee Fund (ERF) for the period 2005-2010 (see under Related Acts). The new proposal is intended to express solidarity between the European Community and the Member States concerning the reception of asylum-seekers and the management of asylum procedures, the integration of persons benefiting from international protection and measures promoting the voluntary repatriation of protected persons or persons whose applications for asylum have been refused.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2000/596/EC [adoption: consultation CNS/2004/0032] 28.09.2000 OJ L 252 of 06.10.2000

Related Acts

Council Decision of 2 December 2004 establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2005 to 2010 [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12.2004]
This Decision establishes the European Refugee Fund for the period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2010. The purpose of the Fund is to support the efforts of the Member States to receive refugees and displaced persons by co-financing reception conditions and asylum procedures, the integration of persons whose stay in the Member State is of a lasting and stable nature and the voluntary return of persons provided they have not acquired a new nationality and have not left the territory of the Member State. Actions in the Member States will be implemented on the basis of two multiannual programme phases (2005 to 2007 and 2008 to 2010). The amount for the period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2006 is EUR 114 million.

Commission Decision 2002/307/EC of 18 December 2001 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2000/596/EC as regards management and control systems and procedures for making financial corrections in the context of actions co-financed by the European Refugee Fund [Official Journal L 106 of 23.4.2002].

Commission Decision 2001/275/EC of 20 March 2001 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2000/596/EC as regards the eligibility of expenditure and reports on implementation in the context of actions co-financed by the European Refugee Fund [Official Journal L 95 of 5.4.2001].

Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof [Official Journal L 212 of 7.8.2001].

Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof [Official Journal L 212 of 07.08.2001].

European Year of Education through Sport 2004

European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Sport

European Year of Education through Sport 2004

The objective of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 was to encourage partnerships between the worlds of education and sport in order to promote the educational and social values of sporting activity.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 291/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 February 2003 establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 [See amending acts].

Summary

Sport has become a major economic and social phenomenon in the European Union. The European Community has, on several occasions, recognised the important social and educational role of sport. A declaration annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam emphasises the role of sport in forging identity and bringing people together. The Nice European Council, in December 2000, drew attention to sport’s “social function in Europe, of which account should be taken in implementing common policies”. The European Year of Education through Sport accordingly focused on these educational and social functions.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, as well as the Euro 2004 football tournament in Portugal, boosted media coverage of sport, heightened public awareness and provided an opportunity to promote its values.

Objectives

The objectives of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 were as follows:

  • to make institutions and sports organisations aware of the need for cooperation in order to develop education through sport and its European dimension;
  • to take advantage of the values conveyed through sport to develop knowledge and basic skills allowing young poeple to improve their physical and social abilities, mainly through the school curriculum (teamwork, solidarity, tolerance and fair play in a multicultural framework);
  • to promote awareness of the positive contribution that voluntary activities make to non-formal education for young people;
  • to encourage the exchange of good practice concerning the role sport can play in education systems to promote the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups;
  • to consider the problems relating to the education of young sportsmen and sportswomen involved in competitive sports.

Actions

The activities and initiatives undertaken during the Year were run at Community, transnational, national, regional and local level, and were co-financed by the Community. The activities that were supported as part of the European Year of Education through Sport comprised the following:

  • meetings, European educational competitions and events highlighting achievements and experiences on the theme of sport;
  • voluntary actions at European level during Olympic and other sporting events in 2004;
  • information and promotional campaigns, including cooperation with the media to disseminate the educational values of sport;
  • events promoting the educational value of sport and showcasing examples of good practice;
  • financial support for transnational, national, regional or local initiatives to promote the objectives of the Year.

The Community contributions were allocated on the basis of the type of action:

  • measures that were Community-wide in nature were subsidised from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 80% of the total cost;
  • measures of Community interest which were local, regional, national or transnational in nature were co-financed from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 50% of the total cost.

Other forms of action were given moral support (authorisation to use the logo and other materials associated with the Year).

Implementation

The Member States designated bodies having responsibility for coordination and local implementation of the measures taken.

The Commission assumed responsibility for the overall implementation and coordination of the Year’s activities, including the selection of projects co-financed from the EU budget, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. It was assisted by a Committee. In the course of the project selection procedure, the Commission took into account the opinion of the bodies designated by the Member States for implementing the projects, and ensured a balanced distribution among the Member States. Moreover, the Commission ensured that the measures taken were consistent with and complementary to other relevant Community actions and initiatives as well as existing national and regional initiatives, where these contributed to meeting the objectives of the Year.

Financial provisions

A budget of EUR 12.1 million was allocated at European level for the preparatory period (2003) and the Year itself. The budget was complemented by other initiatives by the Commission and Member States and by actions financed by other parties.

Participation by certain third countries

The European Year was open to participation by the 25 Member States, the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA), in accordance with the conditions laid down in the EEA Agreement. Bulgaria and Romania were also able to participate in accordance with the conditions laid down in their respective European Agreements and Turkey by means of additional appropriations.

Assessment

By 31 December 2005 at the latest, the Commission must submit a report on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the European Year.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 291/2003/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2001/0244] 19.02.2003 OJ L 43 of 18.02.2003.
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 786/2004/EC 30.04.2004 OJ L38 of 30.04.2004.
Regulation (EC) No 885/2004 01.05.2004 OJ L68 of 01.05.2004.

 


Another Normative about European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

European Year of Education through Sport 2004

The objective of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 was to encourage partnerships between the worlds of education and sport in order to promote the educational and social values of sporting activity.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 291/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 February 2003 establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 [See amending acts].

Summary

Sport has become a major economic and social phenomenon in the European Union. The European Community has, on several occasions, recognised the important social and educational role of sport. A declaration annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam emphasises the role of sport in forging identity and bringing people together. The Nice European Council, in December 2000, drew attention to sport’s “social function in Europe, of which account should be taken in implementing common policies”. The European Year of Education through Sport accordingly focused on these educational and social functions.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, as well as the Euro 2004 football tournament in Portugal, boosted media coverage of sport, heightened public awareness and provided an opportunity to promote its values.

Objectives

The objectives of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 were as follows:

  • to make institutions and sports organisations aware of the need for cooperation in order to develop education through sport and its European dimension;
  • to take advantage of the values conveyed through sport to develop knowledge and basic skills allowing young poeple to improve their physical and social abilities, mainly through the school curriculum (teamwork, solidarity, tolerance and fair play in a multicultural framework);
  • to promote awareness of the positive contribution that voluntary activities make to non-formal education for young people;
  • to encourage the exchange of good practice concerning the role sport can play in education systems to promote the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups;
  • to consider the problems relating to the education of young sportsmen and sportswomen involved in competitive sports.

Actions

The activities and initiatives undertaken during the Year were run at Community, transnational, national, regional and local level, and were co-financed by the Community. The activities that were supported as part of the European Year of Education through Sport comprised the following:

  • meetings, European educational competitions and events highlighting achievements and experiences on the theme of sport;
  • voluntary actions at European level during Olympic and other sporting events in 2004;
  • information and promotional campaigns, including cooperation with the media to disseminate the educational values of sport;
  • events promoting the educational value of sport and showcasing examples of good practice;
  • financial support for transnational, national, regional or local initiatives to promote the objectives of the Year.

The Community contributions were allocated on the basis of the type of action:

  • measures that were Community-wide in nature were subsidised from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 80% of the total cost;
  • measures of Community interest which were local, regional, national or transnational in nature were co-financed from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 50% of the total cost.

Other forms of action were given moral support (authorisation to use the logo and other materials associated with the Year).

Implementation

The Member States designated bodies having responsibility for coordination and local implementation of the measures taken.

The Commission assumed responsibility for the overall implementation and coordination of the Year’s activities, including the selection of projects co-financed from the EU budget, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. It was assisted by a Committee. In the course of the project selection procedure, the Commission took into account the opinion of the bodies designated by the Member States for implementing the projects, and ensured a balanced distribution among the Member States. Moreover, the Commission ensured that the measures taken were consistent with and complementary to other relevant Community actions and initiatives as well as existing national and regional initiatives, where these contributed to meeting the objectives of the Year.

Financial provisions

A budget of EUR 12.1 million was allocated at European level for the preparatory period (2003) and the Year itself. The budget was complemented by other initiatives by the Commission and Member States and by actions financed by other parties.

Participation by certain third countries

The European Year was open to participation by the 25 Member States, the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA), in accordance with the conditions laid down in the EEA Agreement. Bulgaria and Romania were also able to participate in accordance with the conditions laid down in their respective European Agreements and Turkey by means of additional appropriations.

Assessment

By 31 December 2005 at the latest, the Commission must submit a report on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the European Year.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 291/2003/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2001/0244] 19.02.2003 OJ L 43 of 18.02.2003.
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 786/2004/EC 30.04.2004 OJ L38 of 30.04.2004.
Regulation (EC) No 885/2004 01.05.2004 OJ L68 of 01.05.2004.

 

Social Protection Committee

Social Protection Committee

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Social Protection Committee

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social protection

Social Protection Committee

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/689/EC of 4 October 2004 establishing a Social Protection Committee and repealing Decision 2000/436/EC [Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004].

Summary

This Council Decision establishes the Social Protection Committee and repeals Decision 2000/436/EC based on the Commission’s communication ” A Concerted Strategy for modernising social protection “. The aim of this communication was to reflect on the importance of the convergence of social protection objectives and policies and to reaffirm the place of this social protection among the common values of the European Union (EU).

The Social Protection Committee was set up to promote cooperation on social protection policies between Member States and the Commission. Its main objectives are to:

  • make work pay and provide secure income;
  • make pensions safe and pension systems sustainable;
  • promote social inclusion;
  • ensure high-quality and sustainable health care.

The Social Protection Committee, which has an advisory role, consists of two representatives appointed by each Member State and two representatives of the Commission. It may also establish appropriate contacts with the social partners and social non-governmental organisations.

The new Committee retains all the tasks of the former Social Protection Committee, namely:

  • monitoring the social situation and the development of social protection policies in the Member States and the Community;
  • exchanges of information, experience and good practice;
  • preparing reports, formulating opinions or undertaking other work within its fields of competence, at the request of either the Council or the Commission or on its own initiative.

In practice, since its foundation, the Committee’s work has been largely determined by the strategic objective which the Union set itself in terms of socio-economic progress at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.

Background

The legal basis for the Social Protection Committee is Article 144 of the Treaty of Nice, which provides for the creation of a new Social Protection Committee to promote cooperation on social protection policies between the Member States and the Commission. The purpose of the decision to replace the former committee with this one is essentially procedural – to establish the Committee in line with the new legal basis.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/689/EC Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004

Related Acts

Council Decision 2000/436/EC of 29 June 2000 setting up a Social Protection Committee [COM(2000) 436, Official Journal L 172 of 12.07.2000].
On 29 June 2000, the Council approved the Commission’s proposal to help Member States to improve and strengthen their social protection systems. In this communication, the Commission proposes to begin a new phase in the process of examining social protection systems at Community level. To this end, the Council supported the Commission’s suggestion to establish a mechanism for enhanced cooperation brought about by the work of the group of high-level officials for the improvement of social protection systems. This group of officials laid the foundations of the Social Protection Committee.

The Social Protection Committee has clearly shown its usefulness as an advisory body for both the Council and the Commission, and it has been actively involved in developing the open method of coordination as defined by the Lisbon European Council.

Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection

Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social protection

Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy: Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection [COM(2003) 261 final – Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004].

Summary

This communication from the Commission derives from the need for policy cooperation and coordination in the field of social protection. While the Member States retain full responsibility for the financing and organisation of their protection systems, the role of the Community is essential in supporting and complementing activity in this field, as outlined in the Treaty of Amsterdam and Treaty of Nice. The Lisbon conclusions (March 2000) also saw modernised and improved social protection systems as an important building block towards achievement of the objective of an integrated socio-economic strategy for Europe within the next ten years (2000-2010).

Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy

Policy cooperation in the field of social protection took a huge step forward when the Lisbon European Council outlined its vision of an integrated socio-economic strategy for the decade to 2010. Contributing to this strategy involves streamlining the economic and employment policy coordination processes.

Economic policy coordination is organised within the framework of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs), multilateral surveillance (aimed at assessing the implementation of the BEPGs) and the Stability and Growth Pact. As for employment policy coordination, this is organised within the framework of the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the European Employment Policy Guidelines (EEPGs) – which set out common objectives and priorities for employment policies and which are put into practice nationally through National Action Plans (NAPs). The overarching objectives are full employment, quality at work, the promotion of social cohesion and inclusion.

This streamlining has been a major achievement, but due to the major expansion in the number of different procedures concerned with coordinating economic and related policies, the need to better streamline the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of social protection is clear.

The Open Method of Coordination and its role within the strategy as a whole

The OMC has been considered by the Lisbon European Council as a mechanism for coordinating and taking forward work in the fields of social inclusion and pensions, which has allowed progress to be made in these areas. Nevertheless, questions regarding health and long-term care – key issues for the development of Europe’s social model – have not yet been considered within the framework of cooperation in social protection. It is therefore necessary to define which methods are the most appropriate to deal with these issues.

The Commission believes that the currently segmented organisation of work should be replaced, and future work brought within a unified structure referring to social protection as a whole and organised in principle into three pillars relating to the three policy areas of social inclusion, pensions and health and long-term care.

The application of the OMC was introduced at the Lisbon European Council as a means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals. It was conceived as a flexible governance method, in complement to the existing Community method and other Treaty-based procedures, such as the BEPGs and the EES, which continue to be the Community’s core instruments. The OMC is used on a case-by-case basis, alongside the programme-based and legislative approach in some areas, such as employment and social policy. In short, it should be a complement, rather than a replacement, for Community action and always take account of the institutional balance.

It will be the role of future cooperation in the field of social protection via the OMC to undertake a detailed analysis of the issues which confront national systems and the particular contribution which they will be able to make to the Lisbon strategy.

In order to establish a streamlined approach to integrated policy cooperation for the three pillars of social protection policy (social inclusion, pensions and health and long-term care), the Commission proposes that the set of objectives to be achieved be reviewed and replaced by the Council in 2006, acting on a proposal from the Commission. The new set of common objectives should be defined under the Lisbon strategy and closely connected with the BEPGs and the EEPGs, which will be adopted in 2006. Progress achieved within the OMC in the field of pensions should also be examined in 2006.

The set of common objectives should also include a limited number of cross-cutting issues that have a more general relevance, such as gender mainstreaming.

Reporting mechanisms

The key instrument of the new streamlined process will consist of a Joint Social Protection Report, drawn up by the Commission and the Council, which will assess progress made across the full range of common objectives. This report will replace the “Social Protection in Europe Report” provided for under the Decision establishing the Social Protection Committee and will take effect from 2005. In 2006, Member States will feed into the preparation of the Joint Social Protection Report, setting out their strategy for reaching the common objectives; in 2007 and 2008, the reports submitted will focus on the progress made in implementing the strategies. After 2006, national reports will replace the NAPs on social inclusion and the National Strategy Reports on pensions.

Indicators

The big challenge for the new streamlined social protection process is to reflect progress in a transparent and effective way. Therefore, it is essential to establish an agreed set of common indicators. This requires a commitment from Member States to develop such key instruments as ESSPROSS (expenditure on the different branches of social protection), SILC (the annual Community-wide survey of the income and living conditions of households) and SHA (system of health accounts).

The period of 2003-2006 should be used to prepare the conditions for launching the new process. During this period, initiatives in the field of social inclusion, pensions and health care will be undertaken.

This communication also indicates the steps to be taken in the transition to streamlining in 2006 (Annex 1); outlines the implementation of streamlining during 2006-2009 (Annex 2); and shows how streamlined social protection will function alongside the streamlined BEPGs and EES in the period after 2006 (Annex 3).

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European system of integrated social protection statistics (ESSPROS) [COM(2006) 11 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Codecision procedure (COD/2006/0004)

Council Conclusions of 20 October 2003 on open coordination for adequate and sustainable pensions [Official Journal C 260 of 29.10.2003] [PDF ]

Communication from the Commission. A concerted strategy for modernising social protection [COM(1999) 347 final – Not published in the Official Journal].