Category Archives: Enlargement 2004 and 2007

The fifth enlargement is historic and unprecedented in the history of the European Union. The ten Central and Eastern European countries, together with Cyprus and Malta, joined the EU in two successive waves in 2004 and 2007. In this context, the EU paved the way for the current enlargement process by establishing suitable instruments to be able to respond not only to the needs of the candidate countries, but also to the specific needs of the EU to receive them.

Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis

Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis


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 > Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis

Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis

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Nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe

Nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern 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

Nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe

This Communication evaluates the Commission’s contribution towards the improvement of nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States (NIS) and in Central and Eastern Europe and to present proposals for future Community action.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 September 2000. Commission support to nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and in Central and Eastern Europe.



1. The Commission adopted a communication in March 1998 setting out the actions taken by the Community in the area of nuclear safety in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Newly Independent States (NIS). The communication contained proposals for future orientation. The present communication aims to provide an update on developments in this sector since 1998 and to present the Commission’s current approach to this subject.

2. The Commission’s Approach

The Commission’s approach is based on two main objectives which are fully in line with the policy of the international community:

  • In the short term, to improve operational safety; to make technical improvements to plants based on safety assessments and to enhance regulatory regimes ;
  • In the long term, to examine the scope for replacing less safe plants by the development of alternative energy sources and more efficient use of energy and to examine the potential for upgrading plants of more recent design.

3. The Implementation of the existing strategy

Generally, the Commission works to promote policy dialogue, to provide technical and financial assistance and to ensure a high level of human health protection in the Member States and neighbouring countries.

The instruments used include:

  • The Financial Framework:

* The Phare (for Central and Eastern Europe) and Tacis (for the NIS) Community programmes to provide technical assistance as well as a number of other programmes;

* Euratom loans;

* On an international level, the EU contribution to the Nuclear Safety Account administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD);

* Pre-accession funds to support nuclear safety in the candidate countries. Priority is given to this as part of EU enlargement.

  • The Political Framework:

* In 1992, committees and working parties were set up, bringing together nuclear regulators from the EU, the NIS and countries in Central and Eastern Europe, notably the CONCERT group and the Nuclear Regulators Working Group (NRWG);

*The European Nuclear Installations Safety Group (ENIS) was formed bringing together nuclear regulators and operators from the Member States and candidate countries.

4. Progress to date: In summary, the progress made in nuclear safety in these countries is as follows:

  • Agreement to close non-upgradable units in Lithuania, Slovakia and Bulgaria. The Commission is now working closely with each government to ensure the implementation of the agreed closure commitments and has established three national PHARE programmes.
  • A major contribution to dealing with the problems at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the decision to shut it down on 15 December 2000;
  • Continuous on-site assistance in 14 NIS and in Bulgaria ;
  • Independent regulatory authorities have been strengthened through EU technical and financial assistance, notably through the CONCERT and NRWG group;
  • Increased nuclear safety levels in the nuclear power plants under construction in Slovakia, the Ukraine and in Russia through Phare and Tacis (linked with possible Euratom loans);
  • Improved operating practices thanks to the provision of equipment;
  • Attention has been focused on teh problem of waste management and environmental hazards in Central and Eastern Europe. The situation is being comprehensively documented and imported;
  • The profile of the issues related to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities has been raised to take account of other factors, such as technical, legal or environmental issues;
  • The opening of the Russian Methodological and Training Centre (RMTC) was an important factor in the establishment of a State System for Nuclear Material Accounting and Control in Russia.

Furthermore, the EU has provided support for the development and improvement of energy strategies,including the development of alternative energy sources and improving energy efficiency.

In 1992, the Community helped to create the International Centre for Science and Technology (ISTC) in Moscow, which also operates in other NIS countries to redirect the talents of nuclear weapons experts following the fall of the Soviet empire

5. Budget allocated

Over the period 1991-1992, the EU committed a total of EUR 913 million to efforts in this sector. EUR 192 million in Phare and EUR 721 million in Tacis, including a EUR 100 million contribution to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund.

A total of 950 projects have been financed, 300 under Phare and 650 under Tacis. 450 projects are ongoing and another 200 are being prepared. The financial support likely to be provided by the EU is limited compared with needs.

6. Analysis and future prospects: candidate countries

Nuclear energy generation will continue to play an important part in the overall energy mix in at least six of the candidate countries in the foreseeable future. Seven of the thirteen candidate countries have nuclear power plants either in operation or under construction. Three of the candidate countries, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, have undertaken to decommission nuclear power units which were considered not to be upgradable at a reasonable cost. The Commission is therefore involved in the implementation of closure commitments on the one hand and in nuclear safety issues such as the modernisation of existing plants on the other.

The Commission has begun to provide financial support for the closure of units in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia. The closure will take place in stages. In Bulgaria, Kozloduy units 1 and 2 will be closed before 2003. The decision on closure dates for units 3 and 4 will be taken in 2002 in agreement with the Commission. In Lithuania, Ignalina unit 1 will be closed before 2005 and the decision on closure dates for units 3 and 4 will be taken in 2004. The Commission understands that closure will take place by 2009 at the latest. The two Bohunice VI units in Slovakia will be shut down in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

The Commission estimates that the total support will amount to EUR 150 million for Slovakia and EUR 165 million for Lithuania by the end of the present 2000-2006 Financial Perspective. The Commission has proposed a multi-annual assistance package of EUR 200 million for the period up to 2006. The delivery of half of this amount will depend on the confirmation in 2002 on the Understanding on definitive closure dates for Kozloduy units 3 and 4. This support will come under Phare via EBRD-managed international grant funds established on 12 June 2000 to aid the decommissioning of these three stations. It is essential that high safety levels are maintained during the transition period. With regard to other nuclear safety questions, some of the nuclear reactors are either of Soviet or Western design and can be upgraded to acceptable safety levels. These consist of the Kozloduy units 5 and 6 in Bulgaria, the Cernavoda units 1 (operating) and 2 (under construction) in Romania, two of the units in Bohunice and two others in Mochovce in Slovakia, the Krsko station in Slovenia (jointly owned by Slovenia and Croatia), 4 units in Paks in Hungary, 4 units in Dukovany and one in Temelin in the Czech Republic.

The Commission will develop, together with the candidate countries concerned, define other measures that will have to be taken before further assistance is given:

  • Support for nuclear regulators through the “Regulatory Assistance Management Group” (RAM-G) and Technical Support Organisation Group (TSOG);
  • Short term urgent safety improvements to the reactors that will have to be closed down. These concern the need to maintain safety levels in Iglnalina unit 2 and Kozloduy units 3 and 4 in particular, whilst awaiting their closure. No Community assistance will be considered for projects which could contribute to prolonging the operation of these reactors beyond the provisions of the agreed closure commitments.
  • In specific cases, support for the safety enhancing programmes of VVER 440-213 and VVER 1000 reactors, in the form of regulatory review, project management and operational assistance
  • Co-operation on research under the fifth framework programme ;
  • Off-site emergency preparedness, with regard to public health surveillance in particular ;
  • Strengthening of the regulatory and institutional infrastructure with regard to radioactive waste and spent fuel ;
  • Safeguards projects aimed at preventing illicit trafficking.

7. Analysis and future prospects: the Newly Independent States (NIS)

It has been difficult to agree to a general approach to safety issues with some of these countries, mainly due to the fact that both the Community budget and that of the candidate countries available for nuclear safety projects is very small in relation to needs. There are also differences between the different countries: geographical, industrial or even willingness to engage in this debate, amongst others. Future policy of the Commission has to bear these factors in mind. The levels of nuclear safety in these countries are still a cause for concern.

The Tacis programme, which covers the period 2000-2006, sets out three priorities for the nuclear safety programme in the NIS:

  • The promotion of an effective nuclear safety culture;
  • The development and implementation of strategies for dealing with spent fuel, decommissioning and managing nuclear waste;
  • Contribution to international initiatives such as the G7/EU initiative on the closure of Chernobyl.

The programme provides for support in the application of efficient safeguards systems.

Future EU assistance should aim to:

  • Strengthen the role of the national nuclear safety authorities to encourage improved licensing procedures and to ensure regulatory involvement in all relevant nuclear activities;
  • For on-site assistance, linking NIS nuclear power plants with EU operators;
  • Promote some projects in support of nuclear safety;
  • Support regulatory type work, in particular, safety analyses which are compatible with the remaining lifetime of the reactors;
  • Improve spent fuel and radioactive waste management and encourage the timely preparation of decommissioning;
  • Help to improve the corporate structures of nuclear utilities and industrial nuclear operators in order to bring about a financially sound electricity and nuclear sector;
  • Provide Euratom loans in order to improve nuclear safety, especially reactors;
  • Promote and develop safeguards projects with three major objectives: training of inspectors and plant operators, accountability of nuclear material and implementation of measures at plant level to prevent illicit trafficking.

All measures taken will be subject to technical control and will be technically monitored by the Commission.

8. National aspects of the NIS

The Armenian government has agreed to close its plant in 2004 provided that a secure energy alternative is available. The Commission is working with the Armenians with regard to its closure, alternative sources of supply and on-site assistance at the Medzamor nuclear power plant.

he Aktau nuclear power plant has benefited from on-site assistance since 1994. Moreover, a rather unique case in the NIS, the government decided to decommission the plant in 1999. For the time being, assistance is limited to preparing for decommissioning.

Russian Federation
Russia is the only state of the former Soviet Union involved in all aspects of nuclear power and is therefore of particular importance. Nuclear energy is an important source of electricity and the civil nuclear industry is also a major source of employment. Russia clearly wishes nuclear energy to continue to be predominant in its overall energy mix. It continues to build new reactors and has a policy of prolonging of the life-span of its reactors.

The EU and Russia have co-operated in a number of projects under Tacis. However, unlike the case with other countries, EU financial aid is not vital, even if it is considered as a welcome addition to national funding.

There are fundamental differences between the EU and Russian in their approaches to nuclear safety. This is especially clear from Russia’s persistent breaches of its agreement on nuclear safety with the EBRD.

Russia has a policy of extending the life of its first-generation reactors to exceed the nominal lifetime of 30 years. The Commission does not advocate such a policy.

Nevertheless, the Commission does wish to promote increased co-operation with Russia in this field, whilst respecting its national policy. Some of the specific co-operative aspects envisaged by the Commission are: Euratom loan financing, co-operation on nuclear safeguards, co-operation between nuclear regulatory authorities and in radioactive waste management in northwestern Russia, etc.


The Ukraine recieved a grant of EUR 100 million under the Tacis nuclear safety programme 1994-1996. The Commission focused on the following priorities during this period: the establishment of a decommissioning plan for the Chernobyl reactors, support for energy sector reform and for the preparation of the major power replacement project, to ensure that the two new reactors to be built are in accordance with international safety standards.

The Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP) is now being implemented at present under a special fund managed by the EBRD to which Tacis contributed EUR 90.4 million over 1998-1999.

Future strategies include the continuation of assistance to Chernobyl, nuclear safety awareness, encouragement to press ahead with energy sector reform and continued co-operation on the completion of new reactors.

9. Analysis and future prospects: Implementation

During implementation, particularly where tenders are concerned, the Commission must take the specific nature of the nuclear sector into account, namely the absence of competition and the necessity to work with public bodies.

Delays in project implementation are significant. The Commission aims to resolve this problem by clarifying the rules and contract types for each area and by adapting contracts in accordance with the complexity and specificity of this sector. Nuclear safety staff within the Commission have been reorganised to improve efficiency and the Commission has proposed that, from 2001 onwards, there should be a single budget heading for financial assistance to nuclear safety in the NIS.

10. Conclusions

Since 1991, the Commission has made an important contribution towards improving nuclear safety in these countries. However, much remains to be done and the Commission must see to it that nuclear safety remains a high priority in these countries. The Commission must also continue to contribute to building an economic and legal environment to ensure that the necessary work can be completed.

Accession strategies for the environment

Accession strategies for the environment

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


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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Accession strategies for the environment

1) Objective

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

2) Community Measure

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

3) Contents

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

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

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

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

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

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

The main sector-specific challenges:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not applicable

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

Not applicable

6) References

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

7) Follow-Up Work

CommunicationCOM (2001) 304

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

8) Commission Implementing Measures

Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Union

Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Union


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

Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Union

With the adoption of about twenty legislative measures, the Union completed its “Agenda 2000” project in 1999. The original Commission Communication on which the project was based, “Agenda 2000: For a stronger and wider Union”, comprises a single complete framework offering a clear and coherent vision of the Union’s future on the threshold of the 21st century. Its primary aim was to ready the Union for its greatest challenges: the reinforcement of its policies and the accession of new members, within a strict financial framework.

The measures adopted, using the communication as a basis, are in line with the Agenda guidelines: the budget effort has been consolidated, there is a greater concentration of resources, stricter implementation (simplification and decentralisation), good preparation for the integration of the new Member States.


The Agenda 2000 legislative package results from the combined effort of all the institutions; it was conceived at the Madrid European Council in December 1995.

At that meeting, and with a view to opening accession negotiations with the applicant countries, the Heads of State and Government invited the Commission to submit its opinions on the various applications, together with a composite paper on enlargement. At the same time, the Commission was invited to prepare, on the basis of a thorough analysis of the Union’s financing system, a communication on the Union’s future financial framework, having regard to the prospects of enlargement.

The communication “Agenda 2000 : For a stronger and wider Union” [COM(97) 2000], which the Commission presented on 16 July 1997, was a comprehensive response to these requests. The communication describes, in a single text, the overall prospects for the development of the European Union and its policies, the horizontal problems occasioned by enlargement and the shape of a future financial framework for the first seven years of the new millennium, in the context of an enlarged Union. The Commission simultaneously made known its opinions on the accession applications of the ten countries of central and eastern Europe.

The Commission communication highlighted a number of priorities in particular: the need to maintain the policy of economic and social cohesion, to pursue the reform of the common agricultural policy, to strengthen growth, employment and living conditions through the Union’s internal policies and to allow the accession of new members, while maintaining budgetary discipline.

To translate these priorities into legal instruments, on 18 March 1998 the Commission presented legislative proposals on the various topics set out in its communication. At its meeting in Berlin on 24 March 1999, the European Council reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposals, so allowing the institutions to continue examining the Agenda 2000 legislative package and to adopt the final measures before or immediately after the election of the new Parliament in June 1999.

The resulting package of legislation covers four main, closely related areas: the reform of the common agricultural policy, structural policy reform, the pre-accession instruments and the new financial framework. The Commission has also proposed an amendment to the financial regulation on trans-European networks. Some other priority areas covered in the original Commission Communication – internal policies, external action, administrative reforms – did not necessitate a translation into specific legislative measures. They have, nevertheless, an important position in the financial perspectives.

The reform of the common agricultural policy

The agricultural reforms are continuing and they consolidate the changes introduced by the reforms of 1988 and 1992. The reforms have many aims: to increase the competitiveness of Community agricultural products on the domestic and world markets, to integrate environmental and structural considerations more into the implementation of the common agricultural policy, to ensure a fair income for farmers, to simplify agricultural legislation and decentralise its application, to improve food safety, to strengthen the Union’s position in the new round of WTO negotiations and to stabilise agricultural spending in real terms at its 1999 level.

Two types of measures will assist in achieving these objectives. Firstly, new regulations amending the common organisations of the markets in wine, arable crops, beef and veal and milk and, secondly, measures of a more horizontal nature.

Both the arable crops and milk sectors will see gradual reductions in their intervention prices. In the case of beef and veal, the basic price will be reduced, while the intervention price will be maintained at its existing level, as a safety net.

These reductions will be partly offset by a series of direct aids to farmers, calculated on the basis of the annual production of the agricultural product involved. In the beef and veal sector, slaughter premiums and an increase in extensification and suckler cow premiums are also provided for. The reform of the milk sector will enter into force in the 2005/06 marketing year, with a three-stage reduction of 15 % in the intervention price and an increase in the quotas of 1.5 %.

The new regulation governing the market in wine will ensure a controlled increase in production potential by maintaining the current ban on new plantings until 2010. Some less-favoured regions may, however, qualify for an exemption from this ban. The new rules also replace the various existing forms of distillation with one kind, called “crisis distillation”, applicable on a voluntary basis where the market is exceptionally disrupted. Furthermore, to simplify matters, the 23 regulations that previously governed the wine sector have been consolidated into a single new regulation.

The Community premiums can be supplemented by national aids, within limits.

A horizontal regulation, applying to the various common market organisations, urges the Member States to take account of the farmers’ compliance with environmental requirements and employment thresholds when granting their direct aids.

The reductions in the market support prices are accompanied by an increase in aids to farmers with a view to improving competitiveness on both domestic and world markets, thereby reducing the risk of a return to costly overproduction, some of which cannot be sold.

A second horizontal regulation aims to decentralise the management of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Under this new regulation on the financing of the common agricultural policy, the Member States will be able to administer their share of the EAGGF appropriations, while having to comply with certain Community criteria.

The Agenda 2000 package for agriculture has been supplemented by a Regulation on rural development, a genuinely second pillar of the common agricultural policy, which will secure the future of the Community’s rural areas by promoting:

  • the accompanying measures introduced in 1992 (early retirement, agro-environmental measures and forestry);
  • measures to diversify agricultural holdings (support for the processing and marketing of agricultural products, vocational training, promotion and diversification of agriculture, etc.);
  • structural adaption of the holdings and the installation of young people.

The common agricultural policy has been one of the bedrock policies of European integration since its inception. Placed as it is at the heart of the social model advocated by the European Union, it will remain important for the construction of Europe.

Structural policy reform

As the Berlin European Council has stressed, improving the effectiveness of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund is the cornerstone of the Agenda 2000 reforms. This means ensuring that structural assistance is more concentrated both in geographic terms and in terms of the object of assistance and it means improving the management of the Funds, while continuing to pursue the objective of economic and social cohesion in an increasingly diverse Union. The funding ceiling for the structural policy has been set at EUR 213 billion for the 2000-06 period for the current Member States; this represents a slight increase on the preceding period (1994-99: EUR 208 billion).

The policy changes agreed upon relate to the Structural Funds proper (the European Social Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Guidance Section), and to the Cohesion Fund.

The new general conditions applying to assistance from the Structural Funds are laid down in a horizontal regulation containing general provisions on the Structural Funds.

Under this regulation, Community aid will henceforth concentrate on three priority Objectives instead of the previous six:

  • the development and adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind (Objective 1),
  • the economic and social conversion of regions experiencing structural difficulties (Objective 2),
  • the adjustment and modernisation of education, training and employment policies and systems (Objective 3).

The principle of greater concentration has also been applied to the Community Initiatives, which fall in number from 13 to 4. The only Initiatives kept are Interreg (cross-border cooperation), Leader (rural development), Equal (the fight against discrimination in the labour market) and Urban (regeneration of cities, towns and suburbs in crisis).

The regulation also provides for more decentralised management of the Structural Funds by the Member States under the Commission’s general supervision, as well as greater participation on the part of civil society, the regional and local authorities and the social partners in drawing up and implementing the structural programmes.

The general regulation on the Structural Funds is supplemented by three more specific regulations setting out, for each of the Funds involved (the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance) the aims to be achieved and the types of measure qualifying for assistance. The Guidance Section of the EAGGF is henceforth covered by the new regulation on rural development.

Like the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund will continue to be a central pillar of economic and social cohesion in the Union in the period 2000-06.

The Cohesion Fund ‘s main objective remains unchanged: to fund environmental and trans-European transport projects in those Member States with a gross national product (GNP) below 90 % of the Community average. An additional criterion for eligibility, requiring the beneficiary Member States to draw up and comply with an economic stability programme, will continue to apply.

A mid-term review, planned for 2003, will decide which Member States no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

Internal policies

The general thrust of Agenda 2000 as regards the Union’s internal policies has been kept.
The allocation for internal policies in the perspective has been increased and should grow gradually each year from EUR 5.9 billion in 2000 to EUR 6.2 billion in 2006. Expenditure will focus on the following priorities: research, training and major networks. In the case of trans-European networks (transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure), the new financial regulation adopted under Agenda 2000 encourages private investment and the use of venture capital for financing projects of common interest. It also encourages multi-annual programming. The networks will thus be able to mobilise enough funding to help to improve competitiveness and strengthen economic and social cohesion in the context of enlargement.

External action

The European Union will become a global player in the 2000-06 period and its commitments for foreign policies will grow gradually, from EUR 4.55 billion to EUR 4.61 billion. These resources will be mobilised through an approach that integrates all the policies while ensuring a well balanced geographic distribution, having regard to the political commitments and to the priorities given to those countries in greatest need.

Maintenance of the financial resources as a percentage of GDP will ensure a strong European presence on the world stage. The Union will continue to be the largest donor of international aid, whether humanitarian, development or reconstruction aid.

Administrative expenditure

Rising from EUR 4.56 billion in 2000 to EUR 5.1 billion in 2006, administrative expenditure will be subject to the same constraints as those imposed on the administrative budgets of the Member States; this discipline will apply equally to all the institutions.

As in the case of the other headings of the financial perspective, the intention is to add value to, and mobilise better, the human resources of a public service founded on competence, independence and permanence. The new Commission’s priority will be to rethink its own role and redefine its mission on the basis of what has already been undertaken.

The challenge of enlargement

The prospect of Union enlargement to take in ten countries of central and eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) and Cyprus was one of the main reasons for the Agenda 2000 reforms.

In Part Two of the 1997 Agenda 2000 communication, the Commission included, along with its opinions on the various accession applications, recommendations on reinforcing the applicant countries’ preparations.

The main element of this “reinforced pre-accession strategy” – the conclusion of the Accession Partnerships with the eleven applicant countries – was already implemented in March 1998, two weeks before negotiations started with the six countries in the first wave to accede (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia).

Each Partnership takes the form of a multiannual programme comprising, in a single document, specific commitments on the part of the applicant country (on democracy, macroeconomic stabilisation and nuclear safety), a national programme to transpose the Community acquis, and the funding which the Union will employ to support the applicant country’s preparations.

When the Accession Partnerships were concluded, the Phare Programme was the main financial instrument available to the Union to kick-start the applicant countries’ pre-accession period. The programme has two priority objectives approved by the Luxembourg European Council: the improvement of administrative and legal capabilities (30 %) and investment linked to the adoption and application of the Community acquis (70 %). The Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession (ISPA) and the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD) joined Phare in 1999. All three are involved in the Accession Partnerships concluded with each of the applicant countries.

A horizontal regulation on the coordination of aid to applicant countries aims to ensure coherence between the different aid forms.

Another of the Commission’s recommendations in its 1997 Agenda 2000 communication has been put into effect: while still in their pre-accession phase, all the applicant countries can take part in certain Community programmes relating to education, the environment or research and development.

In accordance with the conclusions of the European Councils in Luxembourg and Cardiff, the presentation and implementation of the future financial framework make a clear distinction between expenditure on the Union as it is currently made up on the one hand and expenditure reserved for the future acceding countries, after enlargement, on the other.

The new financial framework

The new financial framework agreed by the Commission, Parliament and the Council will enable the Union to see enlargement and its internal reforms through without compromising the principle of budgetary discipline.

On the expenditure side, the expenditure planned for the 2000-06 period will remain well below this global ceiling. The new financial perspective (2000-06), which is annexed to the new Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure, provides for stabilisation of the ceiling for payment appropriations at EUR 89.62 billion in 2006 (compare this with EUR 89.60 billion in 2000), which represents a smaller percentage of Community GNP (a fall from 1.13 % to 0.97 %).

General budgetary discipline will be reflected in the various expenditure categories, including those considered a priority such as external action, the common agricultural policy, structural policy and certain other internal policies (trans-European networks, research, education and training, environment and small and medium-sized enterprises).

Thanks to this general budget discipline and the expected growth in the Union’s GNP, it will be possible to finance enlargement within the own resources ceiling of 1.27 % of GNP. At the next enlargement, the financial perspective will be revised to include supplementary expenditure linked to the enlargement.

An indicative financial framework established for a hypothetical Union of 21 Member States from 2002 gives, for each heading involved (agriculture, structural measures, internal policies, administration), the additional expenditure that would be occasioned by such an enlargement.

The new financial perspective provides for various mechanisms that allow some flexibility in the application of the financial framework. This involves in particular a procedure to revise the ceilings, an instrument offering general flexibility (to cover specific expenditure that cannot be financed within the ceilings) and three budgetary reserves (monetary reserve, reserve for guaranteeing loans to third countries, reserve for urgent assistance) to which the Union can turn should unexpected expenditure needs arise.

The reserve for loan guarantees to non-member states covers the operation of the Guarantee Fund for external actions. Following the adoption of the new regulation on the Guarantee Fund, which reduces the Fund’s operating parameters, the reserve was proportionately reduced in the financial perspective.

In addition to the financial perspective, the Interinstitutional Agreement includes provisions to improve the annual budgetary procedure and interinstitutional cooperation. Thus, interinstitutional collaboration is reinforced and answers have been provided on a number of issues left unresolved by the previous Agreement (classification of expenditure, inclusion of the financial provisions in legislative instruments, general requirement to have a legal basis for the expenditure).

Union expenditure is henceforth stabilised in a consolidated framework.

As regards Union revenue, the institutions have decided to maintain the general shape of the own resources system. The system is intended to ensure sufficient resources, subject to the need for strict budgetary discipline, to be simple, transparent, fair and in line with each Member State’s ability to contribute, and to have a satisfactory cost-benefit ratio.

The Berlin European Council invited the Commission to present as soon as possible a draft decision on own resources with a view to its entry into force, after ratification, at the start of 2002. The new decision will reduce the imbalances between the Member State’s contributions. Thus, the maximum rate of call on VAT will fall gradually to 0.75 % in 2002 and to 0.50 % in 2004, while the percentage retained by the Member States when collecting customs duties will increase to 25 % with effect from 2001. The UK rebate will remain, with some technical adjustments to neutralise the windfall effects due to other changes in the own resources decision or resulting from enlargement. Furthermore, the financing of the UK rebate by the other Member States will be amended so that Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden see a reduction in their financing share to 25 % of the normal contribution.

The ceiling on own resources will be maintained at 1.27 % of the Community’s GNP, corresponding to the 1999 level. The Commission has been invited to make a general reappraisal of the own resources system before 1 January 2006.

The challenge of enlargement

The challenge of enlargement

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


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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

The challenge of enlargement

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Great needs

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Pre-accession instruments

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

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

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

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

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

Financial instruments

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

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

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


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

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

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

Pre-accession agricultural aid

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

Pre-accession structural assistance

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


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

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

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

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

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

Coordination instrument

Coordination instrument

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Coordination instrument


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

Coordination instrument

The European Union wishes to ensure coordination and coherence between the forms of aid granted in the framework of the pre-accession strategy under the Phare programme, the agricultural instrument (SAPARD) and the structural instrument (ISPA).

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1266/1999 of 21 June 1999 on coordinating aid to the applicant countries in the framework of the pre-accession strategy and amending Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89.


A key element of the pre-accession strategy, as defined by the Luxembourg European Council, are the Accession Partnerships established by Regulation No 622/98 on assistance to the applicant countries. The Luxembourg European Council also advocated a substantial increase in pre-accession aid so as to include, in addition to the PHARE programme, an instrument for aid to agriculture (SAPARD) and a structural instrument (ISPA) for financing schemes similar to the Cohesion Fund.

In order to prevent duplication, to foster complementarity and to enhance the economic impact of the three different Community measures, the Regulation is aimed at improving coordination between the three instruments.

The three preaccession instruments and eligible measures

The agricultural pre-accession instrument (SAPARD) is intended to finance measures to support agriculture and rural development, as provided for in Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1268/1999, with a view to improving farm structures, the processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products, plant-health and veterinary controls and food quality controls. Integrated rural development measures, including rural infrastructures and agri-environmental measures, are also financed under the instrument.

The structural pre-accession instrument (ISPA), which was established by Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999, is designed to finance investment projects, i.e.:

  • environmental measures enabling the beneficiary countries to comply with the requirements of Community environmental law and with the objectives of the Accession Partnerships;
  • transport infrastructure measures, in particular those that constitute projects of common interest according to the criteria laid down in Council Decision No 1692/96 and those which enable the beneficiary countries to comply with the objectives of the Accession Partnerships. These include measures to ensure the interconnection and interoperability of national networks both with each other and with the trans-European networks, and to provide access to such networks.

ThePHAREprogramme was set up under Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89, as last amended by the present Regulation, which provides that funding under the PHARE programme must focus on the main priorities for the adoption of the Community acquis, i.e. building up the administrative and institutional capacities of the applicant States and financing investment, excluding the types of investment financed under the two instruments mentioned above. The PHARE programme can also be used to finance environmental, transport, agricultural and rural development measures which form an indispensable part of industrial reconstruction or regional development programmes.

Implementing procedures

Only one of the abovementioned instruments may be used to fund a given measure. The financing of schemes or measures is subject not only to compliance with the provisions of this Regulation but also to compliance with the undertakings contained in the Europe Agreements as set out in Regulation (EC) No 622/98 and with the conditions laid down in the Accession Partnerships.

The Regulation also provides that beneficiary States are to contribute to the financing of investments. Schemes or measures financed under the three instruments must comply with the regulations relating to those instruments.

The Commission is responsible for coordinating operations under the three instruments. In particular, it establishes the pre-accession aid guidelines for each country. It is assisted in this task by the PHARE Management Committee set up by Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89 (PHARE).

The Commission informs the Committee of any decisions concerning the indicative financial allocations for each country and per pre-accession instrument and of any measures taken to ensure coordination and coherence between operations undertaken under the three instruments and between the latter and operations funded via the European Investment Bank, other Community financial instruments or international financial institutions. Such decisions are communicated to the Court of Auditors. The Commission and the Court of Auditors may, if necessary, carry out on-the-spot inspections.

Procedure and derogations

Project selection, tendering and contracting by applicant countries is subject to an ex ante assessment procedure by the Commission.

A derogation is, however, possible: the Commission may allow implementing agencies in applicant countries to manage the aid on a decentralised basis. Its decision is based on a case-by-case analysis of national and sectoral programme/project management capacity, financial control procedures and structures regarding public finance.

The decision is subject to the minimum criteria and conditions for decentralised management of aid as set out in the Annex to the Regulation. The derogation must also take account of specific provisions concerning invitations to tender, scrutiny and evaluation of tenders, the award of contracts and the implementation of Community public procurement directives.

The rules governing inspection and evaluation are adopted by the Commission.


The Commission is required to present to the European Parliament and to the Council an annual report on all the pre-accession aid granted to each country.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1266/1999 [adoption : consultation CNS/1998/150] 29.06.1999 OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [OJ L 210 of 31.7.2006].
This Regulation establishes an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) for 2007 – 2013 and replaces the gamut of financial instruments in use between 2000 and 2006 for pre-accession needs and the Stabilisation and Association Process. It is intended to provide a simpler and more effective, rationalised framework. The IPA replaces Phare, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and some other Regulations.

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

Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession

Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession


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

Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession

In order to prepare for the accession of the candidate countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs), the European Union provides, through the structural pre-accession instrument, financial support in the area of economic and social cohesion, and in particular for environment and transport policies for the period 2000 – 2006.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999 of 21 June 1999 establishing an Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession [See amending acts]


The Commission communication on Agenda 2000 calls for measures to reinforce the pre-accession strategy for all the applicant countries in Central and Eastern Europe for the period 2000-06. This implies the establishment, by way of back-up for the Phare programme and aid for agricultural development, of a structural instrument for pre-accession (ISPA) (replaced by the instrument for pre-accession assistance – IPA – for the period 2007-2013).

Eligible Measures

Community assistance granted under ISPA is limited to programmes for the environment and transport.


Community financial assistance is granted to environmental projects that enable the beneficiary countries to comply with the requirements of Community environmental law and with the accession partnerships.


ISPA assistance is granted for transport infrastructure measures. The projects concerned promote sustainable mobility and above all

  • are of common interest based on the criteria laid down in Council Decision No 1692/96 (on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network);
  • enable the beneficiary countries to comply with the objectives of the accession partnerships. This includes interconnection and interoperability between national networks and the trans-European networks, as well as access to such networks.

The total cost of each measure cannot, in principle, be less than 5 million.

A balance must be struck between measures in the field of the environment and measures relating to transport infrastructure. Assistance may also be granted for:

  • preliminary studies related to eligible measures;
  • technical support measures, including information and publicity actions.

The selection and approval of projects are based on national transport and environmental programmes. These programmes are included in the national programme for the adoption of the Community acquis, which is one of the key elements of the accession partnerships.

Financial arrangements

An indicative allocation between beneficiary countries of the total Community assistance under ISPA is made by the Commission on the basis of the criteria of population, per capita GDP in purchasing power parities, and surface area.

Forms and rate of assistance

The rate of Community assistance granted under ISPA may be up to 75% of public or equivalent expenditure. The Commission may decide to increase this rate to up to 85%, in particular where it considers that a rate higher than 75% is required to implement projects essential for achieving the general objectives of ISPA. Preliminary studies and technical support measures may be financed in exceptional cases at 100% of the total cost.

Compatibility with other Community policies

Measures financed under ISPA comply with the provisions set out in the Europe Agreements, including the implementing rules on state aid.

The Commission is responsible for coordination and consistency between those measures and measures financed by other contributions from the Community budget, for instance in respect of cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation, by the European Investment Bank.

Appraisal and approval of measures

The Commission adopts decisions on the measures to be financed under ISPA on the basis of applications for assistance submitted by beneficiary countries. Commission decisions approving measures determine the amount of financial assistance and lay down a financing plan together with all the provisions necessary for the implementation of the measures.

Management and control

The applicant countries are responsible for implementing projects under Commission supervision. In implementing the Regulation, the Commission ensures that the principles of sound financial management are adhered to.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring of ISPA is carried out jointly by the beneficiary country and the Commission. More specifically, monitoring is carried out by reference to physical and financial indicators relating to the specific character of the project and its objectives.


Act Entry into force – Expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999 [adoption: consultation CNS/1998/0091] 29.06.1999 – 31.12.2006 OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2382/2001 07.12.2001 OJ L 323 of 07.12.2001
Regulation (EC) No 2500/2001 30.12.2001 OJ L 342 of 27.12.2001
Regulation (EC) No 769/2004 30.04.2004 OJ L 123 of 27.04.2004
Regulation (EC) No 2257/2004 02.01.2005 OJ L 389 of 31.12.2004
Regulation (EC) No 2112/2005 28.12.2005 OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

Related Acts

Report from the Commission – General report on pre-accession assistance (PHARE – ISPA – SAPARD) in 2005 [COM(2006) 746 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission – 2005 report on PHARE, pre-accession and transition instruments [COM(2007) 3 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission – 2005 Annual Report on the Instrument for Structural Policy for Pre-Accession (ISPA) [COM(2006) 674 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

General report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council of 24 March 2006 on pre-accession assistance Phare – Ispa – Sapard in 2004 [COM(2006) 137 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission – 2004 Report on Phare, pre-accession and transition instruments [COM(2005) 701 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission – Annual Report of the Instrument for Structural Policy for pre-accession (ISPA) 2004 [COM(2005) 612 – not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission – Annual Report of the Instrument for Structural Policy for pre-accession (ISPA) 2003 [COM(2004) 735 – Official Journal C 10 of 14.01.2005]

Council Decision 2004/749/EC of 21 October 2004 outlining the general approach for the reallocation of resources under Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999 establishing an Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession [Official Journal L 332 of 6.11.2004]
This Decision sets out the reallocation of ISPA resources between Bulgaria and Romania for the period 2004 to 2006.

Commission report – General report on pre-accession assistance (Phare-Ispa-Sapard) in 2002 [COM (2003) 844 final – Official Journal C 98 of 23.04.2004]

Commission Report – Annual report of the Instrument for Structural Policy for Pre-accession (ISPA) 2002 [COM (2003) 655 final – Official Journal C 96 of 21.04.2004]

Commission Report- General Report on pre-accession assistance (Phare – ISPA – Sapard) in 2001 [COM (2003) 329 final – Official Journal C 76 of 25.03.2004]

Commission report – General report on pre-accession assistance (Phare-Ispa-Sapard) in 2000 [COM (2002) 781 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report – Annual report of the Instrument for Structural Policy for Pre-accession (ISPA) 2001 [COM(2002) 596 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report – Annual report of the Instrument for Structural Policy for Pre-accession (ISPA) 2000 [COM(2001) 616 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

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

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

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


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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

1) Objective

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

2) Document or Iniciative

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

3) Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Roadmap for Bulgaria

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

Roadmap for Romania

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

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

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

The 2004 enlargement: the challenge of a 25-member EU

The 2004 enlargement: the challenge of a 25-member EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The 2004 enlargement: the challenge of a 25-member EU


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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

The 2004 enlargement: the challenge of a 25-member EU

This historic enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 members is the culmination of a long accession process leading to the reunification of a Europe that had been divided for half a century by the Iron Curtain and the Cold War. It is therefore worth briefly reviewing the preparations for this fifth enlargement of the EU, and the challenges and prospects it brings with it.

Preparations for the fifth EU enlargement

The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 marked the disintegration of the entire Communist bloc in the East. This event was the starting point for the process of European reunification. From then on the EU and the candidate countries worked tirelessly together to prepare the enlargement within the framework of bilateral accession partnerships between the EU and each candidate country. The partnerships set the priorities and precise timetables for the ground which needed to be covered to enable each country to take on the obligations involved in accession.

From 1987 to 1996 thirteen countries submitted applications to join the EU: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. The Luxembourg European Council of 12 and 13 December 1997 launched the EU enlargement process, in which “each of the applicant States would proceed at its own rate, depending on its degree of preparedness”.

To prepare for EU membership, the candidate countries first signed Europe Agreements (in the case of Central and Eastern European countries) or Association Agreements (Turkey, Cyprus and Malta). The EU supported their work to adopt the Community’s rules through its pre-accession strategy. It gave them financial assistance for developing their institutions, infrastructure and economies.

Country Signing of Europe Agreement or Association Agreement Date of application for accession Association Agreement OJ Reference



OJ L 358 of 31.12.94




OJ L 133 of 21.5.77




OJ L 68 of 9.3.98




OJ L 347 of 31.12.93




OJ L 26 of 2.2.98




OJ L 51 of 20.2.98




OJ L 61 of 14.3.71




OJ L 348 of 31.12.93

Czech Republic



OJ L 360 of 31.12.94




OJ L 357 of 31.12.94




OJ L 359 of 31.12.94




OJ L 51 of 26.2.99




OJ 217 of 29.12.64

Accession negotiations began on 31 March 1998 with the six best-prepared countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia), and on 15 February 2000 with all the other candidate countries (Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia) except Turkey. They were based on the principle of “differentiation”, i.e. each country’s progresses at its own pace according to its level of preparation for accession. The length of the negotiations therefore varied according to each country’s progress.

From 1998 the Commission published regular reports every year on the progress of each candidate country. The priorities for each candidate country and the specific support this required were defined in the accession partnerships adopted in 1998 and revised in 1999 and 2002. These documents were the basis for “screenings” (sector-by-sector evaluation) to establish a “roadmap” for each candidate specifying the legislation that needed to be adopted or amended to comply with the Community acquis.

The Copenhagen European Council of December 2002 found that 10 of the 13 candidate countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia) fulfilled the conditions necessary for joining the EU. They therefore signed their Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 in Athens and officially joined the EU on 1 May 2004 after the ratification procedures were completed.

To become part of the EU, the ten candidate countries had first and foremost to be recognised as European States (Article 49 of the EU Treaty) and secondly to comply with the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law (Article 6 of the EU Treaty). They also had to fulfil the economic and political conditions known as the Copenhagen criteria, according to which a candidate country should:

  • be a stable democracy, respect human rights and the rule of law and protect minorities;
  • have a working market economy;
  • adopt the common rules, standards and policies which make up the body of EU law.

The challenges of the fifth EU enlargement

The driving force behind the fifth EU enlargement has been the desire to ensure peace, stability and economic prosperity in a re-unified Europe. Nevertheless, this entails both costs and benefits that it is important to quantify.

Peace, stability and economic prosperity in Europe

The objectives of European unification include:

  • ensuring peace and political stability throughout the continent;
  • securing greater prosperity for Europe’s citizens by extending the European socio-economic model and the euro-zone, while at the same time protecting the environment;
  • furthering democracy through compliance with the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is based on the principles of dignity, equality, solidarity and justice;
  • reinforcing Europe’s role internationally, particularly in trade matters;
  • cultural enrichment.

To guarantee that enlargement does not undermine the economic and social achievements of the first forty years of the European project, the EU insisted in its negotiations with the candidate countries on the importance of:

  • liberalising economic and agricultural sectors;
  • reforming the judicial system and the police and combating corruption;
  • applying the rules on food safety;
  • combating organised crime, economic and financial crime, drug trafficking and trafficking in women, while upholding children’s’ rights;
  • upholding minority rights;
  • improving and protecting the environment, particularly in terms of waste management and the safety of nuclear power stations.

The cost and advantages of enlargement

The increase in the number of Member States with differing economic situations, the size of the EU’s population and the number of languages spoken calls for some effort to be made by Member States, particularly in financial terms.

As part of its pre-accession strategy, the EU set up a number of financial instruments (Phare, Ispa and Sapard) to help the candidate countries become members.

From 2000 to 2003 the European Commission devoted 13.2 billion euros to pre-accession expenditure. More than 41 billion euros were released for the period 2004-2006 (40.8 billion for the new Member States: agricultural subsidies, regional and infrastructure assistance, nuclear safety, public administration and border protection; 540 million for all Member States: research, culture and education).

When the ten new Member States joined the EU on 1 May 2004 the pre-accession strategy no longer applied to them, but they still benefit from the pre-accession financial instruments for projects presented before 2005 and are now eligible for the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund.

However, along with these costs go advantages, since the enlargement from 15 to 25 countries has made it possible to extend the area of stability and peace to the whole European continent, and so avoid the recurrence of conflicts such as that in the former Yugoslavia; to stimulate economic growth and trade by expanding the single market from 378 million to 453 million consumers in 2004, with a prospect of more than 480 million by 2007; and to acquire a greater role for Europe on the international stage, particularly in trade negotiations.

The new Member States have also contributed 15 billion euros to the EU budget. As not all the funds made available have been used, the European Commission has calculated that the net budget cost of the fifth enlargement will not exceed 10 billion euros for the period up to 2006.

The outlook for the fifth enlargement: towards an EU of 30 Member States

Having successfully grown from six members to twenty-five, the EU is now preparing for its next enlargement. Bulgaria and Romania signed their accession treaty on 25 April 2005. They should become members of the EU on 1 January 2007.

Turkey submitted its application for membership on 14 April 1987 and officially obtained the status of accession candidate at the Helsinki European Council of December 1999. In its recommendation of 6 October 2004 the Commission said that it considered that Turkey sufficiently fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria. It therefore recommended commencing accession negotiations (subject to certain conditions) with Turkey. The European Council of December 2004 therefore programmed the commencement of negotiations for October 2005.

Croatia applied for EU membership on 21 February 2003. The June 2004 European Council officially recognised the country as an accession candidate and in November 2004 the Commission recommending opening negotiations. The December 2004 European Council then concluded that accession negotiations with Croatia should start on 17 March 2005 provided that Croatia fully cooperated with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), particularly regarding the arrest of General Gotovina and his transfer to the Hague. However, finding that Croatia had not fully cooperated, on 16 March 2005 the Council of Ministers decided to postpone the commencement of accession negotiations with Croatia indefinitely. It announced that a bilateral inter-governmental conference would be called by common agreement once it was found that Croatia was fully cooperating with the ICTY.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted its accession application on 22 March 2004 but has not yet obtained the official status of candidate country.

The EU is thus working resolutely for new enlargements in the western Balkan region. It believes that these countries are destined to become members of the EU when they are ready.

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

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