Category Archives: International Dimension and Enlargement

By their very nature, business operations involve exchanges with external partners. Access to markets and cooperation with third countries are therefore decisive factors for the competitiveness of European businesses. Furthermore, the establishment of an environment favourable to business growth is a challenge not only for the European Union (EU) but also for all the EU’s partners around the world.
For the candidate countries, compliance with the Community acquis concerning industrial and enterprise policy is an essential part of the process of achieving accession to the EU.

International dimension and enlargement in Food Safety:
The European Union, as a major producer and importer of foodstuffs, has signed a number of agreements and joined various international bodies that assist with establishing safety and quality standards for foodstuffs and food products, including the Codex Alimentarius and the International Office for Epizootic Diseases. The legal framework of the Union (the acquis of the European Union) relating to food safety is adopted by the countries joining the European Union under the heading of agriculture and consumer policies.

The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation

The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 7 July 2011 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation [COM (2011) 415 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This communication sets out a renewed transport policy cooperation between the European Union (EU) and its neighbouring regions, following the 2007 Commission Communication on the extension of the major trans-European transport axes to the neighbouring countries which focused on infrastructure aspects. This communication outlines short (until 2013) and long term measures in all transport modes to link the EU transport system with that of its neighbours – both the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the enlargement countries.


The majority of ENP countries lie across the sea from the EU or at least a considerable distance away from EU capitals. Aviation therefore has a significant role in passenger transport. Short term actions proposed by the Commission in the aviation sector include:

  • complete ongoing negotiations and extend negotiations for air services agreements to other neighbouring countries;
  • continue to help neighbouring countries to modernise their air traffic management systems (SESAR) and join one of the European airspace blocks;
  • help neighbouring countries to achieve compliance with EU and international aviation safety and security standards.

The Commission also proposed the following longer term actions in the aviation sector:

  • consolidate aviation agreements with the eastern and southern ENP countries with the aim to complete the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA);
  • extend aviation safety cooperation under European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to eastern and southern ENP countries;
  • extension of the Single European Sky to include neighbouring countries.

Maritime and inland navigation

A quality competitive maritime transport with a good environmental, safety and security performance is in the common interest of both the EU and its neighbouring countries, which have regional seas in common. In this communication the Commission proposes the following short term actions:

  • help neighbouring countries to improve their Flag State performance and comply with safety, security and social standards;
  • extend the scope of European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to provide assistance to neighbouring countries;
  • promote the SafeSeaNet and CleanSeaNet systems to neighbouring countries;
  • work with neighbouring countries to simplify procedures for short sea shipping in line with the European Maritime Transport Space;
  • help neighbouring countries to achieve EU and international standards in inland navigation;
  • work towards the modernisation of the Danube Commission as part of the revised Belgrade Convention.

In the longer term, the Commission proposes to promote closer integration of the EU’s neighbouring countries to the “Blue Belt” of free maritime movement in and around Europe, intended to reduce administrative charges linked to EU maritime transport.


Road transport is important for trade with neighbouring countries which share a land border with the EU. However, administrative burdens at the border crossings remain an obstacle to an efficient trade flow between the EU and its eastern neighbours. The Commission therefore proposes the following short term actions to improve road transport cooperation with the EU’s neighbouring countries:

  • assist the non-EU contracting parties of the UN Agreement on driving time and rest period rules in international road transport (AETR) in the deployment of digital tachographs;
  • seek a mandate for the EU to become a contracting party to the AETR in order to bring its provisions into line with the EU’s social rules in the road transport sector;
  • help neighbouring countries to increase their road safety;
  • study the impact of gradual road market opening with selected neighbouring countries;
  • improve customs cooperation with Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine to facilitate border crossings.

The Commission also proposes, in the longer term, to extend the scope of Interbus Agreement to include international regular carriage of passengers by coach and bus and enlarge the agreement to cover ENP countries.


The EU market for rail freight and international passenger services have been completely opened, enabling new competitors to enter the market. Rail freight could have a competitive advantage over other modes of transport, in particular on long Euro-Asian corridors, if the current physical and non-physical barriers could be removed, such as the lack of interoperable rail systems, insufficient technology, and inadequate cooperation on border crossings. The Commission therefore proposes the following short term actions in the rail sector:

  • minimise technical barriers to trade, such as the difference between the gauges used in the EU and its neighbouring regions which slows down freight and passenger transport flows;
  • promote the deployment of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in neighbouring countries to ensure interoperability and safety of railways networks;
  • promote the participation of enlargement and neighbouring countries in the activities of the European Railway Agency (ERA).

In the longer term, this communication proposes the study and improvement of trans-shipment practices, and considers the possibility of an extension of the EU open rail market to ENP countries.


The Commission aims to improve and promote infrastructure connections by defining the networks, prioritising projects and mobilising funds. This would include, amongst various proposed actions, strengthening the Commission’s cooperation with the International Financial Institutions in the eastern and southern ENP and developing further maritime based connections through the Motorways of the Sea concept.


To lead both the policy cooperation and transport infrastructure planning, the Commission proposes to establish a Transport Panel under the Eastern Partnership which would set out a new approach for cooperating on all transport issues relating to the eastern neighbourhood countries. The Commission also proposes to sign the Transport Community Treaty with the Western Balkans, which would aim to establish an integrated market for infrastructure and land, inland waterways and maritime transport.

International transport agreements: TRACECA, SEETO and NDPTL

International transport agreements: TRACECA, SEETO and NDPTL

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about International transport agreements: TRACECA, SEETO and NDPTL


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

International transport agreements: TRACECA, SEETO and NDPTL

Document or Iniciative

Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus Asia (Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor , signed at Baku on 8 September 1998).

South East European Transport Observatory (Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the Core Regional Transport Network signed at Luxembourg on 11 June 2004).

Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (Memorandum of Understanding setting out the modalities of establishing the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logisticssigned at Naples on 21 October 2009).



The Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) is an international programme which aims to strengthen economic relations, trade and transport communication between Europe and Asia, across the Black Sea, the countries of the South Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Central Asian countries. The current participating countries are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The European Union supports the development of TRACECA although neither the European Commission nor the European Union are parties to the Agreement.

The Multilateral Agreement signed in 1998 aims to:

  • facilitate access to the international market of road, air and railway transport and also commercial maritime navigation;
  • facilitate international transport of goods and passengers and international transport of hydrocarbons;
  • ensure traffic safety, security of goods and environmental protection;
  • harmonise transport policy and also the legal framework in the field of transport;
  • create equal conditions of competition between different types of transport.

In the TRACECA programme, each participating country grants to the other participating countries the right of transit of international means of transport, goods and passengers through its territory. The countries must also ensure the most effective arrangements for facilitating the transport in transit on their territories. Taxes, duties and other payments are not imposed for transport in transit, except payments for transport and customs services, services related to transport, and payments for use of transport infrastructure.

Tariffs for transport transit services are established on the basis of preferential terms. Any preferential terms and tariffs established between two participating countries within the programme must be equally applicable to all participating countries.


The South East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO) is a regional transport organisation established by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2004 by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and the European Commission.

The SEETO aims to promote cooperation on the development of the main and ancillary infrastructure on the multimodal South East Europe Comprehensive Transport Network and to enhance policies in this area which facilitate such development. The development of the Network should include maintenance, reconstruction, rehabilitation, upgrading and new construction of main and ancillary infrastructure as well as its operation and use with a view to promoting the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport modes on a regional scale.


The Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL) was established in October 2009 and is one of the partnerships of the Northern Dimension. The current members of the NDPTL are Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the European Commission. Alongside the general aim of promoting international trade, the NDPTL also more specifically aims to:

  • improve the major transport connections and logistics in the Northern Dimension region to stimulate sustainable economic growth at the local, regional and global level;
  • accelerate the implementation of transport and logistics infrastructure projects along the major transnational connections, and facilitate the approval of projects of mutual interest;
  • accelerate the removal of non-infrastructure related bottlenecks affecting the flow of transport in and across the region, and facilitate the improvement of logistics in international supply chains;
  • provide effective structures to monitor the implementation of the proposed projects and measures.

The NDPTL is structured on three levels:

  • High Level Meetings to take strategic decisions on the future development and priorities of the Partnership;
  • Steering Committee to co-ordinate the joint work under the Memorandum of Understanding, to follow and monitor the implementation of the action plan, and to review the general functioning of the Partnership;
  • Secretariat to provide administrative and technical support to the Steering Committee and the High Level Meetings.

The involvement of international financial institutions is crucial in mobilising the necessary funding, and therefore the Nordic Investment Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank, as well as other relevant financial institutions, may be invited to attend the NDPTL’s activities as observers.

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission


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

Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/822/EC of 17 November 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission [Official Journal L 309, 26.11.2003].



The Codex Alimentarius (or food code) is a joint programme of the FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the WHO (World Health Organisation), which lays down food health standards that serve as a reference for international trade in foodstuffs.

Since 1994 and the entry into force of the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), the legal relevance of the Codex standards has increased. Indeed these two Agreements make reference to those standards, meaning that the latter are used as the basis for the evaluation of national measures and regulations.

At present, all Member States of the European Union (EU), and, since the end of 2003, the European Community as such are members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the body in charge of updating the Codex.

This Decision concerns the application of the European Community to accede to the CAC, achieved in 2003. It is accompanied by a declaration on the exercise of competence between the European Community and its Member States and by the text of the Arrangement between the Council and the Commission regarding preparation for meetings and statements and the exercise of voting rights within the CAC.

Background to the accession negotiations

Since Article 2 of the CAC’s statutes authorises any FAO member to become a full member, the European Community started negotiations to that end in the mid-1990s.
In January 1994, the Council authorised the Commission to enter into negotiations, on behalf of the Community, with the CAC Secretariat with a view to defining the conditions and procedures for the Community’s accession.
Discussions between the Commission and Council had since then been blocked by Member State concerns about internal coordination and the division of responsibilities.
As a result of the White Paper on Food Safety, which reaffirmed the benefits of CAC membership, negotiations with the CAC Secretariat on accession conditions resumed during 2001.

In June 2003, the CAC amended its Rules of Procedure allowing regional economic integration organisations to become members, thus opening the way to the accession of the European Community alongside its Member States.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission: aims and mode of operation

The CAC was created by the WHO and FAO in 1963 to implement their Joint Food Standards Programme aimed at protecting the health of consumers, ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by governmental and international organisations.

Its main aim, then, is to define international standards, codes of practice and other guidelines and recommendations concerning agricultural and fishery products, foodstuffs, food additives, food contaminants, animal feed and the residues of veterinary products and pesticides as well as labelling, inspection and certification systems, analysis and sampling methods, ethics and good farming practice codes and food hygiene practices.
These standards are then published in one of the Codex’s 13 volumes:

  • general requirements and general requirements for food hygiene;
  • general texts on pesticide residues in food and maximum limits for same;
  • residues of veterinary drugs in foods;
  • foods for special dietary uses, including foods for infants and children;
  • processed and quick-frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • fruit juices;
  • cereals, pulses and derived products and vegetable proteins;
  • fats and oils and related products;
  • fish and fishery products;
  • meat and meat products;
  • soups and broths;
  • sugars, cocoa products and chocolate and miscellaneous products;
  • milk and milk products;
  • methods of analysing and sampling.

The CAC’S work also encourages food traders to voluntarily adopt ethical practices. To that end, the CAC has published a Code of ethics for international trade in food, which now forms part of the Codex.

The CAC currently comprises 171 countries and holds meetings every year. It is helped in developing its standards by subsidiary bodies, which include committees dealing with horizontal matters (for example, general principles, labelling, food hygiene, food additives and contaminants, etc.), committees dealing with vertical matters, i.e. specialising in one type of product (for example, milk and milk products, fish and fishery products, etc.), “task forces” dedicated to a particular task of limited duration and regional coordinating committees. In addition, the experts’ meetings organised and supported by the FAO and the WHO provide the essential scientific basis (risk assessment) for the CAC’S work and the publications resulting from their activities act as international references. There are three of these groups of experts, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

Activities of the European Community and its Member States within the CAC

The CAC’s Rules of Procedure now allow a member organisation to share its voting rights with its Member States in accordance with their respective competences. When the member organisation is entitled to vote, the number of votes it may cast is equal to the number of Member States present when the vote is taken, hence the importance of Member States being present. This rule is the result of a compromise reached with developing countries, which, in the interests of fairness, could not accept the vote of a country not present being counted.

Competence is assigned as follows:

  • the European Community has exclusive competence for matters on which the rules have already been harmonised, either fully or to a large extent, at Community level. In such cases, the Commission speaks and votes in the name of the Community, although Member States have the right to speak in favour of the Community position and to react to contributions from other countries;
  • the Member States have exclusive competence for all organisational matters (for example, legal or budgetary questions) and for procedural matters (for example, the election of chairpersons, the adoption of agendas and the approval of minutes);
  • competence is shared where rules have been only partially harmonised: the vote is exercised either by the Member States or the Community, depending on the degree of harmonisation achieved. In such cases, the Presidency and the Commission put forward the common position. Member States may also speak in order to support and/or develop the Community position and to react to contributions.

Before each meeting of the CAC or of one of its subsidiary bodies, an annotated agenda, indicating who, within the organisation or its Member States, is competent for each item and is to exercise the right to vote, is drawn up and given to all participants.

In addition, the Member States and the Commission have the right to participate in the Codex working groups and drafting committees and express their opinions there. Member State and Commission representatives endeavour to reach a common position and defend this during discussions in the working groups and drafting committees,

The HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and the Codex Alimentarius

The measures taken by the EU with regard to food safety and food frequently invoke the Codex as justification. This is true particularly of the HACCP principles, which are the basis of European legislation relating to food hygiene and official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

These principles, developed by the CAC since the early 1990s, prescribe a number of stages to be followed throughout the production cycle in order to allow, on the basis of a risk analysis, the identification of critical points that need to be monitored to ensure food safety:

  • identification of all risks to be avoided, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels;
  • identification of the critical or limit points where surveillance becomes essential;
  • establishment and application of effective procedures for monitoring critical points;
  • adoption of corrective measures when monitoring reveals a critical point is being overstepped.

Relationship between the WTO and the Codex Alimentarius

When the WTO was set up in April 1994, two specific agreements were concluded in Marrakech to restrict barriers to trade justified on the basis of protectionist technical regulations:

  • the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement);
  • the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement).

The SPS Agreement lays down the conditions on which a State can adopt and implement health measures (animal health, food safety) or phytosanitary measures (protection of plants) that have a direct or indirect impact on international trade. This Agreement makes explicit reference to the standards defined by the Codex to impose limits on the actions of the signatory States.
Thus the preamble to this Agreement declares itself in favour of furthering “the use of harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Members, on the basis of international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed by the relevant international organisations, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission”.

The TBT Agreement aims to guarantee that technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. It too makes extensive reference to international standards, though without explicitly citing the Codex, in the context of the harmonisation that it advocates.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/822/EC 17.11.2003 OJ L 309 of 26.11.2003

Developing the agenda for the Community's external aviation policy

Developing the agenda for the Community’s external aviation policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Developing the agenda for the Community’s external aviation policy


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

Developing the agenda for the Community’s external aviation policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 11 March 2005 – Developing the agenda for the Community’s external aviation policy [COM(2005) 79 – not published in the Official Journal].


The so-called “open skies” judgments of 5 November 2002 of the Court of Justice of the European Communities marked the start of a Community external aviation policy which this communication is seeking to develop in terms of the economic issues at stake for European industry.

This case law testifies to the Community’s powers in the field of international air services, whereas traditionally these services had always been governed by bilateral agreements between States.

The “open skies” judgments identify three areas coming under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Community: computerised reservation systems, intra-Community tariffs and time slots, each of which is governed entirely by Community legislation.

Bilateral negotiation by a Member State, as covered by Regulation (EC) No 847/2004, means that existing agreements can be brought into line in the context of the regular ongoing contacts between Member States and their partners. Bilateral negotiation at Community level in the framework of the so-called “horizontal mandate” which, on the basis of an agreement negotiated by the Commission, permits the insertion of the necessary standard clauses in the whole range of agreements concluded between the Member States and a given third country. By virtue of requiring just one single round of negotiations, an agreement of this kind has the advantage of enabling a third country to cut down on a series of individual negotiations with the Member States with which it is linked.

The roadmap for implementing the Community’s external aviation policy incorporates two complementary objectives:

  • creating a Common Aviation Area by 2010 which will comprise the European Community and all its partners located along its southern and eastern borders, with a view to achieving a high degree of economic and regulatory integration of aviation markets in this area. The various parties would share the same market operation rules, not only from an economic point of view but also with regard to air traffic, security and air safety.
  • launching, in the short term, targeted negotiations on global agreements in the major regions of the world, with the aim of strengthening the prospects for promoting European industry and ensuring fair competition in the most dynamic world markets, while at the same time helping to reform international civil aviation.

A first group would include the countries engaged in pan-European cooperation with a view to accession. While negotiations to this end have already resumed with Romania, Bulgaria and the Western Balkans, steps should be taken to ensure that Turkey is also included.

A second group is made up of the countries bordering the Mediterranean whose key objectives are to open up markets, create fair operating conditions but also to boost security, safety and environmentally-friendly behaviour.

Russia is a priority, on both an economic and political level. Given the extent of its traffic to the outside (75% of which is directed towards the Community in the case of passenger traffic), it should be offered a wide-ranging agreement encompassing several specific strands and seeking to promote both economic openness and cooperation as a means of bringing markets together and developing industrial potential.

China and India are target countries for Community policy due to their huge populations and rapidly growing economies. Similarly, Japan and South Korea, both with prosperous markets, should also be considered as desirable partners.

Lastly, aviation negotiations with other third countries, such the United States, Canada, Chile and Mexico could create economic as well as political advantages.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 1 October 2008 called “Common aviation area with the Neighbouring Countries by 2010: progress report”
[COM(2008) 596 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The creation of a planned common aviation area (CAA) with the EU’s eastern and southern neighbours should lead to the creation of new market opportunities and the introduction of a harmonised regulatory environment. This initiative complements the objectives of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean.

The approach adopted takes into account the situation of each country and its capacity to integrate progressively into the CAA. The Commission supports this integration and in particular:

  1. the completion of the single market for air transport for countries already involved in the CAA (in particular with the Western Balkans);
  2. the conclusion of negotiations with Mediterranean countries based on the model of the agreement concluded with Morocco.

The development of the CAA and the harmonised implementation of the existing aviation acquis should help to ensure:

  1. the safety and security of aviation on a pan-European level;
  2. the completion of the European Single Sky and the modernisation of traffic management with neighbouring States;
  3. the tackling of climate change on a global level. Emissions quotas or equivalent measures could be included as part of the CAA.

The Commission proposes to accelerate the negotiation process and the ratification of bilateral agreements. However, it is unlikely that the objective of an enlarged CAA will be achieved before 2010. In 2007, more than 120 million passengers travelled between the EU and its neighbouring countries.

Communication from the Commission of 12 September 2005 – Developing a Community civil aviation policy towards New Zealand [COM(2005) 407 – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 5 September 2005 – Strengthening aviation relations with Chile [COM(2005) 406 – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 14 March 2005 – Developing a Community civil aviation policy towards the People’s Republic of China – strengthening cooperation and opening markets [COM(2005) 78 – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 14 March 2005 – A Framework for Developing Relations with the Russian Federation in the Field of Air Transport [COM(2005) 77 – not published in the Official Journal].

Regulation (EC) No 847/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the negotiation and implementation of air service agreements between Member States and third countries [OJ L 157 of 30.04.2004].

Communication from the Commission on relations between the Community and third countries in the field of air transport [COM(2003) 94 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission on the consequences of the Court judgments of 5 November 2002 for European air transport policy [COM(2002) 649 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network

Development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

Development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network

This communication aims to promote cooperation with the countries of the southern Mediterranean in order to improve transport infrastructure and alert the public and private players concerned.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network [COM(2003) 376 final – Not published in the Official Journal].



The communication examines the economic, political and financial aspects of developing the Euro-Mediterranean transport network. The aim is to define the challenges and features of the network while underlining concerns about safety, security and funding in the run-up to the enlargement of the European Union (EU).

Transport flows between the two shores of the Mediterranean are very dense, and the EU is the main maritime and air partner for a large number of Mediterranean partners, in particular the Maghreb. At the same time, new needs and constraints have come to the fore in relation to tourism, safety and security concerns, and international terrorism.


Planning the network and identifying the priority infrastructure projects

Network planning and identification of priority projects have got under way through the MEDA programme.

Priority infrastructure projects need to be identified, and agreement to the resulting list of priority projects needs to be obtained from the Euro-Mediterranean transport Ministers. To that end, the Commission advocates an approach based on corridors to enable priorities to be set in the right order.
For instance, two multimodal corridors are likely to promote regional integration, namely:

The trans-Maghreb multimodal corridor: a rail and motorway network will serve to link the main cities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

The double corridor of the eastern Mediterranean: the corridor starts in Bulgaria, crosses Turkey and then divides into two branches, one running along the coast to Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt and the other through the Syrian and Jordanian plateaux.

Incorporating common transport policy objectives

Short sea shipping: there is a great need for the creation of motorways of the sea connecting the corridors and shorelines of the Member States and their immediate neighbours. The Mediterranean basin is a priority area for the development of motorways of the sea.

The intermodality of short sea shipping may also be enhanced by participation in the pilot projects of the Marco Polo programme.

Maritime transport: the aim is to prevent the sea-borne transport of oil in the Mediterranean from creating another Erika or Prestige incident in a closed and ecologically fragile sea. The new proposals contained in the Erika I and II packages need to be extended to cover the Euro-Mediterranean area. The main prevention measures in this respect will be concentrated in a new regional project in the framework of the MEDA programme.

Air transport: air transport has a very important role to play, due particularly to tourism and the mobility of immigrant populations. The aim is to increase airport capacity, and to integrate air traffic management systems with a view to creating the Single European Sky. These efforts may be supplemented by the conclusion of Open sky agreements between the EU and interested Mediterranean partners and by participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Rail transport: the aim is to develop the rail network so as to facilitate South-South trade, improve interoperability and reduce CO2 emissions.

Galileo: the Galileo project, which will become operational in 2008, could use the European satellite navigation system to provide better protection for the Mediterranean and make it safer. The aim is to involve the Mediterranean partners and their businesses in the project, subject to a capital stakeholding in the Galileo Joint Undertaking.

Research programmes: inclusion of the Mediterranean partners in the 6th framework programme of research, especially the Aeronautics and space and Sustainable Surface Development priorities, in order to help improve the safety and security of the Euro-Mediterranean transport network.

Funding the network

The main problem is private investment. Public funding, including EU investment, will continue to play an important part in relation to infrastructure. In this respect, the communication recommends the use of public-private partnerships and suggests that an independent agency might be set up to promote the network and examine the financial arrangements of the major infrastructure projects.

Also, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have worked together to set up the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) within the EIB.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours [COM(2003) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Enhancing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on transport and energy [COM(2001) 126 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission. Developing the trans-European transport network: Innovative funding solutions. Interoperability of electronic toll collection systems [COM(2003) 132 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


BSE: state of play in March 2003

BSE: state of play in March 2003

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about BSE: state of play in March 2003


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

Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

BSE: state of play in March 2003

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a transmissible, neurodegenerative and fatal disease of the family of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) which affects the brains of cattle. Various hypotheses have been advanced to explain the emergence of the pathogenic agent, such as its spontaneous presence in cattle whose carcasses were subsequently introduced into the food chain or its entry into this chain via the intermediary of sheep carcasses affected by a similar disease, scrapie.

Diagnosed for the first time in the United Kingdom in 1986, the “mad cow disease” took on epidemic proportions and finally posed a genuine public health problem following the discovery of a possible link between BSE and its human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, first diagnosed in 1996. By 1 December 2003 a total of 151 confirmed or suspected cases were registered in the European Union, mainly among young people. Most of the cases occurred in the United Kingdom (143), some in France (6), Ireland (1) and Italy (1). Without doubt this disease has also severely undermined consumer confidence and revealed the limits of the Community legislative framework.

Since 1997 the European Commission has thus committed itself to completely overhauling food safety legislation. In particular, the Directorate-General “Health and Consumer Protection” has been responsible since September 1997 for measures designed to protect public health and to guarantee food safety.

The current context

Since the early 1990s Community policy in the field of veterinary monitoring has become increasingly vigilant following the appearance in the United Kingdom of the first cases of BSE. The European Commission has adopted a large number of emergency measures to prevent the spread of this disease in the other Member States. It has prohibited any exportation from the United Kingdom of cattle and beef products and required the systematic slaughtering of herds in which a case of BSE has been diagnosed. Since January 2001 the ban on using “animal meal” in animal feeding has been in force throughout the territory of the European Union.

Currently, despite the detection of new cases of disease as a result of systematic checks, the BSE crisis is clearly on the wane. The number of BSE cases detected (more than 182 000 cases since 1986 in the United Kingdom and more than 3 800 in other countries, including 13 Member States) is steadily decreasing, in particular thanks to the improvement of the situation in the United Kingdom. In some Member States this number has nevertheless increased because of the systematisation of detection tests since July 2001. Arguably, the discovery of a number of cases in countries which practise active monitoring is more reassuring than the absence of cases notified in countries in which monitoring is unsatisfactory. Besides, in October 2002 France became the last Member State to lift the ban on British beef, whose exportation has again been permitted since August 1999 in the framework of the DBES (Date Based Exportation System) established at the time.

In the framework of Community law, all the emergency measures adopted are now being replaced by basic legislation which reinforces the rules governing the prevention, control and eradication of all transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). This is the role of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 which, by defining clear and uniform rules governing the entire food chain, should enable professionals and consumers to look to the future in a more serene manner. It goes without saying that in the light of enlargement and the adoption of the Community acquis by the future Member States, this new Regulation will play a decisive role in the field of animal health.

Adopted in May 2001, Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 [Official Journal L 147 of 31.05.2001] of the European Parliament and of the Council now constitutes the fundamental legal basis for all legislative instruments relating to BSE. In compliance with the general principles of food safety it consolidates previously scattered legislation of an overly sectorial nature. The Regulation is based on the latest scientific opinions and the recommendations of competent international organisations (World Health Organisation, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, International Office for Epizootic Diseases). Due to the magnitude of the BSE crisis, the Regulation is based on Title 152 (“Public Health”) of the Treaty establishing the European Community. It lays down measures governing the prevention, control and eradication of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in bovine, ovine and caprine animals.

Notably the Regulation lays down:

  • the procedure, criteria and categories making it possible to define the BSE status of the Member States and third countries;
  • the nature and treatment of specified risk material (SRM);
  • the active monitoring system:
  • prohibitions concerning animal feeding.

Classification of Member States as regards BSE

At the Commission’s initiative, the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of the European Union has prepared a “geographic risk assessment” of the BSE situation in the EU Member States and in third countries. The method used to carry out this assessment, which has lasted more than two years, is based on the dossiers submitted by the countries concerned in response to a Commission Recommendation of 1998. This recommendation defines the information needed to carry out such an assessment. It notably concerns imports of live bovines and meat and bone meal from the United Kingdom and other BSE affected countries, the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal to ruminants, animal by-product rendering practices, the use of specified risk material (SRM) and the use of meat and bonemeal to feed ruminant animals.

The SSC has defined four categories on the basis of the geographic risk assessment :

  • Level I: countries in which BSE is highly unlikely;
  • Level II: countries in which BSE is unlikely but not excluded;
  • Level III: countries in which BSE is likely but not confirmed, or confirmed but at a low level;
  • Level IV: countries in which BSE has been confirmed at a large scale.

The SSC has evaluated or is still evaluating the status of third countries in respect of the geographical risk of BSE as though they were EU Member States. This geographical risk of BSE is the only determining factor which can specify the level of protection required. Up to now, the existence of BSE has been judged highly unlikely in the 17 following third countries: Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Iceland, Namibia, Nicaragua, the French overseas territory New Caledonia, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Salvador, Singapore, Swaziland, Uruguay, Vanuatu. Hence these countries have been exempted from restrictions. Currently, no EU Member States benefit from a similar status. Besides, the WHO rules are respected in the sense that the Union notifies its BSE measures to third countries.

Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, which entered into force on 1 July 2001, provides for the classification of the countries in five BSE risk categories in line with the code imposed by the OIE. Currently the Commission is preparing this classification, which involves two stages: an initial risk assessment taking into account specific predefined factors and a second assessment on the basis of additional criteria. Pending the determination of the BSE status, transitional measures apply. They are based on the classical geographical BSE risk assessment as undertaken by the Scientific Steering Committee.

Specified risk material (SRM)

Scientists very soon realised that certain tissues are very likely to carry the infectious agent and transmit BSE. By systematically eliminating them from the human and animal food chain, it seems that it is possible to reduce the risk of transmission appreciably.

As from April 1996, a group of experts set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that all animals, as well as products derived from them, which have shown signs of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy be excluded from the human and animal food chain. In the same year the Scientific Veterinary Committee (SVC) also recommended that, pursuant to the precautionary principle, these tissues or “specified risk material” (SRM) be systematically withdrawn and destroyed in order to eliminate any risk of recycling TSE agents.

SRM is currently the subject of transitional measures. These are applicable pending the adoption of a Community decision concerning the BSE classification of the country under consideration. Besides establishing procedures for eliminating specified risk material, Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 also defines their specific nature:

  • the skull excluding the mandible but including the brain and eyes, the vertebral column excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae and the wings of the sacrum, including dorsal root ganglia, and spinal cord of bovine animals aged over 12 months, and also the tonsils, the intestines from the duodenum to the rectum and the mesentery of bovine animals of all ages;
  • the skull including the brain and eyes, the tonsils, the spinal chord of ovine and caprine animals aged over 12 months or which have a permanent incisor erupted through the gum, and the spleen and ileum of ovine and caprine animals of all ages.

Besides the SRM referred to above, the following tissues from the United Kingdom and Portugal (with the exception of the Autonomous Region of the Azores) must be designated as such: the entire head, excluding the tongue, but including the brain, eyes and trigeminal ganglia; the thymus, spleen and spinal cord of bovine animals aged over six months.

A derogation is possible to allow the use of the vertebral column and dorsal root ganglia from bovine animals born, raised and slaughtered in Member States where a scientific assessment suggests that BSE is highly unlikely. The same applies to bovine animals from Member States which have declared cases of BSE born after the effective ban on the feeding of mammalian protein to ruminants. To benefit from this derogation, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Sweden must produce scientific evidence. The derogation is not applicable to bovine animals aged over 30 months from the United Kingdom or Portugal (with the exception of the Azores).

The bones of bovine, ovine and caprine animals must not be used for the production of mechanically recovered meat. Meat from the head and the vertebral column of bovine animals aged over 12 months and the tongue of bovine animals of all ages must be collected using specific methods.

Specified risk materials are removed in slaughterhouses, cutting establishments in the case of the vertebral column of bovine animals and, where appropriate, the approved establishments referred to in Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption. On removal, all SRM and by-products thereof must be stained with a dye or marker. They must be used and destroyed in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002. Member States must carry out frequent official checks to ensure that these provisions are being applied and that measures are adopted to avoid contamination all along the production line.

Active monitoring system

The BSE incubation period is approximately four to five years. During this period, bovine animals exposed to the causative agent do not present any symptoms. In order to monitor the trends of the epidemic, an active monitoring system is thus necessary. Hence the commission must approve and finance national monitoring programmes for TSEs and scrapie together with specific measures (purchase of screening kits, slaughtering, genotyping) in the Member States as well as Cyprus, Estonia, Malta and Slovenia.

Each Member State must carry out an annual programme for monitoring BSE and scrapie. Annex III sets out the monitoring system to be applied for these two diseases. Since January 2001, besides the compulsory controls of all the animals displaying signs compatible with a TSE, the rapid post mortem screening must be practised on:

  • all bovine animals aged over 24 months intended for human consumption and subjected to emergency slaughtering;
  • all bovine animals aged over 30 months, slaughtered in normal conditions for human consumption or as part of a BSE eradication campaign;
    Sweden may derogate from this rule by performing the tests only on a random sample of animals;
  • all bovine animals aged over 24 months not intended for human consumption, found dead, or slaughtered (but not in connection with an epidemic such as foot-and-mouth disease);
    Member States may derogate from these provisions in remote areas where the animal population density is low and there are no arrangements for the collection of dead animals. They must inform the Commission accordingly. The derogation may not be applied to more than 10% of the Member State’s bovine animal population;
  • all bovine animals which are emergency slaughtered or declared sick following ante mortem screening;
  • all bovine animals aged over 42 months, born after 1 August 1996;
  • a random sample comprising at least 10 000 bovine animals per year;
  • all ovine and caprine animals not intended for human consumption aged over 18 months or with more than two permanent incisors erupted through the gum, which have been found dead or have been slaughtered (though not as part of an eradication campaign);
    Member States must carry out screening tests based on a representative sample, giving priority to animals found dead on the farm;
  • since 1 October 2003, animals aged over 12 months with a permanent incisor erupted through the gum, on the basis of a representative sample;
  • all other animals;
    Member States may carry out monitoring programmes in respect of animals used for dairy production, animals derived from herds infected with TSE or derived from TSE infected females, animals which have consumed potentially contaminated feed.

The Member States must submit to the Commission an annual report notably containing information on the number of suspected cases by animal species which have been subjected to movement restrictions.

A total of over 8.5 million bovine animals were tested in 2001 and over 10 million in 2002. Currently the Commission is co-financing the test programme in the amount of 10.5 euros per test. Further information on the number of tests carried out and the number of detected cases can be found at the European Commission’s “Food Safety” site.

Prohibitions concerning animal feeding

Very soon after the emergence of BSE, British scientists suspected that the consumption by bovine animals of meat and bone meal was responsible for the spread of the epizootic. Since July 1998, the United Kingdom has banned the use of mammalian proteins in the feeding of ruminant animals. This prohibition entered into force in the European Union in June 1994, the date of adoption of the first Community decision in this connection [Decision 94/381/EC, repealed by Regulation (EC) No 1326/2001].

Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 lays down measures concerning animal feeding and upholds the ban on the use of animal proteins and feedingstuffs containing such proteins in the feeding of ruminants. Livestock, with the exception of fur-producing carnivores, must not be fed with processed animal protein, gelatine of ruminant origin, blood products, hydrolysed protein, dicalcium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate of animal origin.

These prohibitions do not apply to the use of the following feedingstuffs and proteins which, where appropriate, have been processed in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 on animal by-products not intended for human consumption:

  • in the feeding of non-ruminants: fishmeal, hydrolised proteins derived from non-ruminants and ruminant hides and skins, dicalcium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate;
  • in the feeding of ruminants: milk, milk-based products and colostrum, eggs and egg products, gelatine derived from non-ruminants;
  • in the feeding of fish: blood products and blood meal derived from non-ruminants.

Since 1 November 2003, Member States have been required to provide the other Member States and the Commission with an up-to-date list of slaughterhouses approved by the European Union which do not slaughter ruminants. They must also forward a list of establishments authorised to produce the feedingstuffs and proteins referred to above.

Exports to third countries of processed animal proteins from ruminants and of products containing such proteins must comply with the legislation in force in the Community territory. The third country of destination must provide a prior undertaking in writing to use and/or export products taking account of the intended final use. The Member State authorising the export must inform the other Member States and the Commission.

The legislation on animal waste enhances the effectiveness of the ban on “animal meal”. In this connection, Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 [Official Journal L 273 of 10.10.2002] on animal by-products not intended for human consumption entered into force in May 2003. It lays down strict control measures concerning the collection, transport, storage, processing and use or disposal of 16 million tons of material unsuitable for consumption produced each year. It also prohibits intra-species recycling in order to exclude cannibalism.

Research and development on BSE

The European Commission has been financing research on TSEs since 1990. This research activity was rapidly expanded following the announcement by the UK Government in March 1996 that 10 cases of new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease might be linked to exposure to BSE.

In April 1996, the Commission invited Professor Charles Weissmann to chair the group responsible for drawing up an inventory of existing knowledge in this area and to suggest priorities for research. Published in October of the same year, Professor Weissmann’s report was the basis for a communication from the Commission to the Council [COM(96)582 final] proposing a TSE plan of action. This plan of action also took into account the recommendations of the Multidisciplinary Scientific Committee and ongoing research at national and Community level. It included two levels:

  • the coordination of activities between the Member States, with a view to harmonising data collection and diagnostic criteria;
  • a specific call for proposals intended to stimulate research at Community level.

The first of the three calls for proposals in the framework of this initiative was launched in December 1996, the last in March 1998. A total of 54 projects have been approved and have received EUR 50.7 million altogether in the framework of the BIOMED, BIOTECH and FAIR programmes. Hence the plan of action made it possible to rally experts in numerous scientific disciplines and from more than 120 laboratories in all the Member States and associated countries.

In November 2000, the Research Council requested the Commission to establish a TSE Expert Group with a mandate to examine the state of TSE research, encourage the exchange of scientific information between research teams, identify ongoing research activities which need to be strengthened, as well as new research activities which need to be launched. The Group is composed of representatives nominated from the Member States, Associated Countries, some members of the TSE/BSE ad hoc group of the Scientific Steering Committee and some co-ordinators of EU research projects. In April 2002, with an eye to enlargement, it was expanded to include members from Central and Eastern European States.

The plan of action [COM(96) 582 final] notably included the objective to expand and regularly update the inventory of TSE research activities in Member States. The Commission has published a specific communication relating to this [COM(2001) 323 final].

In April 2001 an analysis of the most recent version of the Weissmann report resulted in the launch of a specific call for TSE proposals, intended to fill the gaps in the European TSE research effort. A total of 15 new TSE projects were commissioned from this call with support totalling EUR 21 million. All in all, the fifth framework programme for research and development (1998-2002) will have supported 26 projects to a tune of almost 30 million euros: 11 research projects financed following general calls for proposals and 15 on the basis of the specific call for proposals of 2001.

The sixth framework programme for research and development (2002-2006) includes priorities for actions concerning “Food quality and risks to health” and has a budget of 685 million euros allocated to this. The transversal objective is to establish the scientific and technological bases needed to produce and distribute safer, healthier and varied food. It is this strand which will participate in financing research into TSEs.

International dimension and enlargement

In the accession negotiations all candidate countries have committed themselves to fully comply with the Community rules on combating BSE. They have made substantial progress: all of them are already removing the specified risk materials from the food chain and majority of them are testing all healthy cattle aged over 30 months. In 2003, 40% of the veterinary inspections of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) will take place in future Member States with a view to verifying the measures taken with regard to food safety, including those designed to combat BSE. In addition, the Commission cofinances screening kits and provides its technical assistance in the framework of the Phare programme.

At international level the European Union has developed close cooperation with the following international organisations: the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Office on Epizootic Diseases (OIE).

Since 1991 the WHO has organised 11 scientific consultations on issues concerning human and animal TSEs. The group of independent specialists set up by the WHO continues to update knowledge on the basis of new scientific information. A neutral forum has been set up to examine, evaluate and discuss scientific questions concerning TSEs. The WHO encourages research in this field by publishing a list of 11 priority areas, notably on early diagnosis and epidemiology. Finally, it promotes systematic monitoring of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and its variants in order to get a clearer picture of its geographical breakdown throughout the world. Consult the BSE section at the WHO site.

A BSE consultative committee was set up at the FAO in 1990. In cooperation with the WHO and the OIE it regularly convenes scientific experts who review research developments in this area. Consult the ” animal health section ” at the FAO site.

Based in Paris, the International Office on Epizootic Diseases (OIE) has been the international organisation on animal health since 1924. It aims to ensure transparency as regards the animal diseases situation throughout the world, notably BSE. It collects, analyses and disseminates scientific veterinary information and provides its international expertise with a view to combating animal diseases. It guarantees the food safety of world trade by drafting health rules on the international trade of animals and their products. Consult the BSE heading at the OIE site.

External aspects of enterprise policy

External aspects of enterprise policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about External aspects of enterprise policy


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

Enterprise > International dimension and enlargement

External aspects of enterprise policy

In order to boost the competitiveness of European businesses, a number of international parameters are essential. Commercial policy, for instance, helps to build a competitive Europe in a globalised economy. Furthermore, the purpose of establishing a stronger partnership for better market access to external markets is to develop trade. Lastly, cooperation in the field of industrial policy gives European businesses the chance to found partnerships or develop beyond the borders of the European Union.

The EU cooperates with its main partners in the world in a number of ways. Firstly, the Commission maintains close links with the governments of third countries. Secondly, businesses themselves have the opportunity to meet at forums and round tables. Lastly, the EU supports industrial cooperation through programmes implemented jointly with third countries.

Intergovernmental relations

The EU engages in bilateral cooperation with third countries. This cooperation takes the form of mutual recognition agreements, association agreements, framework partnership agreements or stability pacts.

The removal of obstacles to business development by means of a less restrictive regulatory policy constitutes one of the EU’s main concerns. For instance, on the basis of Article 133 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), mutual recognition agreements on standards provide for mutual acceptance between governments of test reports, certificates and conformity marks applied by the relevant agencies to certain products manufactured in a specific country.

The EU maintains close relations with the United States, Canada, China, Russia, India and Japan. For example, it has entered into dialogue on regulatory cooperation and also on industrial policy with China.

It also cooperates regularly with the candidate accession countries, the countries of the Western Balkans and the countries neighbouring the EU (in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy), such as the countries of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is organised under this neighbourhood policy and also through the Barcelona Process, launched in 1995 with the aim of bringing Europe politically, culturally and economically closer to its Mediterranean partners. Industrial cooperation is seen as an important link in the chain of economic cooperation and is promoted through the progressive establishment of free trade areas and increased investment. It attracts attention through conferences held between Ministers of Industry or working group meetings on subjects relating to industrial policy. One of the main achievements of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership was the adoption of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise on 4 October 2004.

On 23 and 24 April 2007, the General Affairs and External Relations Council approved plans to negotiate association agreements with Central America, the Andean Community and its member countries, as well as draft free trade agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India and South Korea.

Cooperation between businesses

Round tables and commercial dialogue give businesses the opportunity to meet and convey recommendations to the governments of the Member States and countries concerned. Round tables often involve representatives of the industrial sector and also of the national and EU administrations. Among the suggestions frequently made to governments are recommendations on commercial policy, discussions in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), investments, financial services, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the removal of obstacles to economic activities caused by divergent national legislation.

The main round tables concern:

  • TransAtlantic Business Dialogue;
  • the Asia-Europe Business Forum;
  • the EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table;
  • the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table;
  • the Mercosur-EU Business Forum;
  • EU-India business dialogue.

Industrial cooperation programmes

The EU encourages industrial cooperation through the implementation of programmes which support the creation and expansion of businesses, partnerships between European businesses and foreign businesses, particularly SMEs, and programmes offering business traineeships for students.

The main programmes supported by the EU include:

  • the AL-Invest Programme;
  • the Asia-Invest Community Programme;
  • the programmes developed by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation;
  • the regional technical assistance programmes in the context of Euro-Mediterranean industrial cooperation (industrial areas, promotion of investment, innovation and technology, etc.);
  • the projects supported by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise.

International dimension and enlargement

International dimension and enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about International dimension and enlargement


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

International dimension and enlargement

European Union transport policy is not limited to the Union’s borders. It is the subject of a number of agreements with third countries aimed at converging technical standards and transferring technologies within the framework of cooperation agreements, specifically the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement. In addition, candidate countries for accession to the Union must adopt and apply European transport legislation. The progress of reforms in each country is regularly monitored and assessed as part of the accession process. The Union also negotiates agreements with third countries on market access for transport companies, particularly airlines.


  • The EU and its neighbouring regions: A renewed approach to transport cooperation
  • Africa and Europe: strengthening transport cooperation
  • International transport agreements: TRACECA, SEETO and NDPTL
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • Development of a Euro-Mediterranean transport network
  • Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation
  • Developing the agenda for the Community’s external aviation policy
  • Air service agreements between Member States and third countries
  • ‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States
  • The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention


Ongoing enlargement

  • Croatia – Transport
  • Turkey – Transport
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Transport
  • Iceland – Transport

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Enlargement of May 2004

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

'Open Skies' agreement between Europe and the United States

‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States


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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States

Document or Iniciative

Decision 2007/339/EC of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union meeting within the Council, of 25 April 2007, on the signature and provisional application of the Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other hand.


With the new agreement, airlines in the Union can:

  • operate flights to the United States from any European airport, regardless of their nationality (the United States recognise them as European);
  • operate without restrictions on the number of flights, aircraft or routes;
  • set prices in line with the market;
  • conclude cooperation agreements.

Companies in certain Non-EU Member Countries (countries in Europe that don’t belong to the EU, plus 18 African countries) may also receive Community investment without this affecting their traffic rights to the United States. Similarly, the United States will not call into question the flights of Community airlines if non-EU European countries have invested in their capital.

The agreement also strengthens cooperation between the two parties on safety, security, competition policy, State Aid, consumer protection and the environment.

On the subject of airline ownership, Europeans will be able to hold more than a 50 % share in American carriers, but not to gain overall control: under American law, a foreigner may not hold 25 % voting shares in an American company and may not control it. The EU side therefore reserved a right to restrict American investment in European companies to the same level.

Towards new negotiations

The negotiations also led to the establishing of a mechanism for opening up transatlantic air travel even further by doing away with the restrictions still in place, particularly as regards ownership of American airlines. The agreement thus calls for negotiations to be resumed in the two months following its entry into force. Moreover, the EU reserves the right to suspend certain parties from the agreement if the dialogue prevents further progress in the next three years. The aim of the Council of Ministers is therefore to achieve the complete liberalisation of air transport.


Air transport to the United States was until now governed by bilateral agreements between Member States and the American authorities. Sixteen Member States already had ‘open skies’ agreements in place. Yet this fragmented approach proved to be an obstacle as it prevented completion of a genuine single market.

On 5 November 2002, the Court of Justice made a number of judgments in cases referred to it by the Commission (C-466-469/98, C-467/98, C468/98, C-469/98, C-472/98, C-475/98 and C-476/98) which put an end to these agreements and contributed to this being recognised as a matter to be handled at Community level.

As a result, the Commission received a mandate to negotiate an air agreement with the United States that applied for the Community as a whole. After four years of discussions, the negotiators came to an agreement on 2 March 2007. At the request of the United Kingdom, entry into force was put back to 30 March 2008.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/339/EC 30.3.2008 L 134 of 25.5.2007

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating hunger: strategy for food security


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

Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 January 2006 – A thematic strategy for food security: Advancing the food security agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals [COM(2006) 21 final – not published in the Official Journal].


Among the thematic programmes forming part of the Community’s external action, the Commission has drawn up a programme on food security. Its legal bases are the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Action on food insecurity is enshrined in the first Millennium Development Goal and, despite progress in reducing hunger at global level, much still needs to be done. Food insecurity is typically exacerbated by environmental degradation, poor productive systems, badly functioning markets and limited human capacity and is compounded by inequalities, with social entitlements to food affected by gender, age and ethnicity.

Food insecurity is particularly rife in a number of States which are vulnerable institutionally and where food security goals are difficult to attain because of political instability.

Policy guidelines for combating hunger

since its inception. It now consists of support for broad-based food security strategies at the national, regional and global level rather than the mere delivery of food aid. Food security remains a priority in European development policy, as stated in the European Consensus.

Community policy stresses the central role of nationally developed strategies to achieve long-term food security and the need to target hunger as the first priority in the fight against poverty.

In 2004, an external evaluation confirmed the validity of the strategy adopted and concluded that food security can be achieved only by simultaneously addressing the availability of food, access to food, the quality of nutrition and the prevention of food crises. It also stressed the added value of Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD).

The evaluation identified the following areas for possible improvement:

  • a more systemic approach to LRRD in order to respond more effectively to the dynamic and multidimensional nature of food insecurity;
  • better integration of food security as a priority area in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers;
  • greater dialogue between governments in order to establish a long-term policy on food security;
  • greater coherence of policies at national level.

Why use a thematic approach?

The thematic programme can support the development of national food security policies and monitoring systems in order to ensure that a strategic approach to food security is enshrined in national poverty reduction strategies. Geographical programmes are the standard instrument for implementing the Community’s food security policy world-wide, in cooperation with governments where the operational framework permits.

When emergency aid comes to an end, a transition from humanitarian assistance to this type of thematic programme is warranted in the following circumstances:

  • where it is difficult to agree on food security measures with partner governments due to food insecurity being concentrated either in areas out of State control, or among internally displaced people;
  • if cooperation has been suspended or no cooperation framework is in place;
  • “forgotten crises” in which cooperation with national governments may be difficult to establish through geographical instruments.


The thematic programme aims to:

  • support the delivery of international public goods * contributing directly to food security;
  • address food insecurity in the most vulnerable countries or regions;
  • develop innovative policies and strategies in the field of food security.

Its coverage varies according to the different components:

  • the first component focuses generally on the continental, inter-regional and regional levels, with special emphasis on Africa;
  • the second component is implemented primarily at national and local level, supplementing the geographical instrument where necessary;
  • the third component supports innovative policies, strategies and approaches, irrespective of geographical level.

Programming is based on the following principles:

  • respect for the principle of subsidiarity; it will therefore exclude long-term structural aid funded through the geographical programmes and may support innovative regional, national and local projects of a pilot nature;
  • sufficient flexibility to respond to a rapidly changing environment;
  • support for ownership of the programme by beneficiaries and for the role of all regional and continental organisations acting in the field of food security;
  • fostering a participatory approach by reinforcing partnership with civil society organisations, particularly with farmers’ organisations in order to reinforce their role in national and regional discussions regarding agricultural policies and food security;
  • promotion of coherence with other international actors with food security expertise, in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (pdf ) as well as between Commission departments;
  • priority for the most vulnerable areas and groups in terms of food security;
  • ensuring the sustainability of the measures taken.

Implementation of the programme is based on multiannual programming and on a thematic strategy paper covering the period 2007-2011. It will be evaluated during the first three-year period (2007-2009) in order to help prepare the second thematic strategy paper (2011-2013).

The strategic priorities of the programme are:

  • support for the development of international public goods *, that is research and technological innovation in agriculture that are favourable to the poor and based on demand;
  • support for global programmes that aim to develop common approaches across regions affected by food security;
  • support for food security in exceptional situations of transition and state fragility;
  • support for the development, testing and promotion of innovative strategic policies.

The primary beneficiaries of the programme are the following groups: children under the age of five; communities with members suffering from HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses; war-affected communities and groups and internally displaced people; women; pastoralists, small farmers and fisher folk; landless and farm labourers and the urban ultra-poor.

Key terms in the act
  • International public goods: issues that are important for the international community, which cannot be dealt with by one sole country and which are consequently tackled in a collective way on a multilateral basis, both by developed and developing countries.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2005/769/EC of 27 October 2005 laying down rules for the procurement of food aid by NGOs authorised by the Commission to purchase and mobilise products to be supplied under Council regulation (EC) No 1292/96, and repealing its decision of 3 September 1998 [Official Journal L 291, 05.11.2005].

Modified by: Commission Decision 2006/541/EC [Official Journal L 214, 04.08.2006].

This decision defines the rules that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) benefitting from Community aid must respect in buying products to be supplied as Community food aid.

Council Decision 2000/421/EC of 13 June 2000 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Food Aid Convention 1999 [Official Journal L 163, 04.07.2000].

of 27 June 1996 on food-aid policy and food-aid management and special operations in support of food security [Official Journal L 166, 05.07.1996].