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New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

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

Budget

New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective (2000-2006)

The purpose of the agreement is to implement, on a multiannual basis, budgetary discipline at Community level. It seeks to improve the functioning of the annual budgetary procedure and cooperation between the institutions on budgetary matters.

Document or Iniciative

Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure.

This Agreement repeals and replaces the following measures:

Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 30 June 1982 [Official Journal C 194 of 28.07.1982];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 29 October 1993 [Official Journal C 331 of 07.12.1993];
Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 6 March 1995 [Official Journal C 102 of 04.04.1996];
Joint Declaration of 12 December 1996 [Official Journal C 20 of 20.01.1997];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 July 1997 [Official Journal C 286 of 22.09.1997];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 October 1998 [Official Journal C 344 of 12.11.1998].

Decision 2003/429/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 19 May on the adjustment of the financial perspective for enlargement.

Summary

Since 1988 Community expenditure and the annual budgetary procedure have been based on interinstitutional agreements on budgetary discipline and the improvement of the budgetary procedure.

These agreements, which cover several years and have been adopted jointly by Parliament, the Council and the Commission, have been traditionally divided into two types of provision:

  • the financial perspective, which sets the budgetary ceilings for the major categories of Union expenditure in order to keep expenditure within the limits of the own resources available (“budgetary discipline”);
  • arrangements between the institutions to improve the annual budgetary procedure (“functioning of the budgetary procedure”).

Under Agenda 2000, and with a view to the expiry of the financial perspective (1993-99), a new interinstitutional agreement has been adopted for the period 2000-2006. This agreement, which is the core of the Agenda 2000 financial package, should enable the Union to expand and strengthen its policies while remaining within a rigorous financial framework.

Financial perspective

The first part of the agreement consists of the financial perspective and its implementing details.

The 2000 to 2006 financial perspective establishes, for each of the years covered and for each heading and subheading, the amounts of expenditure in terms of appropriations for commitments. Overall annual totals of expenditure are also shown in terms of both appropriations for commitments and appropriations for payments.
The institutions undertake to comply with the various annual expenditure ceilings during each budgetary procedure and when implementing the budget for the year concerned.

The ceilings in the financial perspective were set initially in 1999. They were adapted for enlargement of the Union to include ten new Member States (Europe 25) in 2003.

The new perspective contains eight main headings (agriculture, structural operations, internal policies, external action, administration, reserves, pre-accession strategy, compensations), divided in some cases into subheadings. Ceilings are expressed in 1999 prices.

Agriculture and structural operations (headings 1 and 2) account for the bulk of expenditure under the financial perspective.
The reform of the common agricultural policy under Agenda 2000 will require an initial increase in agricultural expenditure (from EUR 40.92 billion in 2000 to EUR 45.8 billion in 2006), following the adaptation of the financial perspective for Europe 25, which has raised the amounts for this heading provided for in 1999. Approximately one tenth of the agricultural expenditure will be used for rural development.
Enlargement also has a highly visible impact on expenditure for structural operations, which the 2003 decision raises from the initial 1999 amounts to EUR 37.94 billion in 2006.
Given the importance of some of the Union’s internal policies (trans-European networks, research and innovation, education and training, measures in support of small and medium-sized enterprises) heading 3 of the financial perspective will have its financial allocation increased from EUR 5.93 billion in 2000 to EUR 8.21 billion in 2006.
The same applies to external action (from EUR 4.55 billion to EUR 4.61 billion) and administrative expenditure (from EUR 4.56 billion to EUR 5.71 billion).
With regard to the reserves, the monetary reserve was abolished in 2003, as provided in 2006. The emergency aid reserve and the loan guarantee reserve will remain at a steady level (EUR 200 billion in both cases) throughout the period 2000-2006.
The seventh heading, “Pre-accession strategy“, is allocated EUR 3.12 billion per year.

Heading 8, “Compensations”, covers transitional budgetary compensations for the ten new Member States decided on at the Copenhagen European Council on 12 and 13 December 2002.

The table below traces the development of the headings of the financial perspective for 2004-2006 following adaptation to Europe 25, in million euros at 1999 prices.

2004 2005 2006
1) Agriculture 42760 – 44657 41930 – 45677 41660 – 45807
2) Structural operations 29595 – 35665 29595 – 36502 29170 – 37940
3) Internal policies 6370 – 7877 6480 – 8098 6600 – 8212
4) External action 4590 4600 4610
5 Administration 4900 – 5403 5000 – 5558 5100 – 5712
6) Reserves 400 400 400
7) Pre-accession strategy 3120 3120 3120
8) Compensations 0 – 1273 0 – 1173 0 – 940

This adaptation of the financial perspective also includes the figures emerging from the technical adjustment for 2004 to trends in gross national income (GNI) and prices. The following are the figures at 2004 prices:

2004 2005 2006
1) Agriculture 49305 50431 50575
2) Structural operations 41035 41685 42932
3) Internal policies 8722 8967 9093
4) External action 5082 5093 5104
5 Administration 5983 6154 6325
6) Reserves 442 442 442
7) Pre-accession strategy 3455 3455 3455
8) Compensations 1410 1299 1041

In accordance with the recommendations made in the Commission report, the interinstitutional agreement also provides for various mechanisms enabling the financial perspective to be adjusted along the way, thereby increasing its flexibility.

As before, the agreement, in addition to the annual technical adjustment to movements in prices and GNI, makes provisions for a revision of the ceilings in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
These revisions will be adopted by joint decision of the Council (acting on a qualified majority in the case of revisions of less than 0.03% of Community GNP and unanimously in other cases) and Parliament (acting by a majority of its members and 3/5 of the votes) on a proposal from the Commission.

Revision may take the form of a reallocation of appropriations between different headings or subheadings of the financial perspective. Amounts available under headings 1 to 6 cannot at any time be used for heading 7 (pre-accession strategy) of the financial perspective. Expenditure provided for the Union of Fifteen and that for enlargement are thus kept rigorously separate.
The interinstitutional agreement specifies that any revision of the compulsory expenditure may not lead to a reduction of the amount available for non-compulsory expenditure.

The three reserves appearing in heading 6 of the financial perspective make for flexibility in the management of the Union’s finances. They are the monetary reserve (to cover the impact of unforeseen movements in the euro/dollar parity on agricultural expenditure, abolished in 2003), the loan guarantee reserve for non-member countries (to provision the Guarantee Fund) and the emergency aid reserve (to meet specific and unforeseen aid requirements of non-member countries).

In addition, a general flexibility instrument with an annual ceiling of EUR 200 million is intended to cover specific expenditure which cannot be financed within the limits of the ceilings set. The unused part of the instrument may be carried over to the following two years’ budgets. A decision to use this instrument is taken during the budgetary procedure by joint agreement between Parliament and the Council, on a proposal from the Commission. It must as a rule avoid being used to cover the same needs two years running. This instrument was drawn on fully in December 1999 in respect of the 2000 budget in order to finance the reconstruction of Kosovo following an examination of all the possibilities for reallocating appropriations (Parliament and Council Decision of 16 December 1999, to reallocate appropriations in order to finance the reconstruction of Kosovo, Official Journal C 41 of 14.02.2000).

The Interinstitutional Agreement provides for two types of procedure to meet requirements which exceed the ceiling of a heading in the financial perspective: the flexibility instrument and revision of the financial perspective. The order in which the various financing sources are to be mobilised is as follows:

(1) reallocate appropriations within the heading in question;

(2) if that is not enough, mobilise all or part of the flexibility instrument subject to the conditions governing its use;

(3) if that is not enough or if the criteria for using the flexibility instrument are not met, revise the financial perspective, raising the ceiling of the heading in question and offsetting this by lowering the ceiling of another heading;

(4) if that cannot be done, increase the ceiling of the heading in question with no offsetting compensation, provided the overall own resources ceiling is not exceeded.

Improvement of the budgetary procedure

The second part of the agreement lays down the rules designed to improve the functioning of the annual budgetary procedure.
These rules relate to interinstitutional cooperation in general and to more specific problems (classification of expenditure, the matter of legal bases, incorporation of financial provisions in legislative acts, etc.) which had not been resolved by the 1993 agreement or which were dealt with under other arrangements (agreements or joint declarations) agreed between the institutions.

The agreement strengthens interinstitutional collaboration.
Trialogue meetings (between the President of the Council (Budget), the Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and the Member of the Commission with responsibility for the budget), generally followed by conciliation between the Council and a delegation from Parliament with the Commission as a participant, are planned in accordance with the following schedule:

  • before the establishment of the preliminary draft budget by the Commission;
  • before the establishment of the draft budget by the Council;
  • before the first reading by Parliament;
  • after the first reading by Parliament;
  • the day preceding the second reading in the Council.

The conciliation procedure, which has to date been limited to non-compulsory expenditure, is extended to include all expenditure and the classification of expenditure as compulsory or non-compulsory expenditure.
This is facilitated by the inclusion in the Agreement of a definition of “compulsory expenditure” and a list classifying each heading or subheading of the financial perspective.

With regard to the incorporation of financial provisions in legislative acts, the agreement makes a distinction between acts concerning multiannual programmes adopted under the co-decision procedure and other legislative acts.
Only the first category of acts can contain financial provisions (financial allocation to the programme for its entire duration) which are binding on the institutions during the budgetary procedure.
If financial provisions are incorporated in other kinds of acts, they serve only as an illustration.

The agreement also clarifies to what extent the utilisation of appropriations entered in the budget require the prior adoption of a basic act. Only four categories of appropriations are exempt from the general requirement of a legal basis:

  • appropriations for pilot schemes of an experimental nature: these appropriations may be entered in the budget for no more than two financial years and may not exceed EUR 32 million.
  • appropriations relating to preparatory acts intended to prepare legislative proposals: these proposals may not be entered for more than three years and may not exceed EUR 30 million per year and EUR 75 million in all;
  • appropriations concerning actions carried out by the Commission by virtue of tasks resulting from its prerogatives at institutional level or specific powers conferred upon it by the EC Treaty (studies and opinions relating to social policy, initiatives to boost coordination with regard to trans-European networks, etc.);
  • appropriations intended for the operation of each institution under its administrative autonomy.

The Interinstitutional Agreement also contains provisions making it possible to distribute expenditure relating to fisheries agreements between the budget headings concerned and the reserve on the basis of the date of entry into force of the agreements during the budgetary procedure. All expenditure relating to new or renewable agreements which enter into force after 1 January of the year in question is placed in the reserve until the time comes to transfer it to the corresponding budget heading.

With regard to the operational expenditure of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), the institutions will endeavour to secure each year, by means of the conciliation procedure, agreement on the amount to be charged to the Community budget and on the distribution of this amount between the articles of the CFSP budget chapter (observation and organisation of elections, prevention of conflicts, financial aid to the enlargement process, urgent actions, etc.). The amount allocated to urgent actions may not exceed 20% of the overall amount of the CFSP budget chapter.
Whenever it adopts a decision in the field of CFSP entailing expenditure, the Council will immediately send the European Parliament an estimate of the costs envisaged.
The Commission will inform the budgetary authority about the implementation of CFSP actions and the financial forecasts for the remaining period of the year.

Several declarations are attached to the agreement.
The following should be mentioned, among others, the Declaration on the agricultural guideline (which confirms the principles and mechanisms) and the Declaration on the Balkan situation (which points to a possible revision of the financial perspective in order to cover additional expenditure).

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 01.01.2000 OJ C 172 of 18.06.1999
Decision 2003/429/EC 19.05.2003 OJ L 147 of 14.06.2003

Related Acts

of 10 February 2004, Building our common Future – Policy challenges and Budgetary means of the Enlarged Union, 2007-2013 [COM(2004) 101 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Notification of diseases

Notification of diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Notification of diseases

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Food safety > Animal health

Notification of diseases

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 82/894/EEC of 21 December 1982 on the notification of animal diseases within the Community [See amending acts]

Summary

The Directive makes it obligatory for Member States to notify the Commission of an outbreak * as well as its eradication for certain contagious diseases so as to prevent their spread in Community livestock.

The Member States must notify:

  • the Commission and the other Member States within twenty four hours of both the primary outbreak and the withdrawal of the restrictions imposed after the eradication of the last outbreak and;
  • the Commission of any secondary outbreaks on the first working day of each week.

Close cooperation between the Member States is provided for so that the notification can be adjusted in line with technical requirements.

The Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

Key terms of the Act
  • Outbreak: the farm or the place, located on Community territory, where animals are kept together and where one or several cases have been officially confirmed.
  • Primary outbreak: any outbreak not epizootiologically linked with a previous outbreak in the same region of a Member State, or the first outbreak in a different region of the same Member State.

References

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

Directive 82/894/EEC

23.12.1982

01.01.1984

OJ L 378 of 31.12.1982

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

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003

05.06.2003

OJ L 122 of 16.05.2003

Subsequent amendments and corrections to Directive 82/894/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  has a purely documentary value”.

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

ANNEX I – Diseases which are subject to notification:
Decision 2004/216/EC [Official Journal L 67 of 5.3.2004];
Decision 2008/650/EC [Official Journal L 213 of 8.8.2008].

ANNEX II – Information to be given under the notification
Decision 2004/216/EC [Official Journal L 67 of 5.3.2004];
Decision 2008/650/EC [Official Journal L 213 of 8.8.2008].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2007/142/EC of 28 February 2007 establishing a Community Veterinary Emergency Team to assist the Commission in supporting Member States and third countries in veterinary matters relating to certain animal diseases [Official Journal L 62 of 1.3.2007].

Commission Decision 2005/176/EC of 1 March 2005 laying down the codified form and the codes for the notification of animal diseases pursuant to Council Directive 82/894/EEC [Official Journal L 59 of 5.3.2005].

Amended by:

Decision 2006/924/EC [Official Journal L 354 of 14.12.2006];
Decision 2008/755/EC [Official Journal L 258 of 26.9.2008];
Decision 2009/847/EC [Official Journal L 307 of 21.11.2009];
Decision 2010/160/EU [Official Journal L 68 of 18.3.2010].

National parliaments

National parliaments

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about National parliaments

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Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Amsterdam treaty: a comprehensive guide

National parliaments

Since 1989 members of the national parliaments and the European Parliament have been meeting at six-monthly intervals within the Conference of European Affairs Committees (COSAC), essentially for the purpose of exchanging information.

When the Treaty of Maastricht came into force, the powers of the European institutions were extended to areas such as justice and home affairs, which had traditionally been national preserves. It was therefore important that the national parliaments should be kept informed, as fully and as rapidly as possible, so that they (and through them the citizens of the European Union) could be more closely involved in the Community’s decision-making process and exercise better control over their country’s representatives within the Council.

Given the diversity of their national traditions, the Member States recognised the need to lay down common principles on information for and contributions from the national parliaments. For this reason, a Protocol on the role of national parliaments has been annexed to the founding Treaties.

Parliamentary scrutiny of individual national governments depends on the constitutional practice followed by each Member State. It was considered important, however, to encourage greater involvement of national parliaments in the activities of the European Union and to enhance their ability to express their views on matters which might be of particular interest to them.

PROVISION OF INFORMATION TO THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS OF THE MEMBER STATES

The following documents must be promptly forwarded to national parliaments:

  • white papers;
  • green papers;
  • communications;
  • proposals for legislation.

The procedure for adopting legislative acts or measures under Title VI of the EU Treaty (police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) requires there to be at least six weeks between the date when the Commission sends its proposal to the European Parliament and the Council and the date when it is placed on the Council agenda. This gives national parliaments sufficient time to discuss the proposal, if necessary, with their respective governments.

THE CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEES (COSAC)

The new Protocol acknowledges the valuable role played by COSAC. The committee can send the EU institutions any contribution it thinks appropriate, especially concerning proposed acts which representatives of the national governments may jointly decide to forward to it in view of the subject matter involved.

Above all, COSAC can examine any legislative proposal concerning the area of freedom, security and justice that might have a direct bearing on the rights and freedoms of individuals. Its observations are forwarded to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

COSAC can also address to the three institutions “any contribution which it deems appropriate on the legislative activities of the Union, notably in relation to the application of the principle of subsidiarity, the area of freedom, security and justice as well as questions regarding fundamental rights”.

The national parliaments will thus be able to play a larger role in the decision-making process and contribute more to the drafting of EU legislation.

National emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

National emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about National emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

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

Environment > Air pollution

National emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive has been adopted in line with the 1997 communication concerning the strategy to combat acidification, which sought to establish, for the first time, national emission ceilings for certain pollutants.

Scope

This Directive covers emissions in the territory of the Member States and their exclusive economic zones from four pollutants which arise as a result of human activities:

  • emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2),
  • emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx),
  • emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), and
  • emissions of ammonia (NH3).

These pollutants are responsible for the phenomena of acidification, eutrophication and tropospheric ozone formation (also called “bad ozone”, present at low altitude, as opposed to stratospheric ozone), irrespective of the sources of pollution.

National emission ceilings

This Directive provides for the introduction of national emission ceilings by the end of 2010 at the latest. These ceilings are laid down in Annex I to the Directive.

Interim environmental objectives

The purpose of the emission ceilings is broadly to meet the following interim environmental objectives:

  • the areas with critical loads of acid depositions will be reduced by at least 50% compared with 1990;
  • ground-level ozone loads above the critical level for human health will be reduced by two-thirds compared with the 1990 situation. An absolute limit is also set. The guide value set by the World Health Organisation may not be exceeded on more than 20 days a year;
  • ground-level ozone loads above the critical level for crops and semi-natural vegetation will be reduced by one-third compared with 1990. An absolute limit is also set.

National programmes

Member States are required to draw up programmes, by 1 October 2002, for the progressive reduction of their annual national emissions. The programmes must be updated and revised as necessary in 2006. They must be made available to the public and to appropriate organisations and submitted to the Commission.

Emission inventories

Moreover, Member States must prepare and annually update national emission inventories and emission projections for SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3. These inventories and projections must be reported to the Commission and the European Environment Agency each year by 31 December at the latest.

Reports

The Commission must report (in 2004, 2008 and 2012) to the European Parliament and the Council on progress on the implementation of the ceilings and towards attaining the interim environmental objectives and the long-term objectives set by the Directive. These reports must contain an economic assessment of the implementation of the national emission ceilings, including cost-effectiveness, costs and benefits, impact on competitiveness and socio-economic impact in each Member State.

The Commission will report to the Council and the European Parliament on the extent to which emissions from international maritime traffic and aircraft contribute to acidification, eutrophication and the formation of ground-level ozone within the Community. It will also specify the action which could be taken to reduce emissions from these sectors.

Cooperation with third countries

Member States and the Commission shall cooperate with third countries and the international organisations concerned with the aim of exchanging information and making progress in research aiming to reduce emissions of SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3.

References

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

Directive 2001/81/EC

27.11.2001

27.11.2002

Official Journal 309 of 27.11.2001

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

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009

20.4.2009

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Related Acts

Council Decision 2003/507/EC of 13 June 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone.

This Protocol seeks to cut emissions of sulphur, NOx, NH3 and VOC caused by human activity and capable of damaging human health and the environment through processes of acidification, eutrophication and tropospheric ozone formation resulting from long-range transboundary transport.

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

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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.

Summary

Context

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

Armenia
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.

Kazakhstan
T
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.

Ukraine

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.

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

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

Topics

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

Food safety > Veterinary checks animal health rules food hygiene

Non-commercial movements of pet animals

Document or Iniciative

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

Summary

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

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

Animals concerned

This Regulation deals with:

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

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

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

Identification of animals

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

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

Movements of pet animals between Member States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movements of pet animals from third countries

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

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

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

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

Penalties

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

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

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 998/2003

3.7.2003

JO L 146, 13.6.2003

DEROGATION FROM THE ACT

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

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

Decision 2004/650/EC

21.9.2004

JO L 298, 23.9.2004

Regulation (EC) No 454/2008

24.6.2008

OJ L 145 of 4.6.2008

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009

20.4.2009

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Regulation (EU) No 438/2010

18.6.2010

OJ L 132 of 29.5.2010

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

Related Acts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Document or Iniciative

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

Summary

The network for epidemiological surveillance and control concerns the following communicable diseases:

  • diseases preventable by vaccination;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • viral hepatitis;
  • food-borne diseases;
  • water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin;
  • nosocomial infections;
  • other diseases transmitted by non-conventional agents;
  • communicable diseases which may lead to emergencies of international concern, as described in Annex 2 of the International Health Regulations;
  • vector-borne diseases;
  • zoonotic diseases;
  • other communicable diseases of public health importance, including deliberately released diseases.

Role of the network

This network * is to be used for:

  • the epidemiological surveillance * of communicable diseases. The epidemiological surveillance network is to be formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the European Commission and those structures that, at the level of each Member State, are responsible for collecting information on epidemiological surveillance and coordinating control measures. These structures are to be designated by the Member States within six months of the entry into force of this Decision;
  • setting up an early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases *, the network being formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the Commission and the health authorities of each Member State responsible for determining measures that may be necessary for protecting public health.

The Commission will coordinate the network in cooperation with the Member States. It will be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

Measures to be taken

The European Commission determines certain elements which aim at ensuring the effective operation of the network with regard to epidemiological surveillance and to achieving uniform information. These include:

  • the communicable diseases that are to be covered by the Community network and the selection criteria for these diseases;
  • the case definitions, particularly the clinical and microbiological characteristics of the agent responsible;
  • the nature and type of the data and information to be collected and passed on by the national structures;
  • the epidemiological and microbiological surveillance methods;
  • the guidelines on the protective measures to be taken, particularly at external borders, and above all in emergency situations;
  • information guidelines and good practice guides;
  • the technical means and the procedures by which the data will be disseminated and analysed.

Information to be passed on by the national structures

Each national structure and/or authority must communicate to the network and to the Commission:

  • the information and control measures relating to communicable diseases covered by the Decision;
  • any useful information concerning the progression of an epidemic situation or epidemics that are unusual or of unknown origin in the Member State concerned;
  • any information for evaluation that will aid cooperation between Member States for the purpose of preventing and controlling communicable diseases.

Coordination of activities

Using the network, Members States must:

  • consult each other, in conjunction with the Commission, for the purpose of coordinating their activity to prevent and control communicable diseases;
  • notify the other Member States and the Commission in advance when considering the adoption of control measures for communicable diseases;
  • notify the other Member States and the Commission as soon as possible when urgent control measures need to be adopted to deal with emerging or resurgent communicable diseases.
Key terms of the Act
  • Network: the network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases, namely the system for the exchange of information required to carry out the surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases.
  • Epidemiological surveillance: the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of health data, including epidemiological studies, concerning the categories of communicable diseases set out in the Annex. Surveillance focuses in particular on the patterns of disease spread over time and space and analysis of the risk factors for contracting such diseases, for the purpose of enabling appropriate preventive measures and counter-measures to be taken.
  • Prevention and control of communicable diseases: the range of measures, including epidemiological investigations, taken by the competent public health authorities in the Member States to prevent and stop the spread of communicable diseases.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 2119/98/EC

3.1.1999

OJ L 268 of 3.10.1998

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

7.8.2009

OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1882/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2002/253/EC of 19 March 2002 laying down case definitions for reporting communicable diseases to the Community network under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 086 of 3.4.2002].

Commission Decision 2000/96/EC of 22 December 1999 on the communicable diseases to be progressively covered by the Community network under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 28 of 3.2.2000].

The Decision establishes a list of certain communicable diseases requiring epidemiological surveillance within the Community network. In particular it concerns:

  • diseases preventable by vaccination;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • viral hepatitis;
  • food-borne and water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin;
  • other diseases such as serious imported diseases (plague, cholera, malaria, etc.).

The list also refers to other specific health problems: nosocomial infections and anti-microbial resistance.

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

The Decision sets out procedures for the exchange of information between Member States and the Commission through the network established and describes the operation of the early warning and response system. The following events must be reported:

  • outbreaks of communicable diseases extending to more than one Member State;
  • spatial or temporal clustering of cases of diseases of a similar type, if pathogenic agents are a possible cause and there is a risk of propagation within the Community;
  • similar clustering outside the Community, if there is a risk of propagation to the Community;
  • appearance or resurgence of a communicable disease or infectious agent which may require coordinated Community action.

There are three activation levels: information exchange, potential threat and definite threat.

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

National Roma Integration Strategies: Common European Framework

National Roma Integration Strategies: Common European Framework

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about National Roma Integration Strategies: Common European Framework

Topics

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

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

National Roma Integration Strategies: Common European Framework

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 5 April 2011 – An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 [COM(2011) 173 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union (EU) invites its Member States to adopt national strategies aimed at improving the economic and social situation of Roma * by 2020. The Commission presents a framework of common European goals that complement the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Before the end of 2011, Member States are to propose integration strategies or packages of policy measures aimed at improving access by Roma:

  • to education, so that each child at least completes primary school;
  • to employment, health care, housing, and basic services (particularly public water, gas and electricity networks), so as to reduce existing disparities with the rest of the population.

The Commission is to carry out an assessment of these strategies in 2012 and monitor their implementation, by means of a monitoring mechanism involving various stakeholders. In this regard, it plans to present annual monitoring reports to the Council and the European Parliament.

Lastly, the Commission encourages reforms and the strengthening of the European Platform for Roma Inclusion.

Implementation of national strategies

National goals for Roma integration should be set, taking account of needs, constraints and the diverse situations in each Member State.

The preparation of integration strategies is to take place with the participation of the stakeholders concerned, in particular local and regional authorities, representatives of civil society and Roma.

A single national contact point is to be created in each Member State to monitor action.

Funding

Sources of funding for national strategies must be clearly identified. Such funding may come from national budgets, structural funds or other European funding (such as the Progress microfinance instrument, the Social Innovation Europe initiative, etc.) or international grants.

EU Enlargement

European goals for Roma integration apply to the countries concerned by EU enlargement policy. The Commission undertakes to support the efforts of those countries, including by increasing the European funding available.

In addition, the progress of each country will be monitored by the Commission and presented in annual enlargement reports.

Key terms
  • Roma: term used as an umbrella to refer to groups of people such as Sinti, Travellers, Kalé, Gens du Voyage, etc., whether sedentary or not.

New European commitment for services of general interest

New European commitment for services of general interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New European commitment for services of general interest

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for services

New European commitment for services of general interest

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, of 20 November 2007, accompanying the Communication on “A single market for 21st century Europe” – Services of general interest, including social services of general interest: a new European commitment [COM(2007) 725 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission identifies the essential principles which may be applied to Services of General Interest (SGIs) (FR) throughout the whole European Union (EU). This Communication constitutes a reference framework for the governance of, and compliance with, the specificities of SGIs. This is the case before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and its Protocol on Services of General Interest.

Diversity of the Services of General Interest

SGIs are subject to public service obligations. It is for the public authorities at national, regional or local level to decide the nature and scope of the SGIs. Public authorities can provide these services themselves or they can entrust the responsibility of providing them to public or private entities.

For its part, the EU retains shared responsibility which enables it to regulate and define the conditions for the operation of SGIs with a European dimension.

The SGIs are divided into two categories and are governed by different European rules:

  • services of general economic interest (SGEIs), which are provided for remuneration, are subject to European internal market and competition rules. However, derogations to these rules may be authorised in order to ensure that the general interest is respected. Certain SGIs have a European dimension, specifically the large network industries (postal services, telecommunications, transport services and the supply of electricity and gas) and are regulated by specific European rules. In addition, European rules relating to public procurement, environmental protection and consumer protection may be applied to them;
  • non-economic services, such as police, justice and statutory social security schemes, are not subject to specific European legislation, nor to the internal market and competition rules.

In practice, the operation of these services often differs from one Member State to another. Furthermore, the distinction between economic and non-economic services requires case-by-case analysis of each activity.

Social services of general interest

The way in which Social Services of General Interest (SSGIs) are provided is generally personalised in order to meet the needs of vulnerable users, and is based on the principle of solidarity and equal access.

They may be of an economic or non-economic nature, including in the case of non-profit making organisations. The definition of economic activity depends essentially on the way in which the activity is provided, organised and financed, and not on the legal status of the service provider.

They are mainly:

  • statutory and complementary social security schemes, covering the main risks of life (health, ageing, occupational accidents, unemployment, retirement and disability);
  • other services provided directly to the person such as social assistance services, employment and training services, social housing or long-term care.

Modernising the European rules

The Commission commits to adopting a series of actions based on the Protocol on Services of General Interest annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon. These actions shall enable the European regulatory framework applicable to SGIs to be consolidated. The actions are based on the following objectives:

  • improving access to information and developing communication tools, such as the creation of an interactive information service or a single market assistance service;
  • adopting sectoral policies, specifically in the fields of energy, transport, e-communication, and postal, social and health services;
  • monitoring actions to guarantee quality, transparency and good progress.

Context

This Communication follows on from the 2004 Commission White Paper and the 2006 opinion of the Parliament which contributed to the debate and converging views on the role and approach of the EU with regard to SGIs. It also draws on the results of the public consultation on social services of general interest initiated in 2006.

Related Acts

Commission Staff Working Document – Guide to the application of the European Union rules on state aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general interest [SEC(2010) 1545final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission publishes a guide aimed at clarifying the European rules applicable to Services of General Interest and to Social Services of General Interest. The Commission specifies the rules relating to the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services in the internal market, to competition, to the Service Directive, to State aid, to public procurement and to the service concessions of public authorities.