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Scoreboard

Scoreboard

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Scoreboard

Topics

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

Other

Scoreboard

This scoreboard sets out the measures needed to create an area of freedom, security and justice and gives an overview of the progress made in implementing them.

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 24 March 2000: Scoreboard to review progress on the creation of an area of “Freedom, Security and Justice” in the European Union [COM(2000) 167 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Amsterdam Treaty has laid down medium-term deadlines for adoption of the various measures required for the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice. These were fleshed out by the Vienna European Council (December 1998) and the Tampere European Council (October 1999).

By setting out the various measures and the timetable for adoption in a single “Scoreboard”, the Commission aims to keep a close eye on the progress made in creating an area of freedom, security and justice.

The Scoreboard helps to:

  • keep citizens informed of the measures being taken in the field of justice and home affairs;
  • keep up the momentum generated by the Tampere European Council;
  • highlight any delays in implementing the measures decided.

The Scoreboard follows as closely as possible the chapter headings used in Tampere and is divided into the following columns:

  • Objective: almost all the objectives listed in the Amsterdam Treaty and in the conclusions of the Vienna and Tampere European Councils, together with certain specific objectives in the field of justice and home affairs (citizenship of the Union, etc.);
  • Action needed: the form of follow-up action needed (legislative or non-legislative action, nature of the instrument required);
  • Responsibility: where responsibility lies for taking things forward (Commission and/or Member States);
  • Timetable for adoption (if any dates have been set);
  • State of play

The Commission will submit an updated version of the Scoreboard to the European Parliament and the Council every six months.

The Scoreboard is broken down into seven main sections:

  • a common EU asylum and migration policy:
    partnership with countries of origin, common European asylum system, fair treatment of third country nationals, management of migration flows;
  • a genuine European area of justice:
    better access to justice in Europe, mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal and civil matters, greater convergence in civil law;
  • Union-wide fight against crime:
    Union-wide crime prevention, stepping up cooperation in the fight against crime, fight against certain forms of crime, special action against money laundering;
  • issues related to internal and external borders and visa policy, implementation of Art. 62 TEC and converting the Schengen Acquis;
  • citizenship of the Union;
  • cooperation against drugs;
  • stronger external action.

The various elements of the Scoreboard are set out below:

1) COMMON EU ASYLUM AND MIGRATION POLICY

1.1 Partnership with countries of origin

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
Assessment of countries and regions of origin and transit in order to formulate specific integrated approaches Continuation of the mandate of the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration Council & Commission Ongoing work within the HLWG – Report on the implementation of the action plans already adopted: December 2000
Assessment of other countries and regions with a view to drawing up new action plans Council & Commission April 2001

1.2 Common European asylum system

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
Determination of the State responsible for the examination of an asylum application Examination of the effectiveness of the Dublin Convention Evaluation to be conducted by the Commission 2000 Launched in 2000
Adoption of criteria and mechanisms (regulation) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Proposal presented by the Commission in July 2001
EURODAC Council and Commission The Council adopted the Regulation concerning the establishment of EURODAC in December 2000
A fair and efficient asylum procedure Adoption of common minimum standards on procedures for granting or withdrawing refugee status, with a view to reducing the duration of asylum procedures and with special reference to the situation of children (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Proposal presented by the Commission in September 2000 and currently being discussed by the Council
Definition of common minimum conditions for reception of asylum seekers (with particular attention to the situation of children) (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Proposal presented by the Commission in April 2001
Common asylum procedure Commission (in part) Communication presented by the Commission in November 2000 (COM(2001) 710 final)
Uniform status throughout the Union for those who are granted asylum As a follow-up to the Commission communication, a legislative instrument may be needed Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal Commission to prepare a communication
Approximation of rules on the recognition of refugee status (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2004 Proposal presented by the Commission in September 2001
Adoption of measures on refugees and displaced persons, aimed at giving an appropriate status to any person in need of international protection Temporary protection in the event of mass influx of displaced persons in need of international protection (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal As quickly as possible Directive 2001/55/EC adopted in July 2001
Subsidiary forms of protection (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2004
Ensuring a balance of effort between Member States in receiving refugees and displaced persons and bearing the consequences of such intake Setting up a European Refugee Fund (decision) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal As quickly as possible Decision adopted by the Council in September 2000
Setting up a financial reserve to be available in the event of mass influx of refugees Council and EP Commission is exploring possibilities

1.3 Fair treatment of third-country nationals

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
Fight against all forms of discrimination, especially racism and xenophobia Implementation of the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of race or ethnic origin (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal June-December 2000 Directive adopted by the Council in June 2000
Establishment of a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal Directive adopted by the Council in November 2000
Programmes drawing upon best practices and experiences (decision) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal Decision adopted by the Council November 2000
Strengthening of cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the Council of Europe Council / Commission Official opening of the Centre on 7 April 2000
Enhancing police and judicial cooperation in preventing and combating racism and xenophobia – Common charges for racism and xenophobia (framework decision) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal Second report on the implementation of the Joint Action of 15 July 1996 tabled in June 2000. Proposal for a framework decision presented by the Commission in November 2001
Approximation of national legislations on the conditions for admission and residence of third-country nationals
Approximation of the legal status of third-country nationals
Assessment of present and future migration flows into the EU, with regard to demographic changes, the situation of the labour market and migration pressures from countries and regions of origin Council / Commission / Member States Communication on an open method of coordination for immigration policy presented by the Commission in July 2001
Conditions of entry and residence for the purpose of (a) family reunification, (b) study or vocational training (c) paid employment or self-employed economic activity (directives) Council, on the basis of Commission proposals Commission proposal for a directive on the right to family reunification submitted to Parliament and Council on 1 December 1999. Amended proposals submitted by the Commission in October 2000 and May 2002
Standards and procedures for the issue of long-term visas and residence permits (directive) Council, on the basis of Commission proposals
Definition of a set of uniform rights (e.g. the right to reside, receive education and work as an employee or a self-employed person) to be granted to third country nationals who have resided legally in a Member State for a certain period of time (directive) Council, on the basis of Commission proposals Study put in hand by the Commission on the legal status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents in a Member State of the European Union.
Proposal for a Directive presented by the Commission in March 2001
Determination of the criteria and of the conditions under which, like Community nationals and their families, third country nationals could be allowed to settle and work in any Member State of the Union, taking account of the consequences for social equilibrium and the labour market . Council, on the basis of Commission proposals Proposal for a Directive presented by the Commission in July 2001

1.4 Management of migration flows

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To improve the exchange of statistics and information on asylum and immigration (this exchange should include statistics as well as information on national legislations and policies) Further implementation of the action plan adopted by the Council in April 1998 Commission, in cooperation with Member States Data collection started in October 1998; second phase (extension to candidate countries, Norway and Iceland) to be launched during the second half of 2000 (after evaluation of the initial phase)
Setting up of a (virtual) European Migration Observatory Commission Preparatory actions (on the basis of a feasibility study) financed by ODYSSEUS programme
To help combat trafficking in human beings and economic exploitation of migrants Adoption of measures establishing minimum rules on what constitutes a criminal act and what penalties should apply to organised crime linked with trafficking of human beings (framework decision) Council, on the basis of Commission proposal Proposal for a framework decision presented by the Commission in December 2000
Detecting and dismantling the criminal networks involved by making the fight against illegal immigration one of the priorities of operational cooperation Member States / Europol Communication on a common policy on illegal immigration presented by the Commission in November 2001
Further harmonisation of Member States’ laws on carrier’s liability (directive) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative Directive 2001/51/EC approved by the Council in June 2001
To assist countries of origin and transit Development of information campaigns on the actual possibilities for legal immigration and the prevention of all forms of trafficking in human beings Council, on the basis of Commission proposals April 2001
Promotion of voluntary return
Strengthening the capacity of the authorities in those countries to combat effectively trafficking in human beings
Helping third countries to cope with their readmission obligations towards the Union and the Member States
To establish a coherent European Union policy on readmission and return To conclude read-mission agreements or to include standard clauses in other agreements between the European Community and relevant third countries or groups of countries Council, on the basis of Commission proposals Recommendation for Commission mandates to negotiate Community readmission agreements with four third countries, tabled by the Commission on 14 February 2000

2) A GENUINE EUROPEAN AREA OF JUSTICE

2.1 Better access to justice in Europe

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To ensure legal security and equal access to justice Information campaign and publication of “user guides” on judicial cooperation within the Union Commission Commission to launch preparatory work
Establishment of a permanent information system by a network of national authorities (the European Judicial Network for Civil Matters) Council, on the basis of a proposal by the Commission 2001 Decision establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters adopted by the Council in May 2001
Proposal to establish minimum standards of legal aid Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 Commission transmitted a Green Paper in February 2000; Commission is preparing a paper on recovery of legal costs and lawyer’s fees and on “group actions”
Proposal on common procedural rules for small civil and commercial claims, uncontested claims and maintenance claims Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 Proposal for a Regulation creating a European enforcement order for uncontested claims presented by the Commission in April 2002
Proposal to establish minimum standards of quality for ADR Member States to set up the extra-judicial procedures April 2004 Commission issued a recommendation in 1998 on principles applicable to ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) for consumers; Commission is launching an EEJ (European Extra Judicial) Network for consumers.
Green Paper on alternative dispute resolution in civil and commercial law presented by the Commission in April 2002
To ensure legal security and equal access to justice Creation of multilingual forms mutually accepted as valid documents in cross-border legal proceedings Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 To be included in the programme on mutual recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters
To protect rights to compensation and to provide assistance to victims Drawing up of minimum standards for protection of victims Parliament and Council to examine the Commission’s communication Commission transmitted a communication in July 1999
Green Paper on compensation to crime victims presented by the Commission in September 2001
Further instruments on approximation of compensation arrangements for victims 2004

2.2. Mutual recognition of judicial decisions

As regards civil matters:

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To enhance mutual recognition of judicial decisions and judgments, and the necessary approximation of legislation, to facilitate cooperation between authorities and the judicial protection of individual rights Programme of measures on mutual recognition of civil and commercial judgments (including measures required for mutual recognition and enforcement; abolishing obstacles to small claims and family litigation) Council and Commission to adopt a programme Programme to be adopted by the end of 2000 Regulation establishing a general Community framework of activities to facilitate the implementation of judicial cooperation in civil matters adopted by the Council in April 2002
Launching of work on the European Enforcement Order Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative This action is to be included in the programme of measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition
Proposal on minimum standards for specific aspects of civil procedures (new procedural legislation on money payments) This action is to be included in the programme of measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition

As regards criminal matters:

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To make sure that criminals have no safe havens Ratification of the 1995 and 1996 EU
Conventions on extradition
Member States April 2001 Six Member States ratified the 1995 Convention
Six Member States ratified the 1996 Convention
Study on abolition of formal extradition procedures concerning persons fleeing from justice after having been sentenced Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal End 2001 The Commission presented a proposal for a framework decision in September 2001
The Council subsequently adopted the framework decision on the European arrest warrant
Providing for fast-track extradition procedures Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal End 2001
Examine the issue of extradition in relation to proceedings in absentia Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004
To ensure that decisions taken in one Member State have effect throughout the Union Programme of measures on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to be followed by specific instruments Council / Commission Programme to be adopted by end 2000 Communication on mutual recognition of final decisions in criminal matters presented by the Commission in July 2000
Application of mutual recognition to pre-trial orders Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative In November 2000, France, Sweden and Belgium presented an initiative on the freezing of assets and evidence
This lead to a framework decision from the Council
Examine the feasibility of improved cross-border cooperation on the transfer of proceedings and the enforcement of sentences Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 To be included in Commission paper
Study the feasibility of extending and possibly formalising the exchange of information on criminal records Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 To be included in Commission paper

2.3 Greater convergence in civil law

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To eliminate obstacles created by disparities in law and procedures New procedural legislation in cross-border cases (e.g. provisional measures, taking of evidence, time limits) Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative. April 2004 Regulation on the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters adopted by the Council in May 2001
General study to identify and eliminate obstacles to the smooth functioning of civil proceedings Council to prepare a report End 2001 Commission to prepare draft agreement with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland
Finalising the Brussels and Lugano Conventions Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001
Drawing up a legal instrument on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations. Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001 Commission to prepare a communication, to be followed (if need be) by a draft regulation
Revising, where necessary, the 1980 Rome Convention. Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001
Preliminary study on the possibility of drawing up a legal instrument on the law applicable to divorce Council/ Commission April 2004 Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 adopted by the Council in May 2000
Drawing up of a preliminary study on jurisdiction and the law applicable to matrimonial property and successions April 2004

3) UNION-WIDE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME

3.1 Union-wide crime prevention

Objectives Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To prevent crime through reduction of opportunities Identification and development of common priorities – policy guidelines – to be taken into account when preparing new legislation Council/ Commission/ Member States Decision setting up a European crime prevention network adopted by the Council in May 2001
Communication on crime prevention presented by the Commission in November 2000
Integration of crime prevention aspects in actions and programmes against crime at the Union and Member State level – policy guidelines to be adopted by Council Council/ Commission/ Member States
To facilitate cooperation between Member States Exchange of best practices and cooperation between national crime prevention authorities in priority areas. A Community- programme addressing such matters as juvenile, urban and drug-related crime has been set up. Council / Commission/ Member States 2001

3.2 Stepping up cooperation in the fight against crime

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of Play
To coordinate and where appropriate, centralise proceedings Setting up joint investigative teams, as a first step, to combat trafficking in drugs and human beings as well as terrorism – when investigating cross-border crime Adoption of the MLA Convention; or Council, on the basis of an initiative by a Member State Without delay The Convention entered into force on 23 August 2005. It replaces Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA from the Council of 13 June 2002 on joint investigative teams
Setting up a unit composed of national prosecutors, magistrates or police officers of equivalent competence – EUROJUST Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative End 2001 Decision establishing Eurojust adopted by the Council in February 2002
Implement and where appropriate further develop the European Judicial Network Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001
Prevent conflicts of jurisdiction by examining the possibility of registering proceedings pending in more than one Member State Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004
To provide mutual assistance to the fullest extent possible Adoption, ratification and implementation of the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Council / Member States April 2001 Act establishing the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters adopted by the Council in May 2000
Consider arrangements under which authorities may operate in the territory of another Member State Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001
Examine the possibilities for harmonised rules on data protection Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001 Work started in Council, on the basis of a discussion paper by the Portuguese Presidency
To protect rights of victims and to provide them with assistance Draw up minimum standards Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2001 Framework Decision on the standing of victims adopted by the Council in March 2001
To develop operational police cooperation and law enforcement training at EU level Establishment of a European Police Chiefs’ operational task force Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative 2001 Council has begun discussion on the basis of a paper presented by the United Kingdom.
Setting up the European Police College, starting as a network of existing national training institutes Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative 2001 Decision establishing a European Police College adopted by the Council in December 2000
To improve cooperation between customs authorities in the fight against crime Implementation of the CIS (Customs Information Systems) and Naples II Conventions. Member States Ongoing
Closer cooperation of law enforcement authorities against smuggling
To foster international cooperation in the fight against transnational organised crime Adoption and ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on transnational organised crime and the additional Protocols Council, Member States/ Commission For signature in late 2000 The Convention and its Protocols were signed in Palermo in December 2000
To reinforce the role of Europol in facilitating European cooperation in preventing and combating crime, with the necessary support and resources Extending the competence of Europol to cover money laundering in general, regardless of the offence from which the proceeds originate Council, on the basis of an initiative by a Member State All these items are under discussion in Council
Examining the feasibility of setting up a database of pending cases Europol / Council
Enabling Europol to facilitate the preparation of specific investigative actions by the competent authorities of the Member States, including operational action by joint investigative teams Appropriate decision by Council needed April 2004, without delay for certain areas
Adoption of measures allowing Europol to ask the competent authorities of the Member States to conduct and coordinate their investigations in specific cases and to develop specific expertise which may be put at the disposal of Member States to assist them in investigating organised crime Council, on the basis of an initiative by a Member State April 2004
Consideration to be given to possible review of the Europol Convention to cover new powers and the question of democratic and judicial control Council / Commission

3.3 Fight against certain forms of crime

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To adopt a common approach throughout the EU on cross-border crime Criminalisation of trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of children with particular reference to
child pornography on the Internet
Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Communication and proposal for a framework decision on trafficking in human beings presented by the Commission in December 2000
Common definitions, charges and penalties in the field of drug trafficking Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Proposal for a framework decision on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties presented by the Commission in May 2001
Common definitions, charges and penalties in the field of corruption Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal April 2001 Commission is preparing a policy paper
Common definitions, charges and penalties in the field of environmental crime Council April 2001 Denmark tabled (under Article 34) a proposal in January 2000
Proposal for a Directive presented by the Commission in March 2001
Proposal on common charges for hooliganism Council, on the basis of an initiative by a Member State Decision on the proposal of Belgium adopted in April 2002
Common definitions, charges and penalties in the field of racism and xenophobia

(framework decision)

Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative April 2004 Second report on the implementation of the Joint Action of 15 July 1996 tabled in June 2000
Proposal for a framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia presented by the Commission in November 2001
Common definitions in the field of preventing and combating cyber-crime, including common charges and penalties for high-tech crime Council, on the basis of a proposal of the Commission April 2001 Communication on combating computer-related crime adopted by the Commission in January 2001 (COM(2000) 890 final)
Proposal for a framework decision on attacks against information systems presented in April 2002
To adopt a common approach throughout the EU on cross-border crime Criminalisation of fraud involving non-cash means of payment Council, on the basis of a proposal of the Commission April 2001 Framework decision on combating fraud involving means of payment adopted in May 2001
Common definitions, charges and penalties as regards counterfeiting of the Euro Council adopted a framework decision which was amended in 2001 April 2001 The Commission is preparing complementary measures
Decision establishing the ” Pericles ” programme adopted by the Council in December 2001
Criminalisation of fraud in public contracts Council, on the basis of a Member State initiative April 2001 Germany presented an initiative in March 1999
Reinforcing the legal framework for the protection of the Community’s financial interests Council and Parliament, on the basis of a Commission proposal Proposal for a Directive on protecting the Community’s financial interests presented by the Commission in May 2001

3.4 Special action against money laundering

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption State of play
To deprive criminals of the proceeds of crime Convention or framework decision on financial crime, money laundering Council, on the basis of an initiative by France
Concrete steps to trace, freeze, seize and confiscate the proceeds of crime The Council adopted Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA on the execution in the European Union of orders freezing property or evidence.
To improve knowledge and ability to fight money laundering activities Implement fully the provisions of the Directive on money laundering, the 1990 Strasbourg Convention and the Financial Action Task Force recommendations, in the Member States and their dependent territories Member States
Adoption of the draft revised Directive on money laundering Council and Parliament As soon as possible Directive on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering adopted in December 2001
More rapid exchange of information between the existing financial intelligence units (FIU), enabling judicial authorities and FIU to receive information, regardless of secrecy provisions. Council, on the basis of an initiative by Finland Decision 2000/642/JHA on the exchange of information between financial intelligence units adopted by the Council in October 2000
Community rules must be drawn up to prevent the use of non-EU companies and organisations to launder the proceeds of crime Commission/ Council/Member States
Report identifying those provisions in national legislation on banking, finance and company law which obstruct international cooperation Commission
Widening the competence of Europol to cover money laundering in general, regardless of the offence from which the proceeds originate Council, on the basis of a Commission proposal or a Member State initiative Discussion in Council and in Europol Management Board

4) ISSUES RELATED TO INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL BORDERS AND VISA POLICY, IMPLEMENTATION OF ART. 62 TEC AND CONVERTING THE SCHENGEN ACQUIS

Objective Action needed Responsibility Timetable for adoption Stat

Freedom of movement with a long-stay visa

Freedom of movement with a long-stay visa

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Freedom of movement with a long-stay visa

Topics

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

Other

Freedom of movement with a long-stay visa

1) Objective

To facilitate free movement within the Union for third country nationals holding long-stay visas.

2) Community Measure

Council Regulation (EC) No 1091/2001 of 28 May 2001 on freedom of movement with a long-stay visa.

3) Contents

1. A long-stay visa (issued to a third country national for a period of more than three months) formerly enabled the holder to transit only once through the territories of the other Member States in order to reach the territory of the State which issued the visa. A long-stay visa permitted the holder to apply for a residence permit with a view to becoming established in the territory of the State which issued the visa.

2. This regulation aims to facilitate the free movement of holders of long-stay visas by making these concurrently valid as uniform short-stay visas, provided that the entry and residence conditions enshrined in the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement are met. In a way, this anticipates the right of free movement conferred by the residence permit, although the physical production of this document may occasionally lead to a delay in issuing it.

3. Holders of long-stay visas can thus move freely around the countries participating in the development of the Schengenacquis for a period of three months from the initial date of validity of the long-term visa.

4. The Schengen Agreement and the Common Consular Instructions have been amended as a result.

5. Pursuant to the protocols on the position of Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community:

  • the United Kingdom and Ireland will not participate in the adoption of this regulation;
  • Denmark will not participate for the time being in the adoption of the regulation, but will have six months to decide whether to transpose it into national law.

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

Not applicable

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

The regulation will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

6) References

Official Journal L 150 of 06.06.2001

7) Follow-Up Work

8) Commission Implementing Measures

Council Decision of 28 May 2001 on the adaptation of Parts V and VI and Annex 13 of the Common Consular Instructions on Visas and Annex 6a to the Common Manual with regard to long-stay visas valid concurrently as short-stay visas.
[Official Journal L 150 of 6 June 2001]

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit

Topics

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

Other

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit

1) Objective

To improve cooperation and coordination between Member States with regard to investigations and prosecutions relating to serious crime, particularly organised crime.

2) Document or Iniciative

Council Decision of 14 December 2000 setting up a Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit [Official Journal L 324 of 21.12.2000].

3) Summary

As the Tampere European Council pointed out, closer cooperation in the fight against organised crime, to which Articles 29 and 31 of the Treaty on European Union refer, calls for the adoption of measures at Union level in order to facilitate the coordination of investigations and prosecutions relating to serious crime.
By establishing a provisional coordination formation known as the Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit, the Council decision represents a major step towards that goal.

The Provisional Unit has two main objectives:

  • to improve cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States with regard to investigations and prosecutions in relation to serious crime, in particular when it is organised;
  • to stimulate and improve the coordination of investigations and prosecutions in the Member States, taking into account any request or information communicated under provisions adopted within the framework of the Treaties.

It will also lend its support to the Council and the Member States as part of the negotiations on the setting-up of the Eurojust judicial cooperation unit.

The Unit consists of prosecutor, a judge or police officer of equivalent competence from each Member State who are responsible for performing the liaison and coordination duties necessary to accomplish the objectives of the Provisional Unit.

Members of the Unit may organise missions in a Member State whose authorities are involved in an investigation, and may meet in any other place.

They facilitate coordination and cooperation between national authorities, in particular where coordination can contribute to consideration of the arrangements for the opening and development of investigations and prosecutions. Wherever possible, they provide support for the coordination and operation of joint investigative teams.

The Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit ceased to exist from the date of publication in the Official Journal of the Council Decision establishing Eurojust.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

ARGO

ARGO

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ARGO

Topics

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

Other

ARGO

ARGO is the new administrative cooperation action programme in the field of asylum, immigration and crossing of external frontiers. It replaces the Odysseus programme.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision of 13 June 2002 adopting an action programme for administrative cooperation in the field of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration (ARGO) [See amending acts].

Summary

1. The Decision seeks to introduce a new programme for administrative cooperation in the fields of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration since the Odysseus programme has come to an end (given that its budget was exhausted in 2001). This programme (“ARGO”) covers the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006.

2. The programme’s objectives are:

  • to promote cooperation between national administrations responsible for implementing Community rules and to ensure that proper account is taken of the Community dimension in their actions;
  • to promote the uniform application of Community law;
  • to increase the transparency and overall effectiveness of the actions taken by the national authorities.

3. The action programme supports activities in the following areas:

  • crossing of external borders (effectiveness of controls);
  • visas (compliance with the principles of Community legislation on issuing visas, harmonisation of rules on the examination of visa applications, harmonisation of exceptions, etc.);
  • asylum (establishment of a Common European Asylum System, determination of the State responsible for examining an asylum application, approximation of rules on the recognition and content of refugee status, etc.);
  • immigration (effective, efficient and homogeneous application of rules on illegal immigration, the return of illegal residents, transit, etc.).

4. In the above areas, the action programme may support the following types of actions:

  • training actions;
  • staff exchange;
  • actions promoting the computerised handling of files and electronic data exchange;
  • setting-up of common operative centres and of teams composed of staff drawn from two or more Member States;
  • studies, research, conferences and seminars;
  • Member States’ activities in third countries.

5. The ARGO programme can also finance national projects in the area of external borders aimed at remedying certain structural shortcomings observed at strategic border crossing points on the basis of objective criteria.

6. The ARGO action programme may finance up to 60% of the cost of the action (or up to 80% in exceptional circumstances). The co-financing of an action by the ARGO action programme is exclusive of any other financing by another programme financed by the budget of the European Communities. The amount earmarked for implementing the programme is EUR 25 million. In addition, the budgetary authority has substantially stepped up the funds allocated to the ARGO programme for 2004, in order to improve management of the external borders.

7. The Commission is responsible for the management and implementation of the ARGO action programme, in partnership with the Member States. It must also prepare an Annual Work Programme and evaluate and select the actions proposed. The actions are evaluated on the basis of specific criteria such as conformity with the Annual Work Programme, the European dimension of the action, the inherent quality of the action, the amount of the support requested, etc.

8. The Commission is assisted by the ARGO Committee. Each year the Commission submits a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the ARGO action programme. The Commission must submit the first report in 2003 and the final report by 31 December 2007.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2002/463/EC 19.06.2002 OJ L 161 of 19.06.2002
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/867/EC 18.12.2004 OJ L 371/48 of 18.12.2004

Green paper on the future of the common fisheries policy

Green paper on the future of the common fisheries policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green paper on the future of the common fisheries policy

Topics

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

Other

Green paper on the future of the common fisheries policy (CFP)

1) Objective

To launch a public consultation to determine the nature of the future common fisheries policy (CFP), in order to place it in a better position to ensure its general objective, namely a sustainable use of resources. To achieve this, the Commission green paper proposes a perspective based on an analysis of the current situation and the various possible developments or reactions within the fisheries sector.

2) Community Measure

Green paper of 20 March 2001 on the future of the common fisheries policy.

3) Contents

The CFP has produced positive results for the last twenty years. It has succeeded in restraining conflicts at sea, providing a certain stability within the fisheries sector, preventing the total collapse of stocks, etc.
However, these results do not hide the deficiencies of the CFP, which is now, therefore, facing major challenges requiring in-depth reform.

The CFP’s main challenge is to conserve fish stocks.
There are also external challenges regarding the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union, globalisation of the economy, the emergence of new stakeholders within the fisheries sector, the growing number of environmental issues in the administration of fisheries, etc.
More specifically, the green paper deals with the conservation of fishery resources, environmental considerations, fleet management, governance, monitoring and control, economic and social issues, aquaculture, international implications and, finally, Mediterranean policy.
These aspects are analysed in turn below, in terms of both the present situation and prospects for the future.

The CFP will need to find adequate solutions to this inexhaustive list of problems; solutions which must conform to the general objectives of the fisheries policy. These objectives are listed in the EC Treaty and in the Regulation establishing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture.

CONSERVATION OF FISHERY RESOURCES

The situation at present

  • Durability of stocks
    There are a large number of stocks whose volume is currently below what is biologically reasonable. These stocks are subject to excessive exploitation or characterised by small quantities of adult fish, or both. The following is a brief analysis of the situation of the various stocks:
    demersal roundfish stocks (fish dependent on sea beds, such as cod, haddock, sea breams, groupers, red mullet, etc.) are now the most endangered;
    benthic resources (species attached to sea beds or living on sea bed sediments, such as Norway lobster, sole, turbot. etc.) show overall excessive economic exploitation, although this is less disastrous than for demersals;
    pelagic stocks (species with little contact with sea beds, such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, etc.) are less affected as a result of the various measures taken to increase their numbers.
  • Management of stocks
    The CFP did not implement all the tools which could have been used in accordance with the Regulation introducing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture. Indeed, to control the use of stocks it almost always placed a ceiling on the annual fishing quantities allowed (total allowable catches, or TACs). It also endeavoured to include other measures concerning the fishing effort (fishing effort meaning the capacity of a vessel in terms of tonnage and power multiplied by the activity expressed as time at sea); however, progress remained limited.
    These mixed results are the consequence, among other things, of:
    – difficulties with TACs (sometimes set by the Council at a rate higher than scientists recommended; overfishing; unrecorded landings, etc.);
    – the complexity of the regulations (technical measures which differ according to the geographical sectors, etc);
    – the weakness of scientific advice and information (limited number of experts in fishery matters, absence of reliable data on catches and exact point of capture, lack of analysis of economic aspects of fisheries, etc.).

Prospects

  • Reinforcing and improving the conservation of fishery resources

    Although there is no single solution to the conservation problems, four basic courses of action are possible:
    – managing of TACs and quotas on a multiannual basis, managing groups of stocks containing several species, and ecosystem management (i.e. relating to the sea’s ecosystem and applicable to all aspects of fisheries management, from resources to consumers);
    – adopting more stringent technical measures to protect young fish, reduce the number of discards and promote the use of selective gear as well as fishing methods which are less damaging to the environment;
    – developing a system based on social, economic and environmental indicators, making it possible to measure the progress of the CFP, especially as regards sustainable development;
    – maintaining the 6/12 mile and Shetland Box regime. Most Member States (with the exception of Spain) agree with the Commission that the 6-12 mile regime applicable to the coastal area between these points should be renewed. This regime aims to restrict access to vessels practising small-scale coastal fishing (thus exerting less pressure on stocks located in the areas in question which often shelter nurseries) and protect the traditional fishing activities of coastal communities.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

The situation at present

  • The inadequate priority given to environmental issues in the CFP

    There is currently an imbalance between environmental requirements and fishing
    interests. The problem is aggravated by insufficient knowledge about the sea’s ecosystems and the secondary effects of fishing. Moreover, the pollution produced by industry and other human activities, such as tourism, and climate change also contribute to the reduction in stocks or to the scarcity of fish in certain areas.

Prospects

  • The integration of environmental concerns in the CFP

    The Commission is currently promoting environmental issues in the CFP. Thus the communication entitled “Elements of a strategy for the integration of environmental protection requirements into the common fisheries policy” establishes aims and specific ways of achieving them (COM(2001)143 final).
  • Launch of the debate on ecolabelling of fishery products

    According to the Commission, eco-labelling programmes which would supplement legislation on the exploitation of fishery resources and food safety could increase consumer awareness about environmental issues in fishing and educate all those involved.

FLEET MANAGEMENT

The situation at present

  • The overcapacity of the fleet

    Following the progress made on a technical level and on the design of vessels, the current fleet is considerably over-sized.
    The multiannual guidance programmes (MAGPs) were drawn up to deal with this problem. MAGPs are the key element in the management of the Community fleet and are defined by a Council Decision. The criteria and conditions for Community structural assistance in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and for the processing and marketing of fishery products are established under the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG).
    The current programme, MAGP IV (1997-2001) aims to reduce fishing capacity by 3% (defined in terms of tonnage and power) and fishing activity by 2%. It should be noted that these modest objectives were already being achieved in the case of capacity in 1997, the year MAGP IV was adopted.
  • Aid policy for the fisheries sector
    The reduction in the fleet’s capacity and in fishing activity has often been jeopardised by aid granted, whether subsidies for construction, modernisation or operating costs.

Prospects

  • A more balanced fleet management

    Despite wide differences between the Member States (France and Italy would like to see MAGPs abolished while Spain, Portugal and Denmark want them to continue), all acknowledge the necessity to establish a fleet policy based on balance between the capacity of the fleet and exploitation rates compatible with long-term management aims.
    The new system will need to be more effective and transparent (stricter compliance with the rules in force). It must also take account of technical progress and be able to prevent public-sector aid contributing to an increase in the fishing effort (the United Kingdom and Denmark have requested that public-sector aid no longer be given for the construction and modernisation of vessels).

GOVERNANCE

The situation at present

  • Decisionmaking at Community level
    The current legal framework does not conform to the need to react to local problems or crises (such as the immediate prohibition of fishing zones, to avoid irreparable damage to stocks).
  • The involvement of those in the fisheries sector
    Overall, the prevailing feeling is that those involved in the sector are not associated with certain important aspects of the CFP, such as the adoption of technical measures. In particular, many fishermen consider that their opinions and knowledge are not given sufficient consideration by the decision-makers and scientists. This lack of participation has a negative influence on support for the adopted measures.

Prospects

  • The improvement of governance within the CFP framework

    The aim is to set up a simple, transparent and cost-effective mechanism which also ensures flexibility. It must also allow rapid emergency action and provide for further involvement of the people concerned.
    There are four possible ways of achieving this goal:
    – establishing regional advisory committees to increase the involvement of those concerned in the phase prior to making decisions about the CFP’s development;
    – decentralising certain management-related responsibilities to deal with urgent or local problems;
    – more systematic consideration of scientific advice in the decision-making process;
    – greater compatibility of the CFP with other policies affecting the coastal area. The communication entitled “Integrated Coastal Zone Management or ICZM: a strategy for Europe” deals with this problem (COM(2000)547 final/2).

MONITORING AND CONTROL

The situation at present

  • The absence of a univocal Community strategy

    The organisation of monitoring and control is currently divided between the Community and the Member States.
    The current measures are considered by many to be inadequate and discriminatory. The legal system and sanctions are not harmonised, Community inspectors have only limited powers and the situation in the Member States is no better (lack of human resources and necessary skills).
    Moreover, even if the latest changes to the Regulation implementing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy were a step in the right direction, the proposals intended to strengthen Community rules and increase the powers of Community inspectors did not receive a warm welcome from the Member States.

Prospects

  • Strengthening the current mechanism

    There must continue to be progress in terms of the coordination of national policies, harmonisation of sanctions, following up offences and defining the respective responsibilities of the Member States and the Commission in the implementation of control programmes.
    The future possibility of creating a common inspection structure within the Community, to coordinate policies and the various measures, should not be dismissed.
  • Commission undertakings

    At the international conference on fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance, which took place in October 2000 in Brussels, the Commission publicly undertook to:
    – develop a code of conduct defining the rights and obligations of inspectors and fishermen;
    – conduct a preliminary “evaluation of controllability” for all new proposals concerning conservation measures;
    – establish a “controllability” diagnosis for all measures in force;
    – perform an analytical study of control expenditure in order to achieve a better evaluation of the real cost of controls and the resulting advantages;
    – use and take advantage of new technology for controls.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES

The situation at present

  • An important economic dimension with badlydefined objectives

    Fishing is a substantial sector into which 1.1 billion euros of public money is injected each year (national and Community financing together).
    Community intervention via the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) is significant in the fisheries sector, through the financing of investments in fishing vessels, on-shore processing facilities, etc.
    The common organisation of the market and the common trading policy also make it possible to support prices and give some tariff protection to Community producers.
    However, even though the Community has become heavily involved in the fisheries sector, the definition of an economic or “industrial” strategy remains the responsibility of the Member States, which pursue different and sometimes contradictory objectives in this respect. Consequently, it is difficult to formulate a single diagnosis regarding its economic and financial results and the conditions of its short- and long-term viability.
  • The constant regression of employment in the fisheries sector
    The number of fishermen is in constant decline, by an average of 2% a year, because resources are in short supply and technical progress has increased productivity enormously.
    Certain changes regarding Community dependency on fishing have also been observed (dependency can be defined here as the economy relying on catches/quantities landed). The map of regions dependent on fishing has changed significantly (for example, the degree of dependency has greatly decreased in most regions of Spain where it was previously very high).

Prospects

  • Strengthening the economic and social aspects of the CFP
    Two types of measures must generally be implemented:
    – the first encourages durability and economic viability in the fisheries sector by reconsidering the role of public-sector aid;
    – the second aims to promote the adaptation of people currently employed in this sector to alternative occupations or employment.
    Independently of these two priorities, the Community must continue to deal with other social problems, such as improving the safety of fishing vessels and regulating working conditions.
  • The specific case of the outermost regions of the European Union
    The European Union includes seven regions classified as “outermost”: the autonomous Spanish community of the Canary Islands, the four French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and Réunion) and the Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.
    In its communication entitled “Commission Report on the measures to implement Article 299(2)”, the Commission is committed to submitting proposals and, if necessary, new measures to support these regions (COM(2000)147 final).

AQUACULTURE

The situation at present

  • The development of aquaculture
    Aquaculture (the art of breeding and rearing aquatic animals and plants) has contributed to the supply of fish without increasing pressure on stocks in the marine environment. It has played an important role in improving the socio-economic situation of coastal residents by providing alternative employment.
    However, despite a generally satisfactory situation, Community aquaculture still faces a number of problems, such as the fact that it is increasingly seen as a threat to other activities. Tourism therefore accuses aquaculture of occupying space which could be used for recreation purposes, and of producing waste which is harmful to the quality of nearby swimming waters.

Prospects

  • Priorities concerning support for aquaculture
    The aim is for European aquaculture to be able to take up the challenges resulting from environmental, health protection and international market requirements.
    In order to achieve this, public-sector assistance in support of aquaculture must cover expenditure on:
    – training, control;
    – research and development (in particular for new species);
    – treatment of waste water;
    – eradication of diseases, etc.
    Since 2000, the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) has widened its scope to include most aid of this type, as well as traditional investment aid.

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

The situation at present

  • The nature of the external fisheries policy
    The Community fleet, one of the largest in the world, operates mainly in Community waters. Nevertheless, the Community fishing sector relies heavily on access to non-Community resources.
    The resources that must be shared with third countries are located:
    – either in waters under the jurisdiction of more distant Coastal States (this initiated the bilateral agreements);
    – or in international waters (the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) adopted the international conventions principle for using high sea resources; thus the EU has negotiated accession to several international conventions and regional fisheries organisations as an observer or member).
  • Weaknesses of the external fisheries policy
    As revealed by the bilateral agreements concluded by the Community:
    – some fishing agreements often render it impossible to react quickly to problems such as a reduction in stocks requiring emergency measures;
    – certain fishing agreements sometimes underestimated the number of guarantees needed to ensure the protection of small-scale coastal fishing;
    – the fishing opportunities offered to European vessels were not always based on the real development of the resource;
    – the fishing mortality inherent in the European fleet is often not well-known.
  • Community acceptance of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing
    In 1996, the Community accepted the agreement to promote compliance with international conservation and management measures by fishing vessels on the high seas (Council Decision 96/428/EC-OJ L 177, 16/7/1996).
    This agreement is an integral part of the International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing introduced by the May 1992 Cancun declaration. By this means, the Community agreed to cooperate with developing countries and help them to become more efficient in the fisheries sector.

Prospects

  • Multilateral cooperation
    The European Community has established priorities, as summarised below:
    – to promote those regional fishing agreements which take more account of the regional nature of the resource;
    – to encourage rational use of open-sea resources (definition of the rights and obligations of newcomers, etc);
    – to contribute to the application of the precautionary principle;
    – to step up the fight against illegal, undisclosed and uncontrolled fishing and particularly against certain Member States that should be more strict with their vessels;
    – to pay special attention to the work of the regional fisheries organisations;
    – to step up cooperation with developing countries at the level of regional and subregional fisheries organisations.
  • Bilateral cooperation
    Henceforth, fishing agreements must allow for the needs of developing countries and their legitimate desire to develop their own fisheries sector. Moreover, the Treaty states that the CFP must take account of Community objectives on development.
    Planned action includes:
    – acting on fishing problems by providing technical assistance, supporting the creation of professional organisations or working towards strengthening institutional and administrative capacities;
    – promoting responsible fishing by developing cooperation on research, evaluation of stocks, monitoring and surveillance, etc.;
    – contributing towards sustainable development in partner coastal States, by encouraging the implementation of appropriate financial instruments or by encouraging local training of human resources, etc.

MEDITERRANEAN POLICY

The situation at present

  • Community policy in the Mediterranean
    Whilst the measures on structures and the market have been fully implemented in the specific area represented by the Mediterranean (where small-scale fishing and local fishing predominate), those targeting conservation and management have only been partially implemented.
    Various factors gave rise to this situation, such as:
    – the lack of data relevant to management-related decisions;
    – extremely defective surveillance and performance, especially for the minimum unloading sizes of fish;
    – the absence of international cooperation with the coastal States, marked by more frequent resorting to unilateral initiatives.

Prospects

  • Revitalising the common fisheries policy in the Mediterranean
    Four types of action are possible:
    – improving scientific advice with the implementation of the new Community system for gathering data;
    – revising the regulation laying down certain technical measures for the conservation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean;
    – expanding the integrated development of coastal areas;
    – strengthening controls to apply the current rules effectively.
  • Strengthening international cooperation
    The Community proposes:
    – to improve the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) by establishing a periodic conference of the Fisheries Ministers of coastal States;
    – to develop subregional cooperation systems;
    – to encourage fishermen’s organisations from all Mediterranean States to create or strengthen the structures suitable for promoting cooperation;
    – to organise an ad hoc conference for the control of high-seas fishing and especially fishing practised by vessels from outside the Mediterranean States.

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

Not applicable

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

Not applicable

6) References

COM (2001) 135 final
Not published in the Official Journal

7) Follow-Up Work

8) Commission Implementing Measures

Development policy of the European Community

Development policy of the European Community

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Development policy of the European Community

Topics

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

Other

Development policy of the European Community

The statement sets out a clear and coherent strategy for the European Community’s development cooperation policy with a view to maximising the Community value-added in this area, improving the quality and impact of its actions and responding to the new global challenges.

Document or Iniciative

Statement by the Council and the Commission of 20 November 2000 on the European Community’s development policy, based on the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 26 April 2000 on the same subject.

Summary

1. Background
The question of development is more crucial today than ever. In sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, over 40% of the population are still living below the poverty line.

The European Union provides half of all public aid to the developing countries and in many cases is one of their main trading partners. The increase in the number of its external partners, the introduction of new instruments and increased financial resources have reinforced the need to draw up a clearer and more consistent strategy within the framework of international coordination efforts.

The statement follows on from the Commission communication of April 2000 which is the starting point for a process of renewal. The declaration sets out the final strategy adopted by both the Council and the Commission.

It also forms part of the efforts to increase the effectiveness of the Union’s external action.

2. Principles and objectives

Underlying principle
The Council and the Commission reaffirm the Community’s solidarity with developing countries, in the framework of a partnership which respects human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and the sound management of public affairs.

Main objective
The main aim of the Community’s development policy is to reduce poverty with a view to its eventual eradication.

Poverty, which includes the concept of vulnerability, results from many factors. The Community is therefore determined to support poverty reduction strategies which integrate these many dimensions and are based on the analysis of constraints and opportunities in individual developing countries. These strategies must contribute to strengthening democracy, to the consolidation of peace and the prevention of conflict, to gradual integration into the world economy, to more awareness of the social and environmental aspects with a view to sustainable development, to equality between men and women and to public and private capacity-building.

The resources available for development aid will be allocated in accordance with their impact on the reduction of poverty. The least developed countries require special consideration.

Primacy of the role of the developing countries
Ownership of their strategies by the partner countries is the key to the success of development policies. With that in mind, the wide-ranging participation of all segments of society should be encouraged and prime importance should be given to political dialogue with the partner countries.

3. Refocusing Community activities
Community activities should be refocused on the following six areas:

  • link between trade and development

    Trade policies must be compatible with the countries’ development objectives and strategies and their economic situation (fragile economies, etc.). Preferential access to markets should also be improved;
  • regional integration and cooperation
    This should facilitate integration into the world economy, conflict resolution and the resolution of cross-border problems, for example in the field of the environment;
  • support for macroeconomic policies and promotion of equitable access to social services

    This includes initiatives to relieve debt and sectoral support in the fields of health and education in particular;
  • transport
    Efficient transport systems are essential to economic and social development and to access to basic social services;
  • food security and sustainable and rural development

    These are an important component of the poverty reduction strategies. A closer link must be sought between emergency food aid and long-term development in the context of food security;
  • enhanced institutional capacitybuilding
    The EC’s action is more neutral than action by the Member States. As a result, it is well placed to play a significant role in promoting good governance, combating corruption and ensuring respect for the rule of law.

Horizontal aspects
The horizontal issues must be incorporated in all aspects of development cooperation. Five main topics must be promoted:

  • human rights;
  • equality between women and men;
  • children’s rights;
  • protection of the environment.

Conflict prevention and crisis management also require systematic attention.

4. Enhancing cooperation, coordination and complementarity
The links between the various actors, particularly the Community and the Member States, must be strengthened in order to maximise the impact of the European Union’s development aid.

The Community and its Member States will coordinate their policies and programmes in order to maximise their impact. Better complementarity and coordination in terms of division of work will be sought both within the Union and with other donors, in particular in the context of country strategies. To ensure consistency, the objectives of Community development policy will be taken into greater account in the conduct of other common policies.

The Commission has already initiated a reshaping of its external aid management by introducing a new programming process and by promoting the devolution (déconcentration) and decentralisation of aid management. Simplification of the Financial Regulation and a better allocation of human resources, as requested by the Commission, are also necessary.

The contribution made by a broad spectrum of participants from civil society to Community policy is already recognised in the framework of the new partnership with the ACP countries. Implementation of an approach that encourages greater participation by non-governmental organisations, economic operators, social partners and the private sector will also be encouraged in the context of the Union’s relations with the other developing countries. The Community will seek to reinforce the partnership with civil society, both in Europe and in the developing countries, and to support capacity-building among non-State players in the partner countries in order to facilitate their participation in the dialogue on strategies and in the implementation of cooperation programmes.

5. Implementation and followup
The new strategy must be implemented as soon as possible. The Commission should therefore prepare an action programme for this purpose and submit to the European Parliament and to the Council an annual report on the progress made.

Related Acts

Joint declaration by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the development policy of the European Union, entitled[Official Journal C 46/01 of 24 February 2006].
The “European Consensus” is the new statement on European Union development policy. For the first time in fifty years of cooperation, it defines the framework of common principles within which the EU and its Member States will each implement their development policies in a spirit of complementarity.

 

Co-financing with non-governmental development organisations

Co-financing with non-governmental development organisations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Co-financing with non-governmental development organisations

Topics

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

Other

Co-financing with non-governmental development organisations

This Regulation establishes the administrative procedures for the European Community’s co-financing of operations in developing countries with European NGOs. As of 1 January 2007 these rules have been replaced by the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1658/98 of 17 July 1998 on co-financing operations with European non-governmental development organisations (NGOs) in fields of interest to the developing countries.

Summary

1. Background

As civil society actors, the NGOs play an increasingly important role in the implementation of aid in the developing countries. For several years, the European Community has recognised their key role and given priority to and underlined the importance of their autonomy and independence.

2. Cofinanced operations

The Community co-finances three types of operations:

  • operations in the field

    These are operations implemented in the developing countries at the initiative of the NGOs and their partners in these countries. The main aim of these operations must be to combat poverty and they concern, in particular, local social and economic development in rural and urban areas, the development of human resources, particularly by means of training, and institutional support for local partners in the developing countries;
  • operations to raise public awareness in the EU of the problems relating to development and the relations between the industrialised and developing countries

    In particular, they should highlight the interdependence of the Member States and the developing countries, encourage cooperation between NGOs and enable partners in the developing countries to play an active part;
  • operations to reinforce cooperation and coordination between NGOs from the Member States and the Community institutions

    These operations should support the development of appropriate exchange and communication networks.

All operations suitable for Community co-financing must be sustainable, be clearly defined, monitor objectives, provide indicators of achievement for projects, and be consistent with other operations in this field.

3. Partners

The actors eligible for co-financing must satisfy certain conditions. In short, they must be autonomous, non-profit-making organisations, they must have their headquarters in a Member State and the majority of their funding must originate in Europe. Additional criteria relate to experience and knowledge, administrative and financial management capacities, the ability to support operations, and the nature of links with partners in the countries in question.

4. Financial provisions

Community co-financing takes the form of grants. Co-financing contracts are subject to the provisions of the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities. They may also by subject to on-the-spot checks by the Commission and/or the Court of Auditors under this Financial Regulation.
Community financial support is provided in foreign or local currency. It may be used for investment spending, operational spending linked with investment, and spending necessary for the smooth implementation of the co-financed operations, including the administrative costs of NGOs.
NGOs must encourage the partners in the developing countries to contribute in kind or financially, according to their means.
The Community contribution must not exceed 50% of the total cost or 75% of total contributions, except in exceptional cases, where the contribution must not exceed 85%.
Community contributions exceeding EUR 2 million must be submitted for the opinion of the Committee of the Member States that assists the Commission.

5. Role of the Commission

The Commission is entrusted with appraising, deciding on and administering the Community co-financing of operations, including evaluation. It is assisted in certain tasks by a committee composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the Commission. As a rule, the decision as to whether an operation is to be supported should be taken within six months of the date of receipt of the application from an NGO.
Every three months, the Commission must inform the Member States of the co-financing projects and programmes approved, indicating their amounts, nature, etc.

6. Annual report and evaluation

Following each budget year, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council, providing information on the NGOs concerned and the operations financed, an evaluation of the budget year and general guidelines for the following year. The guidelines are submitted for the committee’s opinion.

The operations co-financed are evaluated regularly.
Three years after this Regulation enters into force, the Commission must submit to the European Parliament and the Council an overall evaluation of the operations financed by the Community under the Regulation, together with suggestions regarding the future of the Regulation. Such an evaluation was carried out in 2000 and discussions are being held between the various parties.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC)
No. 1658/98
02.08.1998 OJ L 213 of 30.7.1998

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation [Official Journal L 378 of 27.12.2006].

This Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No 1658/98.

Food security: food-aid policy and food-aid management

Food security: food-aid policy and food-aid management

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Food security: food-aid policy and food-aid management

Topics

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

Other

Food security: food-aid policy and food-aid management

This Regulation establishes the framework for the European Community’s food-aid policy and management and food-aid operations. As of 1 January 2007 these rules have been replaced by the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1292/96 of 27 June 1996 on food-aid policy and food-aid management and special operations in support of food security [Official Journal L 166 of 05.07.1996]. [See amending acts]

Summary

Background

Food aid and special operations in support of food security are an important instrument of the Community’s development aid policy. This Regulation sets out the general framework for the policy and Community operations in these areas. It replaces Regulations (EEC) Nos 3972/86, 1755/84, 2507/88, 2508/88 and 1420/87 laying down the old framework in this area. However, food-aid operations of a humanitarian nature do not fall within the scope of this Regulation.

Objectives and general guidelines

The policy set out in this Regulation conforms to the objectives and the major guidelines of the Community’s development policy. It must be fully integrated into all the aspects of this policy, in particular by adopting a cross-sector approach. In this respect, it aims, in particular, to combat poverty and ensure close coordination between the Member States and the Community as well as with other international organisations (for example, the World Health Organisation – WHO) and civil society (for example, non-governmental organisations (NGOs)), etc.

It is also essential for food aid to enhance the partnership with the beneficiary country by fitting in with the policy of the developing country itself, respecting the specific situation of the country and working to strengthen the existing policy.

With regard to the more specific objectives, operations must aim, inter alia, to promote food security, to raise the standard of nutrition of the recipient population, and to contribute towards balanced economic and social development.

The Regulation is valid in the short term as well as the long term, the ultimate goal being to make food aid superfluous. To this end, the strategy’s guidelines aim to establish long-term projects.

Areas of action

The Regulation identifies three main types of aid: firstly, food aid, where operations are mainly short-term; secondly, operations in support of food security, which include long-term operations designed to ensure sustainable food security; and thirdly, operations to improve early warning systems and storage programmes.

Foodaid operations

Aid is allocated on the basis of an assessment of the needs of the country and must take account of the characteristics of the country and the society. The aid criteria include:

  • food shortages;
  • per capita income and the existence of particularly poor population groups;
  • the existence in the recipient country of a long-term policy on food security.

The granting of food aid may, where necessary, be conditional on the implementation of short or long-term programmes to improve food security.

Operations in support of food security

Food aid has diversified and this is reflected, in particular, in the operations in support of food security. Given the long-term objectives of these operations, financial or technical assistance is granted and the operations must be integrated into a multiannual programme. This category of aid requires the greatest financial resources.

The main operations financed are technical in nature and aim to improve the capacities of the recipient countries, including:

  • the supply of seeds, tools and other inputs essential to the production of food crops;
  • schemes to supply the population with drinking water;
  • storage schemes at the appropriate level;
  • measures in support of the private sector for commercial development at national, regional and international level;
  • schemes to support local food-aid structures, training, etc.

Early warning systems and storage programmes

This involves improving the food security of the recipient countries by strengthening or, in exceptional cases, establishing national and international early warning systems and improving storage systems. Aid may only be granted to countries receiving food aid from the European Community and its Member States or other international or regional organisations, including NGOs. The measures financed may include studies, the establishment of infrastructures, etc.
This type of aid only accounts for a small proportion of the allocated budget (less than 5%).

Implementing procedures for financial aid

The Community’s contribution takes the form of grants. In practice, the aid is provided via two forms of financial aid:

  • direct aid integrated in the broader budget of the recipient country. It is administered by the government of the recipient country within the framework of a pre-established national support strategy. The government may conclude partnership agreements with other local bodies (including NGOs). Direct aid financing has become the most common method used in recent years.
  • indirect aid provided within the framework of a contract between the EC and implementing organisations, including UN agencies and NGOs.

Aid is implemented via:

  • programme aid, covering financial assistance from the government budget;
  • project aid, relating in particular to the implementation of indirect aid;
  • food aid in kind, meaning short-term aid, for example, in the transition between relief, rehabilitation and long-term development.

The projects must respect the economic and social conditions in the recipient country. This is of particular importance when it comes to buying the necessary materials in the country.

Implementation within the Community

The Commission, assisted by a food security and food aid committee composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission, is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the Regulation. With regard to food aid in particular, the Council determines the overall amount of cereals aid laid down in the Food Aid Convention. This Convention forms part of an international agreement, of which the Community is a member, which aims to contribute to food security and improve the capacities of the international community in relation to food security.

Implementation by the Community in the recipient countries

The food security technical assistants who support the identification, follow-up, implementation and evaluation of the programmes are present in the recipient countries. To this end, the Commission has delegations in many of the countries concerned.

Until 2000, implementation also involved the RESAL programme (European Food Security Network) which was supported by the Commission. However, following the 2000 evaluation report, this was replaced by more decentralised implementation in the recipient countries.

Eligible countries

The annex to the Regulation provides a list of eligible countries which is regularly updated. In line with the aim of poverty reduction, priority is given to the poorest sections of the population and to low-income countries with serious food shortages.

Particular attention is also paid to countries in post-crisis situations where food aid is required but where the situation does not allow the development of a food-aid strategy.

Actors other than the Community and the recipient countries

Implementation of Community aid in this field involves many actors other than the Community and the recipient countries. The two main actors in this sense are:

  • non-profit-making non-governmental organisations
    The participation of NGOs is an important aspect of the implementation of development aid. These organisations must meet certain criteria relating to their capacities and experience in this field. In general, they must also be European. These criteria are similar to those set out in the Regulation on NGO financing;
  • international, regional, and local organisations, etc.
    The Community may cofinance initiatives undertaken by other actors with the same objectives. It is essential to ensure close coordination between all the actors. The international actors include, in particular, the WHO and the UN, with whom the Community has close relations.

Evaluation

The Commission must carry out regular evaluations of the food-aid operations and forward these to the committee. It must also submit an annual report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Regulation. The report should include, inter alia, information on the projects and their financing and the relevant statistics concerning the countries in question.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1292/96 8.7.1996 – 31.12.2006 OJ L 166 of 5.7.1996
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1726/2001 2.9.2001 OJ L 234 of 1.9.2001

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation [Official Journal L 378 of 27.12.2006]

This Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No 1292/96.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – Evaluation and future orientation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1292/96 on foodaid policy and foodaid management and special operations in support of food security [COM(2001)473 final. Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission has concluded that there is no need to modify the content of the Regulation. However, there is a need to clarify the role of the Regulation in the context of the Community’s priorities in relation to the development policy and the progress achieved. This is particularly important as the Community carried out a significant reform of its development policy in 1998 and food security has become one of the Community’s six priorities in this area. As a result, the food-aid policy and food security policy must be integrated more successfully into the Community’s general development policy. It is important to note that the Commission considers that as many operations implemented under the Regulation are medium to long-term operations, it is too early to carry out a truly exhaustive evaluation of the implementation of the Regulation.

Role of the Regulation

With regard to the role of the Regulation, food security is part of the Community’s broader objectives in relation to development policy, in other words promoting sustainable development that leads to poverty reduction. The Commission should thus integrate the food security strategies and objectives into the national development strategies to ensure optimum consistency and efficiency. It is also essential to maintain a priority food security dimension in the Regulation. This is an important instrument for development which enables the Community to tackle problems such as structural food insecurity with a view to achieving long-term poverty reduction, lack of supply at national and regional level, as well as specific nutritional problems. It is also an important means of bridging the gap between relief, rehabilitation and development. Furthermore, it is necessary to clarify the division of responsibilities in relation to all development instruments. The role of food security interventions is different to that of other operations. Food security interventions aim to tackle the underlying structural causes of food insecurity at national level (inadequate supply), at household level (insufficient access) and at individual level (food use and nutritional adequacy).

Guiding principles

The report sets out new guiding principles for the implementation of the Regulation. Apart from the complete integration of interventions within country and regional strategies, the guiding principles include the following:

  • food security programmes should support changes in the policy and institutional environment necessary for achieving sustained economic growth and poverty reduction;
  • in post-crisis situations, support to food security will be focused on linking humanitarian and relief aid and long-term development;
  • interventions will be appraised in terms of their direct and indirect impact on the incomes of the poor;
  • interventions should be consistent with the Code of Conduct for Food Aid agreed between the Community and the Member States. This involves, in particular, giving priority to local and regional purchases and mobilising aid on the grounds of its efficiency as an instrument to address nutritional problems and increase access to food.

Implementing procedures for financial aid
The Commission will retain the indirect and direct instruments and, overall, the trend in favour of direct aid and structural aid should continue. This aid facilitates ownership by partner countries and encourages multilateral trading in foodstuffs. It also has a benign impact on local food markets, etc. Although direct aid has a more important role, it does not completely replace programme aid and food aid in kind. These types of aid are essential in certain circumstances (in the absence of effective government, for example).

One of the main constraints in the development and implementation of country strategies and programmes is the weakness of local administrative and technical capacity. Consequently, the Commission will attach greater importance to capacity building through technical assistance and training and administrative reform programmes.

Nongovernmental actors

The Commission considers that it is important to introduce greater flexibility in relation to the role of NGOs. The Commission intends to strengthen aid-in-cash, giving NGOs greater autonomy for implementation and extending the maximum duration of projects beyond the current limit of three years.

Programming and management of resources

This involves, in particular, updating the list of eligible countries, identifying priority countries according to criteria such as the countries with a high incidence of poverty with a food security dimension, the countries with a long-term food security policy and conditions in place for effective utilisation, etc.
Interventions must be integrated within the country strategy papers and be managed according to the principles of project cycle management applicable to all Community programmes.

The European Food Security Network (RESAL) was an important instrument for the implementation of the Regulation which aimed to enhance the capacity for dialogue and proposals on food security and to help draw up viable and efficient long-term food security policies. With the expiration of these contracts, the Commission is studying possibilities for the future. Decentralised cooperation will be established with the aim, inter alia, of integrating key RESAL staff into the Commission’s EuropeAid service (service responsible for the practical implementation of the policy at Community level), mobilising high-level expertise through regional hubs, and transferring and integrating local food security units into national institutions. It is also important to speed up the programme approval process and establish systematic programme monitoring.

A second evaluation of the implementation of this Regulation took place 2003-2004.

Communication from the Commission relating to the characteristics of products to be supplied as Community food aid [Official Journal C 312, 31.10.2000].

The Communication sets out the characteristics of the products to be mobilised as aid from the Commission.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2519/97 of 16 December 1997 laying down general rules for the mobilisation of products to be supplied under Council Regulation (EC) No 1292/96 as Community food aid [Official Journal L 346, 17.12.1997].
The Regulation lays down specific rules for the implementation of the Regulation, for example conditions for invitations to tender for the supply of aid, etc.

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Topics

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

Other

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

The European Union, which is a major consumer of timber products, is drawing up a process and a package of measures to combat the growing problem of illegal logging and related trade. The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT): Proposal for an EU Action Plan [COM(2003) 251 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION PLAN

This communication proposes the implementation of a specific process and a package of measures to address the problem of illegal logging and related trade, which is becoming an increasing concern. Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested in violation of national laws.

The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

The Action Plan targets four key regions and countries which, taken together, contain nearly 60% of the world’s forests and supply a large proportion of internationally traded timber – Central Africa, Russia, Tropical South America and Southeast Asia.

COMPONENTS OF THE ACTION PLAN

The Action Plan has several facets:

Support to timber-producing countries

Efforts will be focused on promoting solutions to the problem of illegal logging which are equitable and do not have an adverse impact on poor people. The European Union could, for example, provide support to community-based forest management and help propagate lessons from its initiatives in terms of national laws and policies. It could also work with partner governments to ensure that key underlying factors, such as land tenure and access to forest resources, encourage local participation in the fight against illegal logging.

It can also help partner countries come up with systems to check that timber has been harvested legally. Putting such systems in place will also require technical, institutional and other forms of capacity building for governments, civil society and the private sector.

The timber trade

The Union will set up a long-term dialogue process with timber-producing and timber-consuming countries, with a view to extending international collaboration in the fight against illegal logging and setting up a multilateral framework as a basis for action.

In the near future, a voluntary licensing scheme will be proposed whereby partner countries issue a permit attesting to the legality of timber exported to the EU. The Commission will propose a regulation setting up the scheme. This regulation will define the products to be included and describe the licence authorisation required.

The Commission will examine the impact of further measures, notably, in the absence of multilateral progress, the applicability of a regulation designed to address imports of illegally harvested timber.

Public procurement

Practical information will be provided to contracting authorities demonstrating how to procure timber from sustainable sources under public procurement procedures currently in force in the EU.

Current public procurement legislation, as well as the proposed future legislation, offers a number of possibilities for taking into account environmental factors in public procurement procedures.

Private-sector initiatives

Measures are proposed to encourage private-sector initiatives for good practice in the forestry sector, including the use of voluntary codes of conduct to source only legal timber.

Financing and investment guarantees

Banks and financial institutions investing in forest-sector operations will be asked to draw up procedures that include, among the precautions to be taken, the social and environmental impact of loans to the forest sector and respect for the legislation in force.

Export credit agencies, for their part, will be encouraged to draw up guidelines for screening procedures and codes of practice for forest-sector projects.

Combating money laundering

The Commission will encourage Member States to designate illegal logging as a crime for the purposes of the EC Directive on money laundering.

Currently only a small number of Member States designate crimes relating to illegal logging under their money-laundering legislation.

Conflict timber

The Commission will attempt to address, through programmes of development cooperation among others, the problem of armed conflicts that are financed by illegal logging activities.

Implementation

To help implement the above activities, it is proposed that the EU provide a coordinated response, drawing on the strong points and capacities of the Commission and EU Member States. A work programme will be drawn up with the latter to assist the process.

NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF ILLEGAL LOGGING

Illegal logging is closely associated with corruption and organised crime, undermining the rule of law, principles of democratic governance and respect for human rights.

In some cases the illegal exploitation of forests is also associated with violent conflict. Profits from the illegal exploitation of forests (and of other natural resources) are often used to fund and prolong these conflicts.

Illegal logging and related trade undermines the competitiveness of legitimate forest-sector industry operations in both exporting and importing countries. In so doing, this limits these industries’ ability to conduct operations that foster sustainable forest management and sustainable development generally.

Illegal logging also causes enormous environmental damage and loss of biodiversity. In the long term, it can end up having a negative impact on the forest-based livelihoods of many of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

Illegal logging thus undermines many essential elements of the EU’s development objectives: public-sector financing for development targeted at the poor, peace, security, good governance, the fight against corruption, and sustainable environmental management.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 October 2008 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market [COM(2008) 644 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Regulation imposes obligations on persons and companies who place timber or timber products on the market within the Community to reduce, as much as possible, the risk of products derived from illegal logging being placed on the market. In particular, the Community intends to combat deforestation and biodiversity loss in the world. Operators must use a framework of procedures which:

  1. allow information regarding timber and timber products placed on the market to be made available;
  2. include a risk management procedure;
  3. plan audits to ensure the effective implementation of the system.

The Regulation establishes a list of products which the rules apply to.
Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0198).

Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT voluntary licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community [Official Journal L 347, 30.12.2005].
This Regulation establishes a Community set of rules for the import of certain timber products for the purposes of implementing the FLEGT licensing scheme. It contains measures designed to fight illegal logging and trade in the timber thus obtained, both being practices which cause heavy losses in developing countries and damage the environment. The approved measures involve setting up voluntary partnerships with a view to supporting and encouraging governance reform in those countries most severely affected by illegal logging and with a view to establishing a licensing scheme with partner countries to ensure that only legal timber coming from these countries is imported into the EU.

Mutual assistance by Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums

Mutual assistance by Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mutual assistance by Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums

Topics

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

Other

Mutual assistance by Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums

To combat international tax evasion and avoidance the European Union is strengthening collaboration between the Member States’ tax administrations and facilitate the exchange of information which appears relevant for the correct assessment of taxes on income and on capital.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 77/799/EEC of 19 December 1977 concerning mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums.

Summary

Under this Directive, Member States’ competent authorities are required to exchange any information which appears relevant for the correct assessment of taxes on income and on capital and the assessment of indirect taxes:

  • value added tax;
  • excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages:
  • excise duty on manufactured tobacco.

Taxes on income and on capital are deemed to include all taxes, irrespective of the manner in which they are levied, imposed on total income, on total capital, or on elements of income or of capital, including taxes on gains from the disposal of movable or immovable property, taxes on the amounts of wages or salaries paid by enterprises, as well as taxes on capital appreciation.

The competent authority of a Member State may request the competent authority of another Member State to forward the information referred to at point 1.

All information made known to a Member State under the directives must be kept secret in that state in the same manner as information received under its domestic legislation.

These directives impose no obligation to have enquiries carried out or to provide information if the Member State which should furnish the information would be prevented by its laws or administrative practices from carrying out these enquiries or from collecting or using this information for its own purposes.

Directive 79/1070/EEC makes some changes to the wording of Directive 77/799/EEC.

Directive 92/12/EEC amends Directive 77/799/EEC to extend its scope to cover excise duties.

Directive 2003/93/EC extends the scope of mutual assistance provided for in Directive 77/799/EEC to cover the taxes on insurance premiums referred to in Directive 76/308/EEC so as to better protect the financial interests of the Member States and the neutrality of the internal market.

Directive 2004/56/EC is designed to speed up the flow of information between Member States’ tax authorities. On direct taxation (income tax, company tax and capital gains tax), in conjunction with taxes on insurance premiums, it permits the Member States to coordinate their investigative action against cross-border tax fraud and to carry out more procedures on behalf of each other. It thus updates Directive 77/799/EEC on mutual assistance and rectifies its weaknesses.

Council Directive 2004/106/EC amends the original title and the content of Directive 77/799/EEC. As provisions covering administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties are included in Council Regulation 2073/2004, Directive 77/799/EEC will henceforth focus only on mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 77/799/EEC [adoption by consultation] 23.12.1977 01.01.1979 OJ L 336 of 27.12.1977
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 79/1070/EEC 07.12.1979 01.01.1981 OJ L 331 of 27.12.1979
Directive 92/12/EEC 06.03.1992 01.01.1993 OJ L 76 of 23.03.1992
Directive 2003/93/EC 15.10.2003 31.12.2003 OJ L 264 of 15.10.2003
Directive 2004/56/EC 29.04.2004 01.01.2005 OJ L 127 of 29.04.2004
Directive 2004/106/EC 24.12.2004 30.06.2005 OJ L 359 of 04.12.2004
Directive 2006/98/EC 1.1.2007 1.1.2007 OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006