Tag Archives: Action programme

The ASEM process

The ASEM process

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The ASEM process

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

The ASEM process (Asia-Europe meeting)

Document or Iniciative

Commission working document, of 18 April 2000: Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process (Asia-Europe Meeting) into the new decade [COM(2000) 241 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

ASEM is an informal process of dialogue bringing together the Member States, the European Commission and ten Asian countries: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

The dialogue takes place at several levels: there are Summit-level meetings, which are attended by the Asian and European Heads of State or Government and the President of the Commission, and Ministerial-level meetings on foreign affairs, finance, the economy, the environment, or science and technology. Discussions take place under three pillars: the political pillar, the economic and financial pillar, and the cultural and intellectual pillar. The larger meetings are prepared by the group of Coordinators, made up of four representatives: the Presidency, the European Commission and two Asian countries in rotation. To date, there have been four summits: in Bangkok in 1996, in London in 1998, in Seoul in 2000 and in Copenhagen in 2002. There have been many Ministerial-level meetings in the various fields.

In this document, the Commission emphasises the informal character of the process, which it regards as one of its greatest assets, and its pluralistic dimension. The Commission considers that the main comparative advantage of the process is its ability to stimulate and facilitate work in bilateral and multilateral fora, and to promote dialogue and mutual understanding in areas where a consensus can be reached.

In 2000, the Commission was concerned that the process could run out of steam if it failed to show the public and the world of business that it was still relevant to their concerns and interests. At the same time, it stressed the importance of ASEM’s potential, and called on public opinion to support the process and encourage the participation of civil society.

Priorities

In its working document, the Commission sets out general priorities for the three pillars of ASEM. Their aim is to build on the achievements of the process and deepen relations between the two regions. In the political field, and with a view to focusing on issues of common interest, the Commission proposes:

  • to intensify the high-level dialogue;
  • to strengthen networking and informal dialogue;
  • to provide for an exchange of views in the context of appropriate international institutions;
  • to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
  • to make joint efforts in addressing global issues that the partnership could further.

In the economic field: The aim is to strengthen the economic partnership, giving priority to dialogue at different levels: between companies, between the public and private sectors, between Finance and Economic Ministers, as well as maintaining a dialogue on more general socio-economic issues.

The intensification of the dialogue between the Economic Ministers and their Senior Officials should:

  • promote the strengthening of the WTO multilateral trade system;
  • strengthen two-way trade and investment flows;
  • establish an enhanced climate for business cooperation;
  • enhance dialogue and cooperation in key sectors for the future, such as infrastructure, transport, high-technology, services, telecommunications.

In the cultural and intellectual fields, ASEM should focus on promoting enhanced contacts and strengthened mutual awareness between the peoples of the two regions. The Commission calls for enhanced dialogue and cooperation in the fields of science and technology, the environment, social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the promotion of networking and increased contact and exchanges in the field of education. It proposes to continue to lend support to the Asia-Europe Foundation as a catalyst for cultural and intellectual dialogue between the two regions.

The Commission sets five specific priorities for the Seoul Summit:

  • an enhanced exchange of views on regional and global security issues;
  • enhanced dialogue and cooperation on trade, social policy and economic issues;
  • intensified educational exchanges;
  • cooperation in the field of consumer protection;
  • a possible broadening of participation in the ASEM process.

Related Acts

(September 2002)

The Copenhagen Summit approved the Copenhagen Declaration on Cooperation against International Terrorism and the Copenhagen Cooperation Programme on Fighting International Terrorism. The Summit also agreed that ASEM’s priorities would be closer economic cooperation, cooperation in the social, educational and environmental fields and a dialogue on cultures and civilisations. The next summit will take place in Vietnam in 2004.

Seoul Summit (October 2000)

This Summit, which is recognised as a historic milestone in the evolution of the ASEM process, approved the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000, building on the decisions taken in London. It sets a common vision for the future, as well as the aims, priorities and mechanisms to take the process into the 21st century. The partners agreed to strive for a common goal of maintaining peace and stability, and of promoting conditions conducive to sustainable economic and social development. Other ASEM initiatives were endorsed, relating to globalisation and information technology, the development of human resources, the environment, health, and transnational law enforcement matters.

In addition to coordination mechanisms, the Framework proposes that the Economy, Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministers meet regularly, at least once a year. A group of ASEM contact officials will facilitate exchanges of information.

London Summit (April 1998)

The London Summit adopted an Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework and established an Asia-Europe Vision Group to examine medium and long term perspectives for relations between the two regions. The Heads of State or Government also endorsed an action plan on trade facilitation and another on promoting investment. In response to the economic and financial crisis in Asia, they also agreed to create an ASEM Trust Fund and a European financial expertise network to overcome the effects of the crisis and avert new crises.

The process must be conducted on a basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefits. It need not be institutionalised and should be an open and evolutionary process, managing the three pillars in parallel. The priorities set form the basis of those taken up by the Commission in 2000. The summit also refers to the need for increased cooperation in the fields of science and technology, culture, human resources, development, the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and international organised crime.

The Cooperation Framework provides that the Foreign Affairs Ministers and their Senior Officials are responsible for the overall coordination of ASEM activities. Any proposals for new activities must be beneficial to both parties, contribute to the general objectives, propose well-defined goals and actors, avoid duplicating activities and involve a sufficient number of partners.

Bangkok Summit (March 1996)

At the inaugural ASEM in Bangkok, the Heads of State or Government decided to establish an Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre in Bangkok. They also decided to set up an Asia-Europe Foundation with headquarters in Singapore, an Asia-Europe university programme and youth exchange programmes to strengthen cultural ties. They also agreed to conduct a study on the integration of the trans-Asian rail network and its possible integration into the trans-European network.

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Document or Iniciative

Council Joint Action 2007/501/CFSP of 16 July 2007 on cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism in the framework of the implementation of the European Union counter-terrorism strategy.

Summary

This Joint Action offers the support of the European Union (EU) to the Member States of the African Union (AU). Its objective is to improve the organisation of the capacities of the Member States of the AU in the fight against terrorism and to strengthen cooperation, in particular through the exchange of information.

The EU undertakes to provide financial support to the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) with a view to improving the efficiency of the counter-terrorism arrangements of the African countries.

African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Since its creation in 2004, the ACSRT has been responsible for evaluating the terrorist threat in Africa and for promoting intra-African cooperation against terrorism. It deals more specifically with carrying out training measures, conducting studies, setting up databases for gathering, exchanging and analysing information, as well as for terrorism-related surveillance and alerts.

Project

The project consists in carrying out audit missions on national counter-terrorism arrangements and providing advice on reorganisation in the AU Member States. To achieve this, an action plan, drawn up by the EU, will be presented at the next seminar in Addis Ababa.

This seminar will bring together two representatives from the 53 countries of the AU, Morocco, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the ACSRT and each EU Member State, as well as the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator.

At the close of the seminar, the African States will declare whether they wish to receive an audit mission or not. The audit teams will be made up of two specialists from the EU Member States and one member of the ACSRT and will be responsible for drawing up reports containing recommendations. If they are accepted by the audited countries, the latter will implement them, with monitoring by the ACSRT.

In parallel, the evaluations recording the possible improvements are forwarded to the ACSRT, which in turn sends them to the Council for communication to the Member States. On the basis of these evaluations, the ACSRT, with the agreement of the EU, can make recommendations to the audited countries.

Implementation

The Presidency, assisted by the Secretary-General of the Council/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), is responsible for the implementation of this Joint Action.

The ACSRT is responsible for:

  • the technical implementation of the project;
  • the organisation of the Addis Ababa seminar;
  • contact with the States which have accepted the action plan;
  • proper management of the audit missions in operational and financial terms;
  • coordination of the project;
  • drawing up regular project evaluation reports.

The Council and the Commission ensure consistency between the implementation of this Joint Action and other external activities of the Community.

Terms and conditions

The project implementation budget amounts to EUR 665 000. The Commission is responsible for supervising the proper management of expenditure, supplying the information relating to the financial aspects, concluding a financing agreement with the ACSRT and informing the Council of any difficulties.

The Joint Action enters into force on the day of its adoption and expires 18 months after the conclusion of the financing agreement or on 16 July 2008, if no agreement has been concluded before that date.

Background

This Joint Action is part of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, the EU’s strategy for Africa, the Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa and the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, signed in Algiers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Joint Action 2007/501/CFSP 16.7.2007 OJ L 185 of 17.7.2007

EU Youth Strategy

EU Youth Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU Youth Strategy

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Education training youth sport > Youth

EU Youth Strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 April 2009 – An EU Strategy for Youth: Investing and Empowering – A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities [COM(2009) 200 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication provides a strategy for future youth policies. It seeks to establish a cross-sectoral approach to empower young people in Europe to face a number of current challenges, in particular regarding education, employment, social inclusion and health. Young people should be given the resources and opportunities to achieve autonomy.

The current framework of cooperation, which will expire in 2009, has introduced a youth dimension in other policy fields as well as served to influence national policy-making. Nevertheless, the framework needs to be developed further, both in terms of its coordination and its impact on other policy areas. The scope of the framework also needs to be enlarged to reach young people with fewer opportunities.

The EU’s vision for young people is based on two approaches: investing in and empowering youth. The proposed new strategy pays particular attention to youth with fewer opportunities. Collaboration between youth and other policy areas, as well as collaborative policy-making through the renewed open method of coordination (OMC) will be improved. In the context of the latter, young people will also be able to express themselves in a structured dialogue.

The new long-term strategy consists of three overarching and interconnected aims that are closely associated with those of the renewed social agenda, with several fields of action proposed under each aim. Each field of action consists of a short-term objective and specific actions to be undertaken by Member States and the Commission, based on their respective spheres of competence. These will be assessed every three years.

Under the aim of creating more education and employment opportunities for young people, the following fields of action are proposed:

  • education: non-formal education should be better integrated to complement formal education, its quality should be developed and outcomes recognised;
  • employment: to facilitate the transition of young people from school, inactivity or unemployment to work, national and European employment policy actions should respect the principles of flexicurity. Moreover, education should aim to provide the skills demanded by the labour market;
  • creativity and entrepreneurship: the development of talent, creative skills, entrepreneurial mindsets and cultural expressions should be promoted among young people.

The following fields of action are proposed under the aim of improving young people’s access and full participation in society:

  • health and sport: to prevent and treat obesity, injury, addictions and substance abuse, promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles among young people and encourage collaboration between youth workers, health professionals and sporting organisations;
  • participation: to increase young people’s participation in the civic life of their communities as well as in representative democracy, provide support to youth organisations, encourage the participation of non-organised youth and provide better information services for young people.

The aim of fostering mutual solidarity between young people and society incorporates the following fields of action:

  • social inclusion: to prevent the social exclusion of young people, the relevant actors such as parents, teachers as well as social and youth workers should be mobilised;
  • volunteering: to support volunteering by young people, more opportunities, including cross-border, should be developed, obstacles removed and recognition of the value of non-formal education enhanced;
  • youth and the world: the existing youth networks and tools should be used to involve young people in global policy-making.

Youth work can provide an added value to the fight against unemployment, school failure and social exclusion. More support and recognition should thus be given to youth work, which should also become increasingly professional. To achieve this, Member States and the Commission are invited to promote the financing and quality of youth work, as well as the skills and mobility of youth workers. The Commission is committed to further examining the economic and social contribution of youth work.

For the new integrated cooperation framework in the field of youth, cross-sectoral policy approaches need to be developed at all levels. For the monitoring of its implementation, permanent and regular dialogue should be established at the EU level and between Member States and young people. With a view to improving policy-making, peer-learning exercises in the form of high-level seminars for political cooperation and clusters for technical expertise are proposed, which would also see the involvement of relevant stakeholders. Policy-making should also be evidence-based. To this end, current tools to acquire knowledge of the youth field should be used and further developed. The Commission also proposes to further develop other evidence-seeking instruments, such as studies and Eurobarometer surveys. Furthermore, existing EU programmes and funds, most notably the Youth-in-Action programme, should be used to support youth policy and to provide opportunities for young people, and measures should be taken to ensure the widespread availability of information about these opportunities.

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

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Education training youth sport > Youth

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-18)

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 27 November 2009 on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) [Official Journal C 311 of 19.12.2009].

Summary

For Europe to attain the objectives regarding growth and jobs set by the Lisbon strategy, it is imperative that its young men and women are socially as well as professionally well integrated. Such integration also promotes young people’s personal fulfilment, social cohesion and active citizenship. However, young people still face challenges in terms of employment, education and training, poverty, health, and participation and democratic representation. Therefore, a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field has been designed to provide better opportunities for Europe’s young people.

This renewed framework is based on the Commission’s communication of April 2009 on the new European Union (EU) Youth Strategy. It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of European cooperation by establishing a strategy for the next decade that builds on the progress made and lessons learned under the previous framework.

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18 is motivated by two interrelated objectives:

  • the creation of more and equal opportunities in education and the labour market;
  • the promotion of active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity.

To this end, specific initiatives targeting young people and mainstreaming initiatives to incorporate youth issues into other policy areas are developed and promoted. The renewed framework outlines eight fields of action in which cross-sectoral initiatives to support young people should be taken:

  • education and training;
  • employment and entrepreneurship;
  • health and well-being;
  • participation;
  • voluntary activities;
  • social inclusion;
  • youth and the world;
  • creativity and culture.

European cooperation in the youth field must uphold a number of guiding principles, particularly:

  • promote gender equality;
  • combat all forms of discrimination;
  • consider differences between young people, especially in terms of disadvantage;
  • provide for the participation of young people in policy-making.

European cooperation should be evidence-based, relevant and concrete with clear and visible results that are regularly presented, reviewed and disseminated. It should be applied through a renewed framework of open method of coordination. This requires political commitment from EU countries and working methods based on:

  • a series of 3-year work cycles (the first cycle covers the years 2010-12);
  • an overall thematic priority for each trio presidency and specific priorities for each presidency country contributing to the overall thematic priority (the priorities for the period from 2010 to mid-2011 are set out in the annex to the resolution);
  • implementation instruments (knowledge building, mutual learning, progress reporting, dissemination of results, monitoring of the process, dialogue with young people, mobilisation of EU programmes and funds).

Within this renewed framework for European cooperation, the role of youth work must be strengthened. It should be supported and recognised for its social as well as economic contribution. The discussion should focus on the training, recognition of skills and mobility of youth workers and leaders, as well as on the promotion of innovative solutions in youth work.

Role of EU countries and the Commission

EU countries are called upon to work together on the basis of this resolution, with a view to improving European cooperation in the youth field. They should adopt national level measures that contribute to achieving the objectives set for this cooperation.

The Commission is invited to work with EU countries as well as to support their cooperation within the framework. The Commission should monitor the achievement of the objectives, in relation to which it should establish a working group to review data on the situation of young people and evaluate the need to develop new indicators for fields related to youth. The Commission should also propose peer-learning activities and initiate relevant studies.

Background

Established in June 2002, the framework for European cooperation in the youth field provided for the application of the open method of coordination in this context as well as for the mainstreaming of youth issues into other relevant policy areas. The European Youth Pact was adopted in March 2005 to contribute to reaching the objectives of growth and jobs of the Lisbon strategy. The renewed social agenda of July 2008 established children and youth as one of its main priority areas for action.

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [Official Journal C 168 of 13.7.2002].

Summary

Adopting the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”, the Commission suggested a new framework of European cooperation in the youth field, comprising two strands: firstly, the application of the open method of coordination and, secondly, taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies. This resolution follows on from this White Paper by setting the priorities and the timetable for the European Union’s (EU) work up until 2004 in the field of “youth”.

For cooperation based on the open method of coordination

In the updated cooperation framework, based in particular on the open method of coordination, the Council is proposing four priority themes:

  • encouraging young people’s participation in the exercise of active citizenship and civil society. This means supporting the work of youth associations and other forms of active participation in order to improve young people’s participation and social cohesion. The exchange of good practices is essential here;
  • enhancing the information addressed to young people and existing information services for young people (successive reports deal with participation and information together);
  • promoting voluntary activities among young people. Making it easier for young people to find voluntary work so as to develop their sense of responsibility and citizenship and their active participation in society. Public authorities, businesses and civil society are called on to recognise the value of voluntary work so as to improve young people’s opportunities on the labour market;
  • encouraging greater understanding and knowledge of youth. This comprises, in particular, the compilation of studies on youth matters and the networking of research structures.

On the basis of these four priorities, the Commission will be sending targeted questionnaires to EU countries from July 2002 onwards. EU countries’ answers should be based on consultation with young people, youth associations and, where applicable, national youth councils or similar organisations. The Commission will then draw up reports in order to identify good practices of common interest for EU countries and proposals for common objectives to be adopted by the Council.

For their part, EU countries are called on to implement the measures they judge appropriate in order to achieve the common objectives set by the Council.

Taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies

The Council calls on the Commission and EU countries to give the “youth” dimension greater priority in other policies and programmes. The Council, in cooperation with the Commission, reserves the right to add to the priority areas stated in the White Paper (education and lifelong learning, mobility, employment and social integration, combating racism and xenophobia and other priorities).

UPDATED FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

The new framework for cooperation is updated by the resolution adopted by the Council on 24 November 2005. This framework for cooperation comprises three strands:

Promoting active citizenship among young people

The open method of coordination in the field of youth allows EU countries to cooperate with a view to sharing best practice on participation by young people, information for young people, voluntary activities and a greater knowledge of the field of youth, while respecting the areas of responsibility set out in the Treaties.

The European Pact for Youth

The European Pact highlights youth issues in key areas of the Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs, particularly in relation to young people’s access to the labour market, development of their creativity and the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills. The European Pact also highlights skills acquired through high-quality, relevant education, training and mobility experiences in the formal as well as the non-formal sector, and reconciliation of working life and family life.

Incorporating a youth dimension

Incorporating a youth dimension in other European policies will concern in particular anti-discrimination, healthy lifestyles, including sport, and research on youth issues.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 25 October 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth: evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Youth in Action

Youth in Action

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth in Action

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Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 aims to pursue and strengthen European Union (EU) action and cooperation under the Youth action programme (2000-06) and the programme to promote bodies active in the youth field (2004-06). With a view to involving young people in society as active citizens, the programme is intended to strengthen their sense of belonging to Europe. It also aims to contribute to quality education and training in the broader sense and help young people develop a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding.

Objectives

The programme has five general objectives that complement EU activities (training, culture, sport or employment) and contribute to the development of EU policies (cultural diversity, social cohesion, sustainable development and anti-discrimination). Each of these general objectives is subdivided into specific objectives.

The general objective to promote young people’s active citizenship, which also involves promoting their European citizenship, is made up of ten specific objectives:

  • giving young people and the organisations that represent them the opportunity to take part in the development of society and of the EU;
  • developing a sense of belonging to the EU;
  • encouraging the participation of young people in the democratic life of Europe;
  • fostering young people’s mobility in Europe;
  • developing intercultural learning;
  • promoting the fundamental values of the EU;
  • encouraging initiative, enterprise and creativity;
  • facilitating participation in the programme by young people with fewer opportunities, including young people with disabilities;
  • ensuring that the principle of equality between men and women is respected in selecting the participants for the programme and that gender equality is fostered in the actions;
  • providing non-formal and informal learning opportunities with a European dimension and opening up innovative opportunities in connection with active citizenship.

The general objective to develop solidarity among young people aims to promote tolerance and thus reinforce social cohesion by means of two specific objectives:

  • giving young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through voluntary activities at European and international level;
  • involving young people in EU solidarity actions.

The general objective to foster mutual understanding between young people in different countries includes three specific objectives:

  • developing exchanges and intercultural dialogue between young people in the EU and in neighbouring countries;
  • promoting the quality of national support structures for young people and the role of persons and organisations active in youth work;
  • developing transnational thematic cooperation projects involving young people and those active in youth work.

The general objective to develop the quality of support systems for youth activities and the capabilities of civil society organisations in the youth field aims to:

  • contribute to the networking of organisations;
  • develop the training of, and collaboration between, those active in youth work;
  • promote innovation in the development of activities for young people;
  • improve information for young people, including the access of young people with disabilities to this information;
  • support long-term youth projects and initiatives of regional and local bodies;
  • facilitate the recognition of young people’s acquired skills;
  • promote the exchange of good practices.

The general objective to promote European cooperation in the youth field takes due account of local and regional aspects and is made up of four specific objectives:

  • encouraging the exchange of good practices and cooperation between administrations and policymakers;
  • encouraging structured dialogue between policymakers and young people;
  • improving knowledge and understanding of youth;
  • contributing to the cooperation between various national and international youth voluntary activities.

Actions

The five actions contained in the programme aim to implement its general and specific objectives. These actions support small-scale projects promoting the active participation of young people, while ensuring the European visibility and impact of projects. These projects are local, regional, national or international, including the networking of similar projects in different participating countries.

The “Youth for Europe” action mainly seeks to strengthen exchanges between young people with a view to fostering their mobility, whilst reinforcing their feeling of being European citizens. The emphasis is placed on participation by young people, whether this is in projects to develop awareness of social and cultural diversity and mutual understanding or to reinforce participation at a linguistic and intercultural level. These exchanges are based on transnational partnerships.

This action also aims to encourage young people to come up with their own projects, thus supporting their initiative, enterprise and creativity.

The participative democracy projects promoting citizenship and mutual understanding also fall within the scope of this action. They support the involvement of young people at local, regional, national or international level, as well as projects and activities based on international partnerships for the exchange of ideas, experiences and good practices at European level on projects at local and regional level.

The “European Voluntary Service” action aims to strengthen young people’s participation in various forms of voluntary activities, both within and outside the EU, with a view to developing solidarity and promoting active citizenship and mutual understanding among young people.

This action supports:

  • young volunteers who take part in a non-profit, unpaid activity to the benefit of the general public in any country other than their country of residence for a period of two to twelve months;
  • volunteer projects involving groups of young people who take part in activities at local, regional, national, European or international level, in fields such as culture, sport, civil protection, the environment and development aid;
  • activities for the training and tutoring of young volunteers and coordination activities for the various partners, as well as initiatives that aim to build on experience gained by young people during European Voluntary Service.

The action covers the volunteers’ expenses, insurance, subsistence and travel, as well as an additional allowance for young people with fewer opportunities where appropriate.

EU countries and the Commission ensure compliance with quality standards, including a non-formal education dimension (activities to prepare young people at a personal, intercultural and technical level and ongoing personal support), the substance of the partnerships and risk prevention.

The “Youth of the world” action contributes to the development of young people’s mutual understanding and active engagement through an open-minded approach to the world. The aim of this action is to support projects conducted with non-EU countries that have signed agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field, such as exchanges of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. It also supports initiatives that reinforce young people’s mutual understanding, sense of solidarity and tolerance, as well as cooperation in the field of youth and civil society in these countries.

The programme distinguishes projects conducted with the neighbouring countries (European neighbourhood policy (ENP) partner countries, Russia and western Balkan countries) from those conducted with other non-EU countries. Preference is given to the exchange of ideas and good practices, the development of partnerships and networks and the development of civil society.

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

  • bodies active at European level: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pursuing a goal of general European interest and involved in the active participation of young people in public life and society and in the implementation of European cooperation activities in this field;
  • the European Youth Forum and its activities in representing youth organisations vis-à-vis the EU, its function as an information relay to young people or its contribution to the new cooperation framework in the youth field. The annual resources allocated to the Forum shall not be less than EUR 2 million even though at least 20 % of its budget must be covered by non-EU sources;
  • training and networking of those active in youth work, such as project leaders and youth advisers. The support may cover, for example, the exchange of experiences and good practices or the activities of long-lasting, high quality partnerships and networks;
  • projects encouraging innovation and quality, as well as innovative approaches in this field;
  • information activities for young people and persons and organisations active in youth work, such as those improving their access to relevant information and communication services. These may be European, national, regional and local youth portals or measures that promote the involvement of young people in the preparation and dissemination of understandable, user-friendly and targeted information products and advice;
  • partnerships with regional or local bodies whose funding focuses on projects and coordination activities;
  • support for the structures implementing the programme: the national agencies or assimilated bodies (national coordinators, Eurodesk network, Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform, associations of young European volunteers, etc.);
  • adding value to the programme and its implementation by the Commission through the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, etc.) or information actions.

The “Support for European cooperation in the youth field” action aims to organise structured dialogue between the various actors in the field of youth, i.e. young people themselves, persons and organisations active in this sector and policymakers. The activities may cover:

  • the promotion of cooperation and exchanges of ideas and good practices and the development of the networks necessary to a better understanding and knowledge of youth;
  • the organisation of conferences by the EU Presidencies and of the European Youth Week and support for objectives in the field of youth through the open method of coordination (OMC) and the European Youth Pact;
  • cooperation between national and international youth voluntary activities;
  • seminars on social, cultural and political issues for young people;
  • the development of political cooperation and cooperation by the EU with other international organisations (the Council of Europe, the United Nations, etc.).

Implementation

The programme is intended for non-profit projects for young people, groups of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. In principle, it is aimed at young people aged from 15 to 28 (under certain conditions from 13 to 30).

The programme is open to EU countries, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), EU candidate countries, countries of the western Balkans, Switzerland (subject to the conclusion of a bilateral agreement) and non-EU countries (or partner countries) that have signed cooperation agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field. It is also open to cooperation with international organisations operating in this field, such as the Council of Europe.

The programme’s budget for the period 2007-13 is € 885 million.

The Commission and the participating countries implementing the programme shall make provision for the necessary structures at European, national and, if required, regional or local level. In this respect, the Commission shall be assisted by a management committee made up of representatives of EU countries and chaired by a Commission representative. Most of the implementation measures must be adopted in accordance to the management procedure. Only decisions regarding the awarding of small grants, which do not involve sensitive decision-making, shall not be adopted in comitology. The programme is mainly managed on a decentralised basis by independent national agencies that must comply with the rules of sound financial management and be subject to audits and financial inspections. However, the centralised projects are managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

In addition, the Commission and the participating countries shall take appropriate measures to encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning of young people (documents, certificates, etc.) and of the experience gained through the programme.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1719/2006/EC

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1349/2008/EC

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Decision No 1719/2006/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Commission Report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2011 – Interim evaluation of the ‘Youth in Action’ Programme [COM(2011) 220 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 2011/82/EU of 31 January 2011 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the ‘Youth in Action’ programme and in the action programme in the field of lifelong learning (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 32 of 8.2.2011].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representative of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on youth work [Official Journal C 327 of 4.12.2010].

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

The Commission proposes a strategic approach to improving the recognition of rare diseases and patient access to suitable treatment. It supports cooperation between the European Union (EU) Member States and the development of a network of experts made up of health professionals.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 November 2008 on Rare Diseases – Europe’s challenges [COM(2008) 679 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Rare diseases, 80% being genetic in origin, are defined as those diseases which affect not more than 5 per 10 000 persons in Europe. The limited number of patients accounts for the current low level of medical knowledge and expertise, even though these diseases can lead to the death or disability of the people affected.

This communication presents a comprehensive Community strategy aimed at supporting the recognition, prevention, management and treatment of rare diseases. The Commission encourages Member States to share their knowledge and resources in this field. The Commission will be assisted by the European Union Advisory Committee on Rare Diseases (EUACRD).

Identification and visibility

The Commission is contributing to the development of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to the classification and codification of rare diseases in the new version of this classification. The Commission also supports the development of an evolving European database aimed at professionals and patients.

Information networks and European Reference Networks for rare diseases are essential means for exchanging best practice and epidemiological expertise.

Screening, diagnosis and prevention

Member States should be able to use comparable data with regard to the screening and primary prevention of rare diseases. Early diagnosis of diseases can be made using biological tests. The design and validation of these tests can be facilitated through the establishment of European reference networks of expert diagnostic laboratories.

Access to care

Member States are undertaking concrete measures to ensure the quality of and universal access to care, in particular by establishing centres of expertise at national and regional levels. Their activity could be extended to providing social services in order to improve the quality of life of patients.

Access to medication

National authorities should proceed with a joint scientific assessment of orphan medicinal products. Member States should adapt their pricing and reimbursement systems on the basis of this assessment.

The Commission requests that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) encourage a common approach to improving access to compassionate use programmes. These programmes allow the provision of new medicines before they have been approved and/or reimbursed.

Regulations applicable to medical devices should be adapted to the market for orphan medicinal products. The Commission should also provide for incentive measures to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments.

e-Health

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) contribute to facilitating the exchange of scientific data. The telemedicine systems and services can enable professionals to share their expertise and to gain specialist knowledge.

Scientific research is supported by the 7th Framework Programme, which funds the development of computer assisted modelling, in particular, with the aim of increasing knowledge of the physiological and pathological processes of rare diseases.

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Council recommendation of 11 November 2008 on a European action in the field of rare diseases[COM(2008) 726 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Proposal is based on the conclusions of the communication of 11 November 2008 which promotes a European strategic approach to rare diseases. In this context, the Council invites Member States to:

  • establish strategies and national plans before 2013 in order to ensure universal access to and the high quality of care;
  • adopt a European definition of rare diseases so that they can be referenced and coded more easily in care and reimbursement systems;
  • identify research priorities and ongoing projects, with particular regard to basic, clinical and translational research and enable patients to benefit from new therapeutic advances;
  • encourage the development of national and regional centres of expertise, cross-border care and expert networks;
  • adopt common methods in terms of screening, treatment and monitoring therapeutic techniques;
  • support the activities of parent associations;
  • ensure the viability of research infrastructures at national and European levels.

The Commission is invited to inform the Council on the progress of actions undertaken by Member States as part of the comprehensive strategy on rare diseases.

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Topics

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

Regional policy > Management of regional policy > Trans-european networks

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1336/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1997 on a series of guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks [Official Journal L 183 of 11.07.1997]. [See amending acts].

Summary

In this Decision, the European Parliament and the Council establish guidelines covering the objectives, priorities and broad lines of action proposed for trans-European networks. These guidelines set out the areas selected for projects of common interest and establish a procedure for the identification of specific projects of common interest in these areas.

The following priorities are established for the achievement of the objectives set out in point 1 above:

  • study and validation of technical and commercial feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications supporting the development of a European information society, in particular applications of collective interest;
  • study and validation of feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications contributing to economic and social cohesion, by improving access to information across the whole Union, building on European cultural diversity;
  • stimulation of trans-boundary interregional initiatives and of initiatives involving regions, in particular the less favoured ones, for the launch of trans-European telecommunications services and applications;
  • study and validation of feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications and services contributing to the strengthening of the internal market and job creation, in particular those offering to SMEs means to improve their competitiveness in the Community and at world level;
  • identification, study and validation of technical and commercial feasibility, followed by the deployment of trans-European generic services providing seamless access to all kinds of information, including in rural and peripheral areas, and interoperable with equivalent services at world level;
  • study and validation of the feasibility of new integrated broadband communication (IBC) networks, where required for such applications and services, and the promotion of such networks;
  • identification and removal of gaps and missing links for effective interconnection and interoperability of all components of telecommunications networks in Europe and at world level, with particular emphasis on IBC networks.

The broad lines of measures to be implemented for achieving the objectives defined in point 1 will cover:

  • identification of projects of common interest by the establishment of a work programme;
  • action aiming at increasing the awareness of citizens, economic operators and administrations about the benefits they can draw from the new advanced trans-European telecommunications services and applications;
  • action aiming at the stimulation of combined initiatives from users and providers for the launch of projects in the field of trans-European telecommunications networks, in particular IBC networks;
  • support, within the framework of the methods laid down by the Treaty, for action to study and validate the feasibility, followed by the deployment, of applications, in particular applications of collective interest, and encouragement of the establishment of public/private collaboration, in particular through partnerships;
  • stimulation of the supply and use of services and applications for SMEs and professional users;
  • promotion of the interconnectivity of networks, the interoperability of broadband services and applications and the infrastructure they require, in particular for multimedia applications, and interoperability between existing services and applications and their broadband counterparts.

The projects designated are eligible for Community support in accordance with the provisions of the Council Regulation laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks.

Member States shall take all measures required at national, regional or local level to facilitate and accelerate the implementation of the projects of common interest in accordance with Community rules.

The Commission shall report every three years on the application of this Decision to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Annex 1 to the Decision defines the three-layer model which is the most appropriate way of describing trans-European telecommunications networks:

  • The “applications” level caters for user needs, taking into account cultural and linguistic differences and, in particular, the accessibility requirements of disabled people. These applications also seek to cater for the specific needs of less developed or less populated regions.
    The areas concerned are the following: a) e-government and e-administration: (e.g. e-procurement activities, personal security, environment and tourism, business support for SMEs and participation in the democratic decision-making process); b) improved access to health services and improvements in the quality of care (e.g. networking of health care institutions, actions on disease prevention and health promotion); c) education and culture (e.g. new ways of presenting educational and cultural information, life-long learning and participation of older people and people with disabilities in the information society).
  • The “generic services” level provides common tools for the development and implementation of new applications based on interoperable standards.
    The areas concerned are the following: a) the mobile services (e.g. for the 2.5-3G mobile networks: guidance and navigation, security, invoicing, emergency services, health, teleworking, learning and culture); b) services in the public interest aimed at all aspects of security (e.g. networking of the national CERT systems).
  • The “interconnection and interoperability of networks” level promotes the interconnection, interoperability and security of networks underpinning the operation of specific public interest applications and services.

The Community is taking additional back-up and coordinating measures with a view to creating the appropriate environment for the realisation of these projects. The actions will contribute to programme awareness, and to consensus development centred on European, national, regional and local activities designed to stimulate and promote the new services and applications. They will necessitate consultation with European standardisation and planning bodies, involving essentially:

  • strategic studies on the formulation of target specifications and the transition towards their application, in order to help players in the sector to make sound economic investment decisions;
  • definition of means of accessing broadband networks;
  • establishment of common specifications based on European and world standards;
  • intensification of public and private partnerships (PPP);
  • coordination of these activities with related Community and national programmes.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 1336/97/EC 31.7.1997 OJ L of 11.7.1997
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1375/2002/EC 19.8.2002 OJ L 200 of 30.7.2002

Towards a strategy for soil protection

Towards a strategy for soil protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a strategy for soil protection

Topics

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

Environment > Soil protection

Towards a strategy for soil protection

To formulate a plan with a view to developing a Community strategy for soil protection.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication of 16 April 2002 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection [COM (2002) 179 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

One of the objectives of the Sixth Environmental Action Programme is to protect soils against erosion and pollution. It is to fulfil this objective that the Commission is publishing this Communication, which paves the way for developing a strategy on soil protection. For the purpose of this Communication, soil is defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms.

This Communication describes the functions of soil, which include:

  • producing food,
  • storing, filtering and transforming minerals, water, organic matter, gases, etc.,
  • providing raw materials,
  • being the platform for human activity.

The Communication also identifies the main threats to soil in Europe: erosion, decline in organic matter, soil contamination, soil sealing (caused by the covering of soil for housing, roads and other infrastructure), soil compaction (caused by mechanical pressure through the use of heavy machinery, overgrazing or sporting activities), decline in soil biodiversity, salinisation (excessive accumulation of soluble salts of sodium, magnesium and calcium) and floods and landslides. All these processes are either driven or exacerbated by human activity and some degradation processes have increased over recent decades. The economic consequences and restoration costs linked to the threats to soil are huge.

The Communication examines the international initiatives taken to address soil degradation, as well as action undertaken by EU Member States and Candidate Countries. As regards Community initiatives as such, the Communication stresses that an explicit Community policy does not exist at this stage. However, measures implemented under other policies (environmental, agricultural, regional, transport, research) contribute to soil protection.

Building blocks of a thematic strategy

It is therefore essential that the EU develop a Community thematic strategy for soil. This strategy will be presented in 2004. It will take into consideration the principles of precaution, anticipation and environmental responsibility, and will focus on initiatives already being undertaken in environmental policies, better integration of soil protection in other policies, soil monitoring and new actions based on monitoring results.

In environmental policy, new legislation will supplement existing legislation:

  • in 2002: 4th Daughter Directive on air quality and a directive on mining waste;
  • in 2003: revision of the Sewage Sludge Directive and Communication on Planning and Environment, focusing on sustainable use of soil;
  • by the end of 2004: directive on compost and other biowaste.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will encourage organic farming, the maintenance of terraces, safer pesticide use, use of certified compost, forestry, afforestation and other measures for soil protection. Under the review of the CAP, the Commission intends to expand the financial commitment to rural development and soil protection.

As regards soil monitoring, the Commission will propose, by June 2004, legislation on a Community information and monitoring system for soil threats. This monitoring will provide the basis for future legislative initiatives and will be used as a tool to adjust and review existing policies in the field of soil protection.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

Hercule programme

Hercule programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Hercule programme

Topics

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

Fight against fraud > Protecting the European Union’s financial interests

Hercule programme

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 804/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a Community action programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the Community’s financial interests (Hercule programme) [See amending acts].

Summary

The Hercule programme was established by Decision 804/2004/EC for the period 2004-06. By Decision 878/2007/EC, the programme was extended for the period 2007-13.

HERCULE (2004-06)

With a budget of nearly 12 million, the Hercule programme was designed to support the following measures:

  • the organisation of seminars and conferences;
  • the promotion of scientific studies and discussions on Community policies in the field of the protection of the Community’s financial interests;
  • the coordination of activities relating to the protection of the Community’s financial interests;
  • training and awareness;
  • promoting exchanges of specialised staff;
  • the dissemination of scientific information;
  • the development and supply of specific IT tools;
  • technical assistance;
  • promoting and enhancing the exchange of data. On condition that they were located in one of the 25 Member States, in the EFTA/EEA countries, on the basis of the EEA Agreement (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), in Bulgaria, Romania or Turkey, three types of organisation were eligible to receive a grant in 2004-06:
  • national or regional administrations;
  • research and education institutes with legal personality;
  • non-profit-making bodies with legal personality. Aid applications were assessed on the basis of the criteria set out in the annex to the Decision. These criteria were, inter alia, consistency of the proposed activity with the objectives of the programme, complementary nature with respect to other activities receiving support and feasibility, i.e. the specific possibilities of implementation through the means proposed.

The aid amount could not exceed the following rates:

  • 50 % of eligible expenditure for technical support;
  • 80 % of eligible expenditure for training measures, promoting exchanges between specialised staff and organising seminars and conferences;
  • 90 % of eligible expenditure for organising seminars, conferences and other events.

In addition, the amount of an operating grant awarded to finance a body’s operating expenditure could not exceed 70 % of the body’s eligible expenditure for the calendar year. If operating grants were renewed, they were degressive.

HERCULE II (2007-13)

The Hercule II programme covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013. The financial envelope for that period is 98.5 million.

The programme provides for Community financing through the granting of aid, but is also available for public procurement contracts. The rules for Community financing are laid down in Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 as subsequently amended. In contrast to the previous programme, “operating” grants can no longer be awarded. Consequently, all the funds available for 2007-013 are to be used for activity promotion through grants for activities or public procurement.

The main objectives of the Hercule II programme are:

  • to enhance cooperation between the actors in the fight against fraud damaging to the Community’s financial interests, i.e. the competent authorities in the Member States, the Commission and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF);
  • to reinforce the networks for exchange of information between Member States, the accession countries and the candidate countries;
  • to provide operational and technical support to law enforcement agencies in the Member States, particularly the customs authorities.

The Hercule II programme is designed to multiply and reinforce measures against cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting.

The organisations which are eligible for grants are the same as in the previous period, provided they are located in one of the 27 Member States, in the EFTA-EEA countries, on the basis of the EEA Agreement (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or in one of the EU candidate countries, on the basis of a memorandum of understanding. In addition, the western Balkan states, Russia and the countries covered by the European neighbourhood policy are also eligible for aid in respect of expenditure relating to participation by their representatives.

The Commission assesses applications on the basis of criteria such as the consistency of the proposed activity with the programme objectives, the relationship between the costs and benefits of the measure, the scope of the public targeted, etc. However, the aid granted cannot cover all the expenditure. The maximum rates of aid, which are the same as those that were in force for 2004-06, are as follows:

  • 50 % of eligible expenditure for technical support;
  • 80 % of eligible expenditure for training measures, promoting exchanges between specialised staff and organising seminars and conferences, in respect of national or regional administrations:
  • 90 % of eligible expenditure for organising seminars, conferences and other events, in respect of research and education institutes or non-profit-making organisations.

Throughout the period of the contract or agreement and up to five years after the final payment, the Commission may carry out inspections on the use of the Community financing. If necessary, the Commission may decide to recover the grant paid. The Commission and the persons authorised by it have the right to access the places in which the measure is implemented as well as all the information required in order to carry out the inspection. The European Court of Auditors and OLAF have the same rights.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 804/2004/EC 01.5.2004 OJ L 143, 30.4.2004
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 878/2007/EC 26.7.2007 OJ L 193, 25.07.2007