Tag Archives: Agreement

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

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Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

The agreements concluded between the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Western Balkans on facilitating the issuance of visas are intended to simplify and speed up the procedures for issuing visas to nationals of these Western Balkan countries. These agreements are, in principle, coupled with readmission agreements.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/821/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/822/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/823/EC of 8 November on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Montenegro on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/824/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/825/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Summary

The agreements concluded with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (“partner countries”) are intended to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas to citizens of these countries for stays of up to 90 days per period of 180 days.

When applying for such short-stay visas, citizens of these partner countries benefit from simplified document requirements for justifying the purpose of their journey to the European Union (EU). The documentary evidence to be presented consists of formal documents, such as a written request from the host organisation or other certificate, depending on the category of the applicant (business people, drivers for international transportation services, journalists, students, persons travelling for tourism or for medical reasons, representatives of civil society organisations, etc.).

EU countries’ diplomatic missions and consular posts may issue multiple-entry visas that are valid for up to five years to: members of the governments, parliaments, constitutional courts and supreme courts of partner countries; permanent members of official delegations; spouses and children under the age of 21 visiting citizens of partner countries legally residing in the territory of an EU country. The categories of persons who benefit from simplified document requirements may also be granted multiple-entry visas with a maximum validity period of one year. However, the person concerned must have obtained and used at least one visa during the previous year and have valid reasons for requesting a multiple-entry visa. If such a person has made use of the one-year multiple-entry visa during the previous two years, s/he may be granted a multiple-entry visa that is valid a minimum of two and a maximum of five years.

The standard fee for processing visa applications of partner countries’ citizens is 35 euros. This is waived for certain categories of persons, including close relatives, members of official delegations, students, disabled persons, children under the age of six, journalists, pensioners and drivers for international transportation services.

Visas are issued within 10 days of the receipt of the application. This may be extended to up to 30 days when further scrutiny of the application is needed or may be reduced to 3 days or even less in emergencies.

Background

The participants at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held in Thessaloniki on 21 June 2003 (“Thessaloniki Agenda”) agreed on the principle of liberalisation of the visa regime and began negotiations with a view to concluding the necessary agreements. This process, coupled with discussions on the conclusion of readmission agreements, resulted on 8 November 2007 in the adoption of a series of Council decisions, one for each of the partner countries, establishing the conclusion of agreements based on Article 62, taken in conjunction with Article 300, of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 77 and 218 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

References

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

Decision 2007/821/EC

8.11.2007

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/822/EC

8.11.2007

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/823/EC

8.11.2007

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/824/EC

8.11.2007

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/825/EC

8.11.2007

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

ITER: Euratom/Japan agreement on nuclear fusion

ITER: Euratom/Japan agreement on nuclear fusion

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ITER: Euratom/Japan agreement on nuclear fusion

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Energy > Nuclear energy

ITER: Euratom/Japan agreement on nuclear fusion

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/614/Euratom of 30 January 2007 concerning the conclusion, by the Commission, of the Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of Japan for the Joint Implementation of the Broader Approach Activities in the Field of Fusion Energy Research

Summary

The purpose of this Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Japan is to introduce a framework for the achievement of a “broader approach” in the field of fusion energy, following on from the ITER project.

The Agreement, scheduled for ten years, is open to other ITER parties.

Activities

The “broader approach” activities refer to three research projects developed in Japan:

  • the project completing the design of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF/EVEDA), for the testing and qualification of advanced materials in environment conditions comparable to those of a fusion power reactor;
  • the “satellite” Tokamak programme, to develop operating scenarios for the ITER and DEMO projects;
  • the project relating to the International Fusion Energy Research Centre, a body responsible for coordinating the DEMO design R&D, large-scale simulation of plasmas to produce fusion power by supercomputers and remote experimentation to facilitate broad participation by scientists in the experiments conducted under ITER.

Structure

The management structure for the “broader approach” activities comprises:

  • the steering committee;
  • the secretariat;
  • the project committee(s);
  • the project leader(s) and project team(s);
  • the implementing agencies.

Implementing instruments

The project plan (covering the duration of the project), which is submitted to the steering committee for approval no later than 31 March each year by each project leader after consulting the project committee, comprises:

  • a description of all the planned activities;
  • a detailed schedule of the main stages of implementation;
  • an overview of the contributions made and to be made.

After consulting the project committee, each project leader submits a work programme for the following year to the steering committee for approval, containing:

  • the points of the corresponding project plan;
  • programming specifications for the activities to be carried out (objectives, planning, current expenditure, contributions expected from each party, etc.).

Each project leader submits an annual report to the steering committee for approval (no later than 31 March of each year). This document is then forwarded to the parties and the implementing agencies.

Finally, each party is entitled to carry out a financial audit at any time during this agreement and for up to 5 years afterwards.

Resources

The resources for the implementation of the “broader approach” activities may be:

  • contributions in kind;
  • specific components, equipment and materials, as well as goods and services;
  • the experts made available to the project teams;
  • the personnel made available to the various management bodies;
  • financial contributions.

The European contribution, which mainly takes the form of contributions in kind, amounts to approximately EUR 340 million.

References

Act Entry into force Delay for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/614/Euratom

30.1.2007

OJ L 246 of 21.9.2007

Agreement on the processing and transfer of passenger name record data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security

Agreement on the processing and transfer of passenger name record data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement on the processing and transfer of passenger name record data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security

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

External relations > Industrialised countries

Agreement on the processing and transfer of passenger name record data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (2007 PNR Agreement)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/551/CFSP/JHA of 23 July 2007 on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of an Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (2007 PNR Agreement)

Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (2007 PNR Agreement).

Summary

The purpose of sharing passenger name record (PNR) data is to combat terrorism and organised crime, protect people’s vital interests and prevent the flight of individuals from warrants or custody issued against them.

This Decision consists of the Agreement, the accompanying letter from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the letter of the European Union (EU) in reply. Applicable for seven years, it requires airlines to transfer data to DHS concerning passengers transported to or from the United States. In return, DHS undertakes to guarantee a high level of protection. The Decision advocates the application of security measures on data transfers and calls on the parties to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of passengers.

Type of passenger name record (PNR) data collected

DHS obtains PNR data from the air carriers, flight tickets and travel documents. The data collected concern:

  • APIS information (name, civil status, date of birth, nationality, country of residence, etc.);
  • the journey (date of reservation/issue of ticket, travel date, itinerary, baggage, seat number, travel status of passenger, travel agency used);
  • the flight ticket (free tickets, upgrades, ticket issue, price, number, form of payment used and billing);
  • PNR (record locator code, names on PNR, split/divided PNR information and all historical changes made to PNR);
  • all available contact information;
  • OSI (Other Service Information), SSI and SSR (Special Services) data.

“Sensitive” PNR data

Sensitive PNR data relate to ethnic origin, philosophical, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership and the health and sex life of the individual. Once this information has been received, DHS employs an automatic system to filter the sensitive codes and terms. DHS undertakes not to use this information and to delete it promptly.

However, where lives are in danger and the passenger has supplied such information, DHS is authorised to use it, provided that it maintains a log of access to these data and deletes them within thirty days. It is required to inform the European Commission (within 48 hours) that it has accessed these data.

PNR data protection and transmission

The letter from DHS accompanying the Agreement explains how the latter collects, uses and stores PNR data. It treats the information as sensitive and confidential. DHS may transmit it to the US authorities responsible for law enforcement, public security or counterterrorism and to countries capable of ensuring data protection, but only for the same purposes as those for which DHS received the data (mainly to combat terrorism and organised crime).

If the air carriers have a system complying with DHS technical requirements, they will transmit the data to DHS via a ‘push’ system. On the other hand, they will transmit the data via a ‘pull’ system if the carrier has not implemented such a system. It is for the carriers to initiate the transition to a ‘push’ system.

DHS receives PNR data 72 hours before the scheduled departure. It may ask to receive them earlier if necessary. It nevertheless undertakes to make this type of request judiciously and with proportionality.

DHS retains the data in an analytical database for 7 years, after which time the data are stored for a further 8 years, but in dormant, non-operational status. They may be accessed only with approval of a senior DHS official. The two parties will reach agreement to determine when PNR data must be destroyed. Only those related to a specific investigation in progress may be retained.

Right of access and right of inspection

DHS extends the American Privacy Act provisions to PNR in its possession. Administrative, civil and penal sanctions are therefore provided for in the event of failure to respect privacy and unauthorised disclosure.

The EU, US and the aviation industry cooperate so that passengers are informed about how the governments may use the information concerning them. DHS informs and replies to questions from the public on PNR data through publications in the Federal Register and standard notices made available and published on its website.

DHS undertakes not to disclose PNR data to the public (apart from the persons concerned).

Cooperation and reciprocity

DHS transmits analytical data flowing from PNR data to the European police and judicial authorities concerned, Europol and Eurojust. The European authorities do the same to the US authorities.

Both parties ensure that their systems work effectively. The Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (EU) periodically review the application of this decision.

Background

The transfer to the US authorities of PNR data held by European airlines has been the subject of successive agreements. The most recent is dated 19 October 2006 and expired on 31 July 2007. For this reason, the Council decided (on 22 February 2007) to authorise the Presidency to open negotiations, which gave rise to the present Agreement.

This Agreement is applicable as of the date of signature. It enters into force on the first day of the month after the date on which the parties have notified one another that they have completed their internal procedures.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/551/CFSP/JHA 23.7.2007 OJ L 204 of 4.8.2007

Related Acts

Council Decision 2006/729/CFSP/JHA

of 16 October 2006 on the signing of an Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the DHS – Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the DHS [Official Journal L 298 of 27.10.2006]

Council Decision 2004/496/EC

of 17 May 2004 on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of PNR data by Air Carriers to the DHS, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection – Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of PNR data by Air Carriers to the DHS, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection [Official Journal L 183 of 20.5.2004].

Teleworking

Teleworking

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Teleworking

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Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Teleworking

The agreement aims at establishing a general framework at European level concerning the employment conditions of teleworkers and at reconciling the needs for flexibility and security shared by employers and workers. It grants teleworkers the same overall level of protection as workers who carry out their activities at the employer’s premises.

The agreement defines telework as a form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in the context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employer’s premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regular basis.

Since telework covers a wide and fast evolving spectrum of circumstances, the social partners have chosen a definition of telework that includes various forms of regular telework.

The agreement focuses on several key areas in which the specific nature of telework must be taken into account, viz:

  • voluntary nature of teleworking: telework is voluntary for the worker and the employer concerned. Telework may be required as part of a worker’s initial job description or it may be engaged in as a voluntary arrangement subsequently. In both cases, the employer provides the teleworker with relevant written information in accordance with Directive 91/533/EEC;
  • employment conditions: teleworkers benefit from the same rights as comparable workers at the employer’s premises. These rights are guaranteed by applicable legislation and collective agreements. In order to take into account the particularities of telework, specific agreements may be necessary;
  • data protection: the employer is responsible for taking the appropriate measures to ensure the protection of data used and processed by the teleworker for professional purposes. The employer informs the teleworker in particular of any restrictions on the use of equipment and of sanctions in the case of non-compliance;
  • privacy: the employer respects the teleworker’s privacy. If any kind of monitoring system is put in place, it needs to be proportionate to the objective and introduced in accordance with Directive 90/270 on visual display units;
  • equipment: as a general rule, the employer is responsible for providing, installing and maintaining the equipment necessary for regular telework unless the teleworker uses his/her own equipment. The employer has the liability, in accordance with national legislation and collective agreements, regarding costs for loss and damage to the equipment and data used by the teleworker;
  • health and safety: the employer is responsible for the protection of the occupational health and safety of the teleworker in accordance with Directive 89/391 and relevant daughter directives, national legislation and collective agreements. In order to verify that the applicable health and safety provisions are correctly employed, the employer, workers’ representatives and/or relevant authorities have access to the telework place, within the limits of national legislation and collective agreements. If the teleworker is working at home, such access is subject to prior notification and his/her agreement. The teleworker is entitled to request inspection visits;
  • organisation of work: within the framework of applicable legislation, collective agreements and company rules, the teleworker manages the organisation of his/her working time. The workload and performance standards of the teleworker are equivalent to those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises;
  • training of teleworkers: teleworkers have the same access to training and career development as comparable workers at the employer’s premises and are subject to the same appraisal policies as these are their workers. Teleworkers receive appropriate training targeted at the technical equipment at their disposal and at the characteristics of this form of work organisation;
  • the collective rights of teleworkers: teleworkers have the same collective rights as workers at the employer’s premises. No obstacles are put to communicating with workers’ representatives.

Implementation and follow-up

This European framework agreement will be implemented within three years after the date of signature by the members of UNICE/UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC (and the Liaison Committee EUROCADRES/CEC).

Member organisations will report on the implementation of this agreement to an ad-hoc group set up by the signatory parties, under the responsibility of the Social Dialogue Committee. Within four years after the date of signature of this agreement, this ad-hoc group will prepare a joint report on the implementation measures taken.

The signatory parties will review the agreement five years after the date of signature if requested by one of the signatory parties.

Context

This new agreement directly supports the strategy defined at the Lisbon European Council and the transition to a knowledge-based economy and society, in line with the Lisbon objectives.

In July 1997, the European Commission adopted a raft of policy recommendations on the labour market and the social dimension of the information society. The recommendations included commitments to promote teleworking in Europe and to study teleworking within the Commission.

In 1998 a pilot project was launched by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Directorate-General for the Information Society. It includes three telework types of a part-time nature: working both from home and in the office, working whilst on the move during official missions, and occasional work in another Commission building.

The promotion of telework opportunities is one of the components of the Commission’s proposals for an employment strategy in the information society. The Commission supports the work of the social partners with a view to establishing framework conditions and practical rules so as to allow telework to be introduced on a large scale.

Procedure for the adoption of international agreements

Procedure for the adoption of international agreements

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Procedure for the adoption of international agreements

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Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Procedure for the adoption of international agreements

The procedure for the adoption of international agreements concluded between the European Union (EU) and a non-member country or organisation is set out in Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). It takes place in several phases.

Initiative

The Commission has the initiative, in exercising its general power, to represent the EU. It presents recommendations to the Council for initiating negotiations. In accordance with the ‘comitology’ procedure the recommendations are prepared by the relevant Commission departments in consultation with national experts.

Moreover, when an agreement relates exclusively to the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the recommendations are drawn up by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Negotiation

The Commission conducts negotiations, but acts on the mandate of the Council. Thus, the Council adopts a decision authorising the opening of negotiations. It may address directives to the Commission establishing the framework under which the negotiations must be conducted.

The Commission then conducts negotiations in cooperation with Member States. Their involvement in the process depends on the field in which the agreement relates to:

  • when the agreement relates to a field in which the EU has exclusive competence, the Commission is the sole negotiator, although national experts are closely involved in the proceedings through the special committees in accordance with the rules laid down by the ‘comitology’ procedure;
  • when the agreement relates to a field of shared competence, negotiations are conducted jointly by the Commission and national experts.

The approval or consultation of the European Parliament

The Treaty of Lisbon has increased the role of the European Parliament in the procedure for adopting international agreements considerably. Therefore, the approval of the Parliament is required for:

  • all agreements covering fields in which the ordinary legislative procedure or the special legislative procedure are to be applied within which the approval of the European Parliament was required;
  • association agreements between the EU and third countries;
  • agreements creating a specific institutional framework by organising cooperation procedures (for example, when the agreement in question creates a joint committee with decision-making powers);
  • agreements which have notable budgetary implications for the EU;
  • an agreement on EU membership of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
  • agreements on the accession of a State to the EU.

For all other agreements, approval by the Parliament is not required, but it must be consulted during the negotiations procedure.

Conclusion

The procedure is in three phases:

  • the Commission signs the text of the agreement but this is subject to subsequent adoption by the Council. It presents the Council with two proposals, one for signing and the other for concluding the agreement.
  • the Council adopts a decision (in some cases a regulation) on signing the agreement. Moreover, the provisional application, which is designed to ensure that the agreement can apply without delay, may stem either from a provision of the decision on signing or from an interim agreement signed in parallel
  • the Council adopts a decision actually concluding the agreement; this is deemed to constitute ratification of the agreement. In the case of hybrid agreements the adoption is accompanied by a procedure for ratifying the agreement within each Member State in accordance with their respective constitutional rules.

As a rule, decisions concluding agreements are adopted by the Council by qualified majority of the votes. However, the Council acts unanimously for:

  • association agreements between the EU and third countries;
  • agreements in areas subject to unanimity.

Furthermore, Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU adds two other specific cases in which the Council may act unanimously:

  • agreements in the field of trade in cultural and audiovisual services;
  • agreements in the field of trade in social, education and health services.

Consultation of the Court of Justice

The Court may be asked by the Council, the Commission, the European Parliament or a Member State to verify the validity of an agreement – both the formal validity (compliance with the relevant adoption procedure) and the substantive validity (compliance with the acquis). If the Court’s opinion is adverse, the agreement has to be revised before it can enter into force.

Sources of European Union law

Sources of European Union law

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Sources of European Union law

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Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Sources of European Union law

The main sources of primary law are the Treaties establishing the European Union.
Secondary sources are legal instruments based on the Treaties and include unilateral secondary law and conventions and agreements.
Supplementary sources are elements of law not provided for by the Treaties. This category includes Court of Justice case-law, international law and general principles of law.

There are three sources of European Union (EU) law: primary sources, secondary sources and supplementary law.

Sources of primary law

Primary sources, or primary law, come mainly from the founding Treaties, namely the Treaty on the EU and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. These Treaties set out the distribution of competences between the Union and the Member States and establishes the powers of the European institutions. They therefore determine the legal framework within which the EU institutions implement European policies.

Moreover, primary law also includes:

  • the amending EU Treaties;
  • the protocols annexed to the founding Treaties and to the amending Treaties;
  • the Treaties on new Member States’ accession to the EU.

Sources of secondary law

Secondary law comprises unilateral acts and agreements.

Unilateral acts can be divided into two categories:

  • those listed in Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU: regulations, directives, decisions, opinions and recommendations;
  • those not listed in Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, i.e. “atypical” acts such as communications and recommendations, and white and green papers.

Convention and Agreements group together:

  • international agreements, signed by the EU and a country or outside organisation;
  • agreements between Member States; and
  • interinstitutional agreements, i.e. agreements between the EU institutions.

Sources of supplementary law

Besides the case law of the Court of Justice, supplementary law includes international law and the general principles of law. It has enabled the Court to bridge the gaps left by primary and/or secondary law.

International law is a source of inspiration for the Court of Justice when developing its case law. The Court cites written law, custom and usage.

General principles of law are unwritten sources of law developed by the case law of the Court of Justice. They have allowed the Court to implement rules in different domains of which the treaties make no mention.