Tag Archives: Annual report

The Court of Auditors of the European Union

The Court of Auditors of the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Court of Auditors of the European Union


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

Fight against fraud > Anti-fraud offices

The Court of Auditors of the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union [Official Journal L 103 of 23.04.2010].


These Rules of Procedure, which entered into force on 1 June 2010, lay down the internal workings of the Court, the rules on nominating the President and the decision-making procedure. It is the Court itself that establishes its own Rules of Procedure, subject to the approval of the Council acting by qualified majority.


Article 287 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defines the role and prerogatives of the Court of Auditors.

The Court therefore audits the legality of the revenue and expenditure of the EU and its bodies. The audit completed by the Court is carried out with the aim of both improving financial management, as well as making European citizens aware of how public funds are used.

The audit carried out by the Court shall be:

  • based on records and, if necessary, performed on the spot in the other European institutions;
  • performed on the premises of any body which manages revenue or expenditure on behalf of the EU;
  • performed in the Member States, including on the premises of any natural or legal person in receipt of payments from the European budget.

In its role as auditor, the Court shall cooperate with the national services and the European institutions. Moreover, it is able to request any information required to successfully complete its task from the EU institutions and bodies, organisations in receipt of payments from the European budget or from national audit institutions.

In respect of the European Investment Bank’s activity in managing expenditure and revenue, the Court’s rights of access to information held by the Bank shall be governed by an agreement between the Court, the Bank and the Commission.

The Court of Auditors must notify the relevant authorities of any irregularity. To this end, it shall work closely together with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Despite its name, the European Court of Auditors has no judicial powers and therefore no power to impose sanctions. After the close of each financial year it shall draw up an annual report to be published in the Official Journal. This report concerns the management of the European budget by the competent institutions. It is a fundamental part of the European Parliament’s decision-making process regarding the granting of the budget discharge to the Commission.

The Court of Auditors also provides the Council and the Parliament with a statement of assurance concerning the reliability of the accounts and attesting that the European budget has been used well. In addition, the Court may also, at any time, submit observations, particularly in the form of special reports, on specific questions and deliver opinions at the request of one of the other European institutions.

Composition of the Court

Articles 285 and 286 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU establish rules regarding the composition of the Court of Auditors.

The College shall be the main decision-making body of the Court. It shall comprise one Member from each Member State of the EU. Members shall be appointed by the Council acting by qualified majority following consultation of the European Parliament, on the basis of proposals from the Member States. Members eligible for appointment by the Member States must belong to an external audit body in their own country or possess a specific qualification for this post. They shall carry out their duties at the Court of Auditors entirely independently. Their term of office is six years and may be renewed.

The Members of the Court shall elect the President of the Court by secret ballot. The candidate who, in the first round of voting, obtains a two-thirds majority of the Members’ votes shall be elected President. If this majority is not reached, the candidate must obtain the majority of votes in the second round of voting. The term of office is three years and may be renewed. The President’s duties shall be to:

  • draw up the agenda;
  • call and chair meetings of the Court;
  • ensure that discussions run smoothly;
  • ensure that the Court’s decisions are implemented;
  • ensure that the departments of the Court operate properly and that its various activities are managed soundly;
  • appoint an agent to represent the Court in litigation;
  • represent the Court in its external relations and in its relations with the other European institutions, etc.

The Court shall appoint the Secretary-General of the Court, who shall be responsible for the Court’s Secretariat, by secret ballot. In addition, chambers and committees shall be set up. The chambers have the task of preparing opinions and reports adopted by the Court. The committees shall deal with matters not covered by the chambers.

The Court shall decide in formal session, by the majority of its Members, on the adoption of the annual report, special reports and opinions. The Court’s meetings shall not be public, unless the Court decides otherwise. The Court may also decide, on a case-by-case basis, to adopt decisions by the written procedure.

Origins of the Court

The Court of Auditors was founded by the Treaty of Brussels, which was signed on 22 July 1975 and entered into force in October 1977. The Treaty of Maastricht (1992) gave the Court the status of a full institution. The seat of the Court is in Luxembourg.


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

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union


OJ L 103 of 23.4.2010

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ECHO: 2007 Annual Report


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

Humanitarian aid

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission of 9 July 2008 – Annual Report 2007 of the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) [COM(2008) 449 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In 2007 the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) allocated a budget of €722 million. Financed actions made it possible to respond quickly to natural and man-made disasters and crises in non-EU member countries.

Main Interventions

DG ECHO allocated 55 % of its budget to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, with a particular focus on Africa (Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Zimbabwe, Sahel, Uganda and Ethiopia).

20 % of the budget was allocated to Asia and Latin America in light of the crises and natural disasters which occurred in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Latin America (Peru, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia).

Countries in the Middle East and New Independent States (NIS) received 16 % of the budget to support vulnerable populations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and vulnerable populations affected by the crisis in Chechnya.

DG ECHO continued to support victims of forgotten crises like Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, Bhutanese refugees, victims of the Maoist insurrection in Nepal and populations affected by conflict in India (Jammu and Kashmir).

In 2007 the linkage between relief, rehabilitation and development strategy (LRRD) was reinforced through the adoption of the 2007-2013 Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) and the 2007-2013 Instrument for Stability.

Disaster preparedness remained a main priority achieved by the implementation of DIPECHO projects at local and regional levels to increase awareness about potential risks among highly vulnerable populations.

Non-governmental and international organisations as well as United Nations agencies who signed Framework Partnership Agreements and Partnership Agreements received specific program funding.

Detailed information about interventions financed in 2007 appears in the appendix to the report.

Other interventions

DG ECHO ensured the mobilisation and quality of humanitarian aid, paying particular attention to the safety of field staff, rapid response and enhanced monitoring at every phase of an intervention.

The Commission also deepened its relationships with other European institutions, national institutions of Member States, international institutions and non-European donors.


DG ECHO operates within the framework of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid adopted in 2007 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission. In 2008 the Consensus should be followed by an operational action plan.

European Development and External Assistance Policies: 2008 Report

European Development and External Assistance Policies: 2008 Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Development and External Assistance Policies: 2008 Report


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

Development > General development framework

European Development and External Assistance Policies: 2008 Report

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 30 June 2009 – Annual Report 2009 on the European community’s development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2008 [COM(2009) 296 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


2008 was marked by soaring food and energy prices and the global financial crisis. Despite these unfavourable conditions, the European Union (EU) demonstrated its ability to meet its commitments and to respond to the new needs of developing countries.

The EU is a key partner on the global stage, particularly with regard to issues such as climate, energy, trade and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This Report highlights the importance of making European development policies coherent (BG) (CS) (DA) (ET) (EL) (FR) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (NL) (PL) (PT) (RO) (SK) (SL) (FI) (SV), whilst taking into account the growing interdependence between the EU and its partners.

In 2008, the Commission assessed the progress made towards achieving the MDGs at mid-way and set new milestones for 2010. The Commission also increased efforts to integrate issues such as gender equality, the environment and the rights of children and indigenous people into the development process. Furthermore, the Commission considers good tax and democratic governance to be essential for successful reforms.

More and better aid

In order to offset the impact of soaring prices, the EU created a Food Facility (FR) with a budget of EUR 1 billion for the period 2008-2010. In 2008 the Commission also increased the budget for humanitarian aid by EUR 140 million and called up EUR 200 million from the European Development Fund (EDF).

The EU renewed its commitment to increasing overall development assistance in coming years. The volume of assistance has increased by 90 % since 2001, reaching EUR 9.33 billion in 2008.

Aid efficiency must also be improved. In this context, it involves:

  • prioritising the channelling of aid through country systems to reinforce local ownership of projects and reduce transaction costs;
  • increasing the predictability of aid, through setting up MDG contracts to provide longer-term aid. The first countries to benefit from these contracts were Burkino Faso, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia;
  • adopting a strategy of long-term aid, targeted towards those partner countries achieving results and good budget management.

The Report highlights an increase in budget support to 39 % (EUR 3.68 billion from EU and EDF budgets), in the form of funds transferred to the national treasury of the beneficiary country. This is gradually replacing direct project-linked funding, provided that public finance management in the beneficiary country has received a positive assessment. The Commission is working to improve eligibility criteria and risk assessment.

In 2008, the Commission began reforms to increase its capacity for action in terms of technical cooperation and to strengthen its development project implementation units. This reform was supported by the launch of “Capacity4Dev”, an on-line interactive platform.

Partnership steps

More effective aid must be based on donor coordination and the sharing of experience. This approach prevailed in the distribution of aid in Afghanistan, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory using the funding instrument PEGASE and in Iraq using the funding instrument IRFFI.

The Commission has continued its cooperation with the United Nations, the World Bank and all of the donors in planning recovery operations after a crisis, disaster or conflict has occurred.

The Commission is preparing a new strategy in favour of local authorities participating in development cooperation actions.

Assessment of actions taken

In terms of development cooperation, the EU carries out results-oriented actions. In order to increase the effectiveness and impact of its aid, the Commission assessed geographical and thematic programming and aid delivery modalities. It concluded that greater visibility of actions, synergy between activities and coherence between country and regional aid is required.

European development and external assistance policy: 2009 Report

European development and external assistance policy: 2009 Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European development and external assistance policy: 2009 Report


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

Development > General development framework

European development and external assistance policy: 2009 Report

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Annual Report 2010 on the European Union’s development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2009 [COM(2010) 335 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In 2009, European Union (EU) cooperation activities with third countries took place in a difficult context. Developing countries had to face the economic and financial crisis and rising food prices.

The EU reacted quickly, creating a financial facility to improve production of and access to food. It also created an instrument to combat vulnerability – FLEX – to support public expenditure in the most vulnerable countries. Furthermore, the EU has established an instrument to finance the adaptation of these countries to climate change.

International relations

Existing relationships with several global regions were strengthened in 2009, particularly in the course of:

  • strategic summits on development, held with India, China and Russia;
  • the adoption of a new strategic framework for Latin America and an Investment Facility;
  • the launch of negotiations to revise the Cotonou Agreement with ACP countries, and the mid-term review of the European Development Fund (EDF);
  • the strengthening of dialogue with South Africa on peace and security;
  • the holding of the EU-Pakistan summit;
  • the conclusion of the first partnership agreement with Iraq;
  • the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and its investment facility.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Some progress has been made since the adoption of the MDGs in 2000, but some countries are significantly behind, particularly due to the international context in 2008 and 2009. The EU intends to adopt a global approach to accelerate progress with a view to meeting the MDGs before 2015. It will present a joint position at the UN summit in September 2010 for the international assessment of the MDGs.

Coherence of policies with development goals

The Commission and EU countries should apply the principles of the European Consensus on Development and improve the coordination of their actions. The impact of European policies on development must be taken into account. The Council has identified a number of priority areas: trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration, and peace and security.

Partner countries must also improve the effectiveness of their policies, good governance and the protection of human rights.

Increased and more effective aid

The Commission and Member States should increase the quantity but also the quality of their aid. Together they supply more than half of global Official Development Assistance (ODA).

In order to increase the effectiveness of aid, the EU implements measures planned at the Accra summit in 2008:

  • division of labour and coordination of donors;
  • the use of national development systems;
  • quality of technical cooperation.

The EU must also work more closely with international organisations, local authorities and civil society. The next summit on the effectiveness of aid is to take place in Seoul in 2011.

Budget support for developing countries

The Commission promotes the deployment of aid through budget support strategies, i.e. the transfer of aid to the national treasury of its partners. Budget support guarantees that their national priorities are met. It also reduces the costs of financial transfers.

In 2009, EUR 2.4 billion were allocated to:

  • general budget support (GPS) – 35% of operations – for national development policies;
  • sector-specific budget support (SPS) – 65% of operations.

Public finance management (PFM) systems in developing countries should be efficient enough to receive this type of aid. However, the Commission proposes that certain fragile States might benefit from it under certain conditions.

Evaluation of results

The Commission has adopted stricter standards to control the quality of its actions and ensure that results are monitored. Assessments made in 2009 showed that the effectiveness and sustainability of cooperation actions are still to be improved. It is also essential to foster ownership of projects by partner countries.

Annual Report on Human Rights 2008

Annual Report on Human Rights 2008

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Annual Report on Human Rights 2008


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

Human rights > Human rights in non-EU countries

Annual Report on Human Rights 2008

This report presents European Union (EU) actions and policies to promote human rights throughout the world during the period of 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008. It presents thematic issues and actions taken vis-à-vis third countries as well as in international fora.

Document or Iniciative

EU Annual Report on Human Rights 2008 . Council of the European Union – Brussels, 27 November 2008 [Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) is committed to the promotion of human rights and continuously works to develop and strengthen action to that end. The aim of this tenth annual report on human rights is to present an overview of EU actions in this field between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2008.

Actions in third countries

Joint actions covered by this report mainly relate to the appointment of EU special representatives (EUSRs) for the African Union and Kosovo, as well as to crisis management operations. In the context of the latter, experts on women’s rights and on children affected by armed conflict were appointed to several European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) operations/missions. The importance of mainstreaming human rights and gender issues into the ESDP was further emphasised with the June 2008 handbook on guiding principles for planners of EU operations.

New EU guidelines on the rights of the child were adopted in 2007, while the guidelines on children and armed conflict, death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment were updated in 2008. A number of declarations were made, such as on humanitarian agreements in Colombia as well as on the abolition of the death penalty and the release of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan. Dialogues and consultations on human rights were established with third countries, bringing their number up to over 30. The report provides detailed descriptions on the consultations with China, Iran, Central Asian states, the African Union, Russia, the US, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and candidate countries. A human rights clause was included in an interim agreement on trade and trade-related matters concluded with the Republic of Montenegro in October 2007.

In 2007, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) succeeded the previous EIDHR initiative. Under the new instrument, human rights and democracy projects in over 80 countries were funded with an overall budget of EUR 108 million during 2007-08. EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs) were also funded under the EIDHR.

Thematic issues

In promoting human rights, the EU concentrates on a wide range of thematic issues. During the period under review, these included:

  • the death penalty, which was abolished in Rwanda, Uzbekistan, the Cook Islands and the state of New Jersey in the US;
  • rights of the child, on which the European Commission issued the communication “A Special Place for Children in the EU External Action” and the Council adopted conclusions with regard to EU development and humanitarian policies. In addition, the Commission funded a number of projects under the “Investing in People” programme and signed a contract with UNICEF to develop a toolkit to mainstream children’s rights across various political and programmatic actions;
  • children in armed conflicts, on which the EU updated the list of priority countries, revised the checklist to integrate the protection of children affected by armed conflict into its ESDP operations and issued a study entitled “Enhancing the EU response to children affected by armed conflict”;
  • women’s rights, which were included into the EU-funded Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP) and the regional programme “Enhancing equality between men and women in the Euromed region”. In addition, the Commission has established a three-year partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM);
  • trafficking in human beings, for which the Commission established a new group of experts, and prepared a report on the implementation of the EU action plan. The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings entered into force. It has been ratified by ten and signed by another 15 EU Member States;
  • the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the fight against impunity. The EU carried out 18 démarches to encourage ratification of the Rome Statute, negotiated the insertion of an ICC clause in a number of agreements and, with its Member States, remained the Court’s biggest financial supporter;
  • human rights and terrorism, on which the European Parliament adopted a resolution;
  • democracy and elections, on which the Commission published two manuals: the “Handbook for EU Election Observation” and “The Compendium of International Standards for Elections”;
  • economic, social and cultural rights. The EU lobbied successfully for the adoption of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) declaration on social justice for a fair globalisation;
  • intercultural dialogue was promoted through the European agenda for culture in a globalised world as well as through actions under the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and the “Euro-Mediterranean year of dialogue between cultures”;
  • asylum and migration. The Global Approach to Migration was extended to the eastern and south-eastern neighbours of the EU and the “Thematic cooperation programme with third countries in the development aspects of migration and asylum” (2007-13) was initiated;
  • persons with disabilities. The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force. It was signed by the European Community and all its Member States;
  • indigenous issues. The UN adopted a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the joint Commission-ILO project “Promotion of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights through Legal Advice, Capacity Building and Dialogue” was launched.

Actions in international fora

At the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in October-November 2007, 104 countries adopted a resolution initiated by the EU together with other co-authors that calls for a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its abolition. Two other thematic resolutions of particular importance to the EU were the omnibus resolution on the rights of the child and the resolution on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion and belief. The EU also initiated the resolutions on the national human rights situations in Burma/Myanmar and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The reform of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has now been completed. The EU supported the launch of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the first session of which was carried out during the first half of 2008. This is a HRC mechanism for reviewing the human rights situation in all countries of the world at four-year intervals.

In May 2007, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the EU and the Council of Europe (CoE) for their cooperation. In June 2008, the Commission and the CoE signed an agreement on the latter’s cooperation with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on equality between women and men – 2009


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

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 February 2009 – Equality between women and men – 2009 [COM(2009) 77 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The sixth Commission report sets out the main progress made in promoting equality between women and men in 2008. In view of the current demographic and economic challenges, the participation of women is an essential contribution to growth, employment and social cohesion in the European Union (EU).

In 2008, the rate of employment for women was close to the objectives set by the Lisbon strategy (60 % in 2010). However, the proportion varies between 36.9 % and 73.2 % according to the Member State. Moreover, women are overrepresented in precarious, short-term or part-time jobs.

They are more exposed than men to situations of poverty. This is the case for 32 % of single mothers and 21 % of women over the age of 65.

The average gap in employment rates between women and men is narrowing, and fell from 17.1 % in 2000 to 14.2 % in 2007. However, the sharing of family responsibilities remains unequal, and the employment rate of women with children falls by 12.4 percentage points whilst in the same situation that of men increases by 7.3 points.

Most qualifications in the EU (58.9 %) are obtained by women. However, their level of education does not reflect their situation on the labour market, where they are limited in terms of career development, remuneration and pension rights.

The number of female managers is quite small. The European average is 30 %. However the figure is lower than this in the majority of Member States.

Developments in regulations

In 2008, the Commission initiated infringement proceedings against certain Member States, concerning the transposition of Directive 2002/73/EC (on access to employment, vocational training and promotion) and Directive 2004/113/EC (on equal treatment in the access to goods and services).

The Commission is examining the effectiveness of existing legislation as regards equality of remuneration between men and women. It may propose, if necessary, new regulations on tackling the pay gap related to gender.

Many provisions have been adopted in order to promote reconciliation between working and family life. The Commission proposes the amendment of Directive 92/85/EEC on maternity protection, in particular by introducing an increase in minimum maternity leave to 18 weeks. These provisions should be extended, on a voluntary basis, to the self-employed and their assisting spouses. Social partners have started negotiations concerning parental leave and leave for family reasons, in addition to maternity leave, and have reached agreement. The Commission has adopted a proposal aimed at implementing this agreement through a directive. The Commission has also presented a report on childcare systems, the development of which is still insufficient in a large number of Member States.

The Council of June 2008 adopted conclusions aimed at encouraging the involvement of women in political decision-making and the elimination of sexist prejudice in society.

Strategic orientations

The contribution of equality policies to economic development, particularly in a context of economic slowdown. Changes to achieve real equality depend on removing the differences and barriers which limit the employment and the professional development of women.

The report highlights in particular the importance of:

  • reconciling family life and professional life, in particular through the sharing of parental responsibility and the development of childcare services;
  • combating stereotypes related to gender, through awareness-raising campaigns and the role of the media;
  • increasing the participation of women in decision-making positions and their representation in electoral processes by various means;
  • communication aimed at public opinion and improving understanding of the problems of equality between men and women at all levels of society.