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A simplified CAP for Europe

A simplified CAP for Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A simplified CAP for Europe

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

Agriculture > General framework

A simplified CAP for Europe

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 18 March 2009 – A simplified CAP for Europe – A success for all [COM(2009) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Since 2005 the Commission has taken on a number of activities which have simplified the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from a technical * and policy * perspective.

Technical simplification

The main technical simplifications concern:

  • the repeal of legal acts deemed to be obsolete;
  • the adoption of the Regulation establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets in 2007, better known as the ‘single CMO’. This new Regulation replaces 21 individual common organisations of the market and groups them together into one single regulation;
  • the modification and streamlining of the policy on State aid, including the adoption of the de minimis Regulation in the agricultural sector in 2007;
  • a study to measure administrative costs;
  • the creation of platforms for the sharing of best practices concerning CAP simplification.

Policy simplification

The policy-related actions concern:

  • the sugar CMO reform, which merged the various quota types into one single quota. This reform also included the budget for sugar-aid into the envelope of the Single Payment Scheme and replaced intervention by private storage;
  • the Single Payment Scheme, to make it more “farmer friendly” and to simplify its functioning;
  • reforms in the fruit and vegetables and wine sectors, which integrated these sectors into the Single Payment Scheme;
  • impact assessments and evaluations, which involve stakeholders at an early stage of the legislative process and render it more transparent. They also improve the quality of proposals and the quality of debates on proposals.

Processes followed for CAP simplification

  • stakeholder consultation, screening, Action Plan;
  • the conference organised in October 2006;
  • internal training on legislative drafting;
  • IT systems: the ISAMM system (Information System for Agricultural Market Management and Monitoring) to facilitate the electronic exchange of information between Commission services and Member States is in its final development phase.

CAP simplification Action Plan

Launched at the end of 2006, the Action Plan is based on suggestions from Member States, stakeholders, producers’ organisations and the Commission. The plan had evolved to around fifty technical simplification projects by January 2009, of which 43 have been implemented.

The projects taken up concern, in particular:

  • the abolition of licences for exports of beef without export refunds;
  • egg marketing standards;
  • the abolition of the requirement that farmers should have a parcel at their disposal for at least 10 months before being able to apply for direct payments;
  • the elimination of most of the obligations relating to import and export licences;
  • specific marketing standards concerning 26 types of fruit and vegetables;
  • an amendment of the rules on cross-compliance * (for example, advance notice for on-the-spot checks); etc.

Special focus

An important accomplishment within the context of legislative simplification of the CAP was the adoption of the Council Regulation establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets, commonly referred to as the “single CMO”. The new Regulation replaces all 21 individual common organisations of the market and groups them together into one single regulation, thereby reducing the number of articles from around 920 to around 230 and repealing a total of 78 Council acts. Finally, the single CMO facilitates further simplification and reduction of administrative burden at the level of Commission implementing provisions.

Within the context of the Action Programme for reducing Administrative Burdens, a study assessing the administrative burden on farms arising from CAP was published at the end of 2007. This study, carried out in Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland and Italy, provides an assessment of the administrative costs associated with the Single Payment Scheme in 2006 and presents an outlook on future developments. The results of the study indicate that administrative burden on farms will decrease substantially. One factor is the learning curve effect and the disappearance of the administrative costs associated with the start-up of the Single Payment Scheme. The changes decided in the Health Check are another important reason.

The Health Check of the CAP reform simplifies the provisions of the Single Payment Scheme and renders the 2003 CAP reform more efficient. In particular, it stresses the need for further decoupling of support and the abolition of several schemes such as payments for energy crops and durum wheat, etc. to reduce the administrative burden on farms. The Health Check has also simplified the rules on the modulation franchise * as well as the provisions concerning the functioning of the National Reserve and payment entitlements that originate from that reserve.

Outlook

The actions under consideration concern:

  • common starting dates for legal acts;
  • communication and conservation of information;
  • a training programme for officials which involves a farm stay;
  • harmonising cross-compliance rules;
  • improvements in quality policy;
  • more regular review of legislation;
  • continuation of the Action Plan with the addition of new projects;
  • training on writing skills, to make legislation easier to read;
  • continuation of sharing best practices.

Context

This Communication takes stock of the activities carried out since the 2005 Communication on CAP simplification. As a result of the progress made in simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy, the Commission expects to achieve its objective of reducing administrative burdens by 25% by 2012.

Key terms of the Act
  • Technical simplification: implies revision of the legal framework, administrative procedures and management mechanisms to achieve streamlining and greater cost-effectiveness and attain existing policy objectives more effectively, without changing the underlying policies.
  • Policy simplification: reduces complexity through improvements to the agricultural support and rural development policy instruments. It may be described as ‘policy development with simplification implications’.
  • Cross-compliance: the payment of certain European aid is subject to compliance with basic environmental and health requirements.
  • Modulation: an instrument introduced by the 2003 reform which allows resources intended for direct aid to farmers to be transferred to rural development measures during the period up to 2013.

Asia

Asia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Asia

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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 > Relations with third countries > Asia

Asia

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

  • Enhancing the Asia strategy

ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations)

SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)

  • Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Bangladesh

  • Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development
  • Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh (2007-2013)

China

  • Strategy for cooperation with China (2007-2013)
  • EU-China: closer partners, growing responsibilities
  • EEC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement
  • Possibilities for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao (2007-2013)

South Korea

  • India

    Indonesia

    • Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia (2007-2013)

    Japan

    • Agreement with Japan on mutual legal assistance
    • Customs Agreement with Japan

    Philippines

    • Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines (2007-2013)

    Thailand

    • Strategy for cooperation with Thailand (2007-2013)

    Vietnam

    • Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam (2007-2013)
  • SECTORAL PARTNERSHIPS

    • Governance in the consensus on development
    • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
    • Europe-Asia cooperation strategy

    FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

    • Common framework for joint multiannual programming
    • Financing instrument for development cooperation – DCI (2007-2013)
    • Instrument for Stability (2007 – 2013)
    • Financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories (2007-2013)
    • Financial and technical assistance and economic cooperation (1992 – 2006)

    Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

    Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

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    Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

    Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

    Document or Iniciative

    Council Regulation (EC) No 2686/94 of 31 October 1994 establishing a special system of assistance to traditional ACP suppliers of bananas.

    Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 of 22 April 1999 establishing a special framework of assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas.

    Summary

    Traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) suppliers of bananas have benefited from a framework of assistance to improve the competitiveness and diversification of their agricultural production.

    The term traditional ACP suppliers of bananas does not refer to all current ACP suppliers of bananas. The countries involved (defined according to historical references) are: Belize, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Somalia and Suriname.

    Within the meaning of the Regulation, the term “bananas” means fresh or dried bananas, excepting plantains.

    The temporary special framework of assistance (SFA) is established by Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 for a period of ten years with effect from 1 January 1999.

    Activities eligible for assistance

    The assistance measures aim to:

    • increase productivity and improve product quality, including in the field of plant health;
    • adapt production, distribution or marketing methods, particularly in the context of the standards provided for in Regulation (EEC) No 404/93 and (EC) No 1234/2007;
    • establish producers’ organisations to improve the marketing and competitiveness of their products;
    • develop fair trade, and systems of certifying environmentally-friendly production methods;
    • develop a production and/or marketing strategy to meet the requirements of the market;
    • assist with training, market intelligence and the development of environment-friendly and fair production methods;
    • support the diversification of production where improvement in the competitiveness of the sector is not sustainable.

    Financing programmes

    The financial assistance provided is designed to complement and reinforce the assistance provided under other instruments of development cooperation. Each year, the Commission fixes the maximum amount available to each supplier on the basis of the competitiveness gap observed and the scale of banana production of the country concerned.

    The Regulation provides for mechanisms to reduce Community aid gradually. From 2004, a maximum reduction coefficient of 15 % will be applied each year to the level of assistance made available to each country. When programmes are implemented, this reduction coefficient will be reduced to an extent equivalent to the increase in competitiveness observed.

    The projects financed under the “bananas” budget heading were devolved to the Commission delegations in the last quarter of 2005. This devolution has enabled the delegations to manage projects more effectively and to catch up on any commitment or payment backlogs.

    Evaluation

    The Commission was required to present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the Regulation by 31 December 2000 and every two years thereafter.
    It presented its first two-yearly report in February 2001, and the second in December 2002.

    Context

    Since the common market organisation (CMO) in bananas was established in 1993, ACP states have benefited from a preferential trade regime for exporting bananas to the EU. As such:

    • from 1993 to 2005 imports of bananas from non-ACP states were subject to quotas and customs duties. ACP states were not subject to customs duties within quota and benefited from reduced customs duties for imports above the quota;
    • in 2006 the general imports system was replaced by a system based only on customs duties, except for ACP states which benefited from a quota system exempt from customs duties;
    • since 2008, the ACP states which have negotiated an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) have benefited from access to the market without quotas or customs duties. The EPAs replace the trade provisions of the Cotonou Agreement which expired on 31 December 2007;
    • since 15 December 2009 customs duties applicable to imports from third countries (non-ACP states) have been EUR 148/tonne.

    The special framework of assistance for ACP suppliers established in 1999 came to an end in 2008; however a number of projects are still underway.

    References

    Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
    Regulation (EC) No 2686/94

    5.11.1994

    OJ L 286 of 5.11.1994

    Regulation (EC) No 856/1999

    30.4.1999

    OJ L 108 of 27.4.1999

    Related Acts

    Council Decision 2010/314/EU of 10 May 2010 on the signing and provisional application of the Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas between the European Union and Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela and of the Agreement on Trade in Bananas between the European Union and the United States of America.

    Commission Regulation (EC) No 1609/1999 of 22 July 1999 laying down the detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 [Official Journal L 190 of 23.7.1999].
    This Regulation lays down the detailed rules for the implementation of the special framework of assistance, for example the deadlines, the methods for calculating the reference price, the reference quantities and the competitivity gap.
    Requests for assistance should be based on a coherent long-term strategy for the banana sector. Programmes submitted should be drawn up on the basis of this strategy and take the form of annual action plans. Funds allocated to countries which have not presented a request for assistance within the specified deadline shall be distributed to other countries.

    REPORTS

    Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 March 2010 – Biennial Report on the Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP suppliers of Bananas [COM(2010) 103 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    The special framework of assistance (SFA) came to an end on 31 December 2008. Its implementation enabled traditional ACP suppliers of bananas to make progress in terms of:

    • competitiveness and adaptation to the needs of the European market and to EU standards and policies with the aim of sustainable economic development;
    • diversifying agricultural production and including it in the planning of the development of the country in a more integrated and strategic way.

    However, the majority of these states remain vulnerable to external crises and must still overcome significant challenges to adapt to the constraints of world trade.

    Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament –Special Framework of Assistance for traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission 2006 [COM(2006) 806 – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission – 2004 [COM(2004) 823 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    The EU trade regime has not changed since the last report and measures have been taken as part of enlargement.

    Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 23 December 2002 – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission – 2002 [COM(2002) 763 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    In April 2001 the Community prepared a new regime in order to comply with WTO rules, putting an end to the “banana conflict” between the United States and the European Community. The amended regime is a compromise and contains major, phased changes to EU banana import arrangements:

    • the quota system should be replaced by a tariff-only system;
    • in the meantime, the EU market in bananas will continue to be managed through a quota system based on historical reference, which has also been discussed with the ACP countries.

    In particular, the Commission notes that between 1999 and 2002 the amounts used to boost the productivity of banana plantations have declined, compared with those aimed at supporting diversification. These changes correspond to the Commission’s desire to improve the management of funds, in particular regarding transparency, security and identification of the various stakeholders’ responsibilities.

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament of 7 February 2001 – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation No 856/1999) – Biennial Report from the Commission 2000 [COM(2001) 67 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    Market conditions were difficult for the traditional ACP suppliers of bananas in 1999 and 2000. The market is dominated by cheaper bananas from Latin America. In addition, banana prices fell in 1999 and plummeted to an exceptional low in 2000. Furthermore, following the WTO’s unfavourable conclusions on the Commission’s import regimes in 1999, the Commission made significant changes to the import regime.

    A strategy for better ship dismantling practices

    A strategy for better ship dismantling practices

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for better ship dismantling practices

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    Transport > Waterborne transport

    A strategy for better ship dismantling practices

    Many decommissioned European ships end up on the beaches of South Asia where they are dismantled. The absence of environmental protection and safety measures results in a high rate of accidents, health risks and large-scale pollution affecting vast expanses of the coast. The strategy proposed to improve ship dismantling practices includes action aimed at contributing to the implemention of the main elements of an international convention on the recycling of ships which has just been adopted. It also provides for measures aimed at encouraging voluntary action by the maritime transport sector and better application of current Community legislation on waste shipments.

    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 19 November 2008 – An EU strategy for better ship dismantling [COM(2008) 767 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Summary

    The European Union (EU) strategy gives effect to the 2007 Green Paper on better ship dismantling practices. This strategy should guarantee that ships with a strong link to the Union (in terms of flag or ownership) are dismantled only in safe and environmentally sound facilities, in line with the Hong Kong Convention developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and adopted on 19 May 2009.

    Such a strategy complies with Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on waste shipments which transposes the Basel Convention. It thus aims to prevent the export of hazardous end-of-life ships from the EU to developing countries, and to protect human health and the environment during dismantling operations, without creating unnecessary new economic burdens.

    Main elements of the strategy proposed by the Commission

    The EU strategy proposes a series of measures aimed at improving ship dismantling conditions as soon as possible, in particular during the interim period preceding the entry into force of the new IMO convention. The following measures are envisaged in particular:

    • start preparations to introduce measures on key elements of the new IMO convention, in particular concerning surveys, certification and the inventory of hazardous materials present on board ships;
    • encourage voluntary industry action through various measures, such as awards for exemplary “green” recycling activities, the publication of guidelines and a list of “clean” dismantling facilities.
    • provide technical assistance and support to developing countries for training programmes in safety and the establishment of basic infrastructure for environmental and health protection;
    • improve the application of current rules on waste shipments by intensifying controls in European ports, enhancing cooperation and exchange of information between European authorities and the establishment of a list of ships ready for scrapping.

    The strategy also proposes that the Commission should examine the feasibility of the following measures:

    • establish auditing and certification of ship recycling facilities worldwide and evaluate how EU ships might be encouraged to use this scheme;
    • ensure that warships and other government vessels which do not come under the scope of the convention be subject to Community rules for their “clean” dismantling;
    • establish a mandatory international funding system for “clean” ship dismantling.

    Context

    The preparation of an EU strategy for environmentally sound ship dismantling practices is one of the elements of the Commission action plan on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union.

    This Communication has the aim of encouraging debate and paving the way for the legislative proposal to be presented after the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention in May 2009.

    A strategy for e-procurement

    A strategy for e-procurement

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for e-procurement

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

    Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

    A strategy for e-procurement

    Document or Iniciative

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions [COM(2012) 179 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Summary

    This Communication defines the guidelines for a strategy for e-procurement.

    What are the advantages of e-procurement?

    Electronic processes offer several economic advantages. They can simplify the way procurement is conducted, reduce waste (in goods, services and works), and deliver a better quality service at a lower price. They can also make life significantly simpler for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by increasing the transparency of invitations to tender, by facilitating access and by reducing the costs of bidding for contracts (postage and printing costs, etc.).

    These processes make it possible to maximise the efficiency of public expenditure and to find new sources of economic growth. Organisations which have already adopted e-procurement have achieved savings between 5 and 20 %. The total procurement market in the EU is estimated at more than EUR 2,000 billion, which means that a saving of 5 % would correspond to savings of about EUR 100 billion per year.

    E-procurement also contributes to protecting the environment, for example by reducing paper consumption and transport.

    Electronic processes also offer easier access to public procurement contracts, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and can therefore stimulate competition, innovation and growth within the internal market.

    How can e-procurement be implemented?

    The European Commission plans to implement several actions for e-procurement, such as:

    • creating an effective legal framework: in December 2011, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on public procurement and a proposal for a Directive on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors. These proposals are intended to support the sharing of information and best practices, as well as a greater role for the e-Certis (DE) (EN) (FR) platform. To supplement this legislative framework, the Commission intends to improve the interoperability of electronic signature solutions and is currently revising the existing framework.
    • promoting practical solutions based on best-practices: the Commission advocates the implementation of non-legislative action, such as the installation of new generation IT technology, with the aim of simplifying and streamlining the purchase process. To this end, a group of experts is tasked with making recommendations aimed at promoting “best of breed” e-procurement solutions. The European Commission will also publish the results of a study aimed at identifying and disseminating best-practices in this field.
    • supporting the deployment of e-procurement infrastructure: the Commission has launched a pilot project called PEPPOL which aims to provide the interoperability bridges needed to connect the already existing e-procurement platforms. The Commission intends to support this project in the long term. It will also finance the development of e-procurement infrastructure through the Connecting Europe Facility, with assistance specifically from the structural funds.
    • developing a dissemination strategy: the Commission would like to inform contracting authorities and suppliers about the benefits of e-procurement. To this end, it intends to draw on the Europe Enterprise Network, as well as on the regions and cities of Europe through networking programmes such as INTERREG. The Commission will also organise an annual conference on developments in e-procurement in order to ensure the exchange of information between the stakeholders involved.
    • ensuring take-up is monitored: the development of a set of indicators is required in order to monitor the implementation of e-procurement. The Commission therefore proposes to create electronic systems to monitor procurement expenditure.
    • considering the international dimension of e-procurement: common international standards should be established in order to ensure better operability of public procurement contracts. To achieve this, the Commission intends to promote international regulatory dialogues on e-procurement. The first annual report on e-procurement will be published by mid-2013 and will detail the progress made in this area.

    Context

    In the Single Market Act, the Commission expressed its wish to modernise the EU legal framework relating to public procurement contracts. The economic value of this sector is considerable: the total value of contracts governed by the current directives amounts to about EUR 447 billion. The introduction of electronic processes is expected to improve the effectiveness of public procurement contracts.

    A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

    A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

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

    Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

    A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

    Document or Iniciative

    Commission communication of 26 May 2004. “A stronger partnership for the outermost regions” [COM(2004) 343 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Summary

    Seven of the regions in the European Union are classified as ‘outermost’: the four French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and Réunion), the Spanish Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, and the Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.

    The outermost regions have to cope with specific constraints – remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, as well as economic dependence on a few products – all factors the permanence and combination of which severely restrain their socio-economic development. (Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty).

    Priorities for action

    The action plan for developing the outermost regions proposed by the Commission will be grouped in three fields of action to take into account their specific needs. The three priorities for action are:

    • promoting accessibility. The proposed measures are designed to reduce the main constraints arising from the isolation of these regions.
    • improving competitiveness. This priority aims to create an economic environment that favours the setting up of businesses. Otherwise, firms remain restricted to a limited local market that is fragmented and remote.
    • prioritising regional intergration. Regional intergration aims to develop trade in goods and services between these regions and neighbouring non-member countries. It is important to encourage their intergration into their surrounding geographical area.

    COHESION POLICY REFORM

    The strategy comes under the general context of the European Cohesion Policy reform for the period 2007-13. The third report on social and economic cohesion of February 2004 sets out the Commission’s priorities for the cohesion policy after 2006. In the context of the outermost regions, the report states that these regions are eligible for any of the regional policy objectives after 2006: Convergence, Regional Competitiveness and Employment and European Territorial Cooperation.The report also proposes

    • setting up a specific programme to compensate for additional costs;
    • implementing the ‘wider neighbourhood’ action plan.

    These elements are the subject of the legislative proposals (proposals for Regulations of 14 July 2004 – general regulation and ERDF Regulation) and non legislative proposals (strategic Community guidelines) by the Commission, in particular within the general context of the reformed European Cohesion Policy.

    Additional allocation to compensate for extra costs

    For the period 2007-13, the Commission proposes an additional allocation to compensate for the handicaps and constraints of the outermost regions, which cause additional production costs. The program will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

    This allocation aims to reduce the problems set out in the EC Treaty that, along with the factors of competitivity and accessibility, hinder the economy of the outermost regions.

    The objectives of the programme are aimed at compensating:

    • difficulties of access due to their great isolation, fragmentation and topography;
    • small regional markets, breaking bulk and no or inadequate economic diversification;
    • environmental and climatic difficulties and the preservation of biodiversity.

    The ‘wider neighbourhood’ action plan

    A “wider neighbourhood” measure aimed at facilitating cooperation with the neighbouring countries, thereby increasing economic, social and cultural links, trade in goods and services and the movement of people. These regions are very close to the geographical markets of the Caribbean, America and Africa, particularly those of the ACP countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries parties to the Cotonou Agreement). This is not a financial instrument, but a Commission initiative in order to coordinate the efforts being made by the Community more efficiently, in all policies concerned.

    The reformed European Cohesion Policy’s contribution to this action plan would be included under the new “European territorial cooperation” programme, which is based on two main principles:

    • transnational and cross-border cooperation;
    • trade and customs measures.

    The priorities in the context of the European transnational and cross-border cooperation will require the following guidelines to be taken into account:

    • facilitating exchanges as regards transport, services and the information and communications technologies;
    • facilitating exchanges of persons (including the fight against illegal immigration);
    • exchanges of experience as regards regional integration.

    The commercial policy’s contribution to this action plan is based on the actions in the field of commercial trade, and customs measures that focus on the need for the outermost regions to be integrated into their regional economy more efficiently. On one hand, the outermost regions must be included in the economic partnership agreements (EPA) between the EU and the ACP countries (ACP-EU) within the general context of the Cotonou Agreement. On the other hand, the outermost regions must be included in the Union’s preferential agreements with other non-member countries. In this context, the customs aspects must be taken into account.

    OTHER COMMUNITY POLICIES

    As well as the cohesion policy, the instruments used under the other Community policies can also help implement the development strategy for the outermost regions. These instruments come under the context of actions linked to competitiveness, growth and the specific constraints of the outermost regions.

    Actions linked to competitiveness and growth

    The additional costs impact on most of the sectors of the local economy producing goods and services in the outermost regions. This has resulted in a very poor diversification, an economy that is weak in job-creation and a higher degree of dependency than in the rest of the Union.

    To overcome these constraints, this communication proposes the following actions linked to competitivity and growth in the following areas:

    • developing human resources;
    • public services, due to the lack of any real competition between economic operators, whether public or private;
    • innovation, the information society and research and technological development (in conjunction with the objectives of the Lisbon strategy);
    • the environment.

    The specific characteristics which affect the situation of the outermost regions must also be taken into account as part of the revision of the guidelines on State aids for regional purposes.

    Action on the constraints on the outermost regions

    Use of the existing instruments in the fields of air transport and sea transport can reduce the impact of poor access to the outermost regions. The links concerned are those between the outermost regions and mainland Europe (in both directions), between the outermost regions themselves and within those regions.

    In addition the Commission proposes several measures in the agriculture sector (regarding the Rural Development Fund, reforming the specific regulations for guidance on the remoteness and insularity (POSEI) or the scheme for the sugar and banana sectors, for example) and in the fisheries sector (under the new European Fisheries Fund, for example), taking into account the fragile production in these sectors.

    Context

    In order to press ahead with the implementation of Article 299(2) on the EC Treaty of the special status of the outermost regions, the Seville European Council June 2002 invited the Commission to submit a strategy for the outermost regions. The communication of May 2004 following this decision and implements the measures in this communication.

    Related Acts

    Commission Report, 14 March 2000, on the measures to implement Article 299(2) – the outermost regions of the European Union [COM(2000) 147 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Commission Report, 19 December 2002, on implementation of Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty: measures to assist the outermost regions [COM(2002) 723 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Communication from the Commission, 18 February 2004. « A new partnership for Cohesion – Convergence, Competitiveness, Co-operation» Third Report on Economic and Social Coheison [COM(2004) 107 – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Proposal for a Council Regulation, 14 July 2004, laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund [COM(2004) 492 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council, 14 July 2004, on the European Regional Development Fund [COM(2004) 495 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Communication from the Commission, 6 August 2004, A stronger partnership for the outermost regions: situation and prospects (COM(2004) 343),

    Communication from the Commission, 26 May 2004) [COM(2004) 543 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a temporary scheme for the restructuring of the sugar industry in the European Community and amending Regulation (EC) No 1258/1999 on the financing of the common agricultural policy [COM(2005) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

     

    A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

    A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

    Topics

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

    Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

    A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

    Document or Iniciative

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2009 – Moving the ICT frontiers: a strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe [COM(2009) 184 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Summary

    This Communication highlights the key role of future and emerging technologies (FET) in the area of research and establishes the benchmarks for a long-term strategy which aims at increasing competitiveness and innovation in Europe.

    Presentation of the FET scheme

    Since its launch in 1989, the FET scheme has made it possible for radically new information technologies to be discovered and developed.

    This scheme mainly funds research activities in innovative fields and contributes to the emergence of new practices in the research sector. It is based on multidisciplinarity and fosters cooperation between European research teams.

    Challenges to be met in the area of research on future and emerging technologies

    In view of the economic crisis, Europe is investing little in high-risk transformative research on information and communication technologies (ICT). Public and private investment in high-risk research should be increased.

    Furthermore, many societal challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, health, the ageing population, security, as well as social and economic inclusion necessitate innovative solutions in the area of ICT. Researchers should be encouraged to develop such solutions freely through transformative foundational research.

    It is also important that Europe fosters multidisciplinary cooperation. The Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) initiative which aims at a personalised simulation of the human body constitutes one of the first examples of such cooperation.

    Foundational research is still too fragmented, which creates duplication of effort, diverging priorities and untapped potential. A joint strategy should be developed to avoid this fragmentation of research.

    Moreover, Europe suffers from a serious shortage of skilled researchers and from international competition. To bridge this gap, talented young researchers should be offered more attractive career opportunities.

    Industrial needs are not sufficiently taken into account by the strategic research agendas of the European Technological Platforms. Once programmes are completed, results should be systematically communicated to businesses so that they may apply the results.

    The FET scheme does not value international cooperation highly enough. It is important that researchers pool their resources in order to improve the level of excellence at global level.

    Proposed strategy

    The Commission proposes to reinforce FET under the ICT theme. In this regard, the portion of theSeventh Framework Programmebudget allocated to FET research will be increased by 20 % per year from 2011 to 2013.

    Flagship initiatives should be launched in the area of FET. One of these would consist of modelling the way in which nature processes information in order to design future biocomputers in the long term.

    Europe should coordinate national and community action in order to identify and support shared priorities, particularly in quantum and neuro-information technologies in order to combat the fragmentation of research. Calls for proposals will be launched between 2010 and 2013 in FET domains of common interest.

    Measures will be introduced to increase young researchers’ engagement in FET. The take-up of new curricula should be progressed and facilitated by national and regional authorities.

    In order to strengthen cooperation between research and business, researchers are invited to improve the dissemination of results of their work. In addition, the Commission plans to encourage high-tech SMEs to carry out research work themselves.

    In order to attract researchers from all countries, the European Commission will contact third country funding agencies (United States, China and Russia, in particular) to establish closer links in the field of research.

    Context

    This Communication addresses some of the findings of the Aho Report on R & D and Innovation. The conclusions of this report stress the necessity, for centres of excellence, of building up a critical mass of activity in strategic areas.

    This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

    Association of the OCTs with the European Community

    Association of the OCTs with the European Community

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Association of the OCTs with the European Community

    Topics

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

    Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

    Association of the OCTs with the European Community

    Document or Iniciative

    Council Decision 2001/822/EC of 27 November 2001 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Community (“Overseas Association Decision”) [See amending acts].

    Summary

    The OCT association arrangements are designed to promote the economic and social development of the OCTs more effectively and to develop economic relations between the OCTs and the EC as a whole.

    Cooperation focuses in particular on three issues:

    • the reduction, prevention and eventual eradication of poverty;
    • sustainable development;
    • the gradual integration of the OCTs into the regional and world economies.

    These association arrangements are also based on the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, which are common to the Member States and to the associated OCTs.

    AREAS OF COOPERATION

    Economic and trade cooperation: trade arrangements

    The OCTs benefit from a very advantageous trade system. Products originating in the OCTs and imported into the EC are not subject to import duties or quantitative restrictions. These arrangements are non-reciprocal, in other words, under certain conditions, products originating in the EC may be subject to import duties or charges established by the OCTs. Nonetheless, the system applied to the EC may not be any less favourable than that applied to Non-EU Member Countries in accordance with the most-favoured-nation principle by the OCTs unless another OCT or developing country is involved. Similarly, the OCTs may not discriminate between members of the European Union (EU).

    The association arrangements lay down favourable rules of origin and specific provisions permitting cumulation of origin with materials originating in the EC or in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP).

    There is also a procedure for the trans-shipment of goods which, under certain conditions, enables products not originating in the OCTs but imported there from Non-EU Member Countries and on which import duties or charges have been paid in the OCTs to be imported into the EC in line with the beneficial arrangements for OCTs. This procedure does not apply to agricultural products or goods resulting from the processing of agricultural products, with one exception.

    Development finance corporation

    Cooperation in this area is designed in particular to contribute to the development of the OCTs by supporting policies and strategies in productive sectors and in areas such as trade development, trade-related areas, human, social and environmental development, and cultural and social cooperation.

    Regional cooperation and integration

    Cooperation in this area involves operations between OCTs and between OCTs and other Non-EU Member Countries, such as ACP countries, and cooperation with the outermost regions. It is aimed at accelerating economic cooperation and development, promoting the free movement of persons, goods, services, labour and technology, liberalising trade and payments, and implementing sectoral reform policies at regional level. In addition, closer cooperation and greater integration should encourage the least-developed OCTs to participate in and benefit from regional markets.

    IMPLEMENTATION

    The association is based on the principle of a trilateral partnership between the Commission, the Member State to which the OCT is linked and the OCT itself. Two main instruments are responsible for ensuring effective cooperation:

    • an OCT-EC forum for dialogue (“OCT Forum”), which meets annually and is made up of the EC, all the OCTs and all the Member States to which the OCTs are linked;
    • an individualised partnership between the Commission, the Member State with which the OCT is linked and each of the OCTs represented by its authorities.

    Like the ACP countries, the OCTs benefit from the European Development Fund (EDF), which is the main instrument for cooperation in financing the development of the OCTs and for regional cooperation involving them. A development and cooperation strategy is adopted by each OCT in the form of a Single Programming Document (SPD). The OCTs are responsible, first and foremost, for determining and implementing cooperation measures and the SPD is thus drawn up principally by the authorities of the OCTs. It is adopted jointly by the authorities of the OCTs and the Commission. Monitoring and evaluation are the responsibility of all the partners. Civil society is also an important actor in the cooperation field and the non-governmental actors identified in each OCT should be involved in the drawing up of the cooperation programmes.

    FINANCIAL RESOURCES

    Financial resources of the EDF

    A total amount of EUR 175 million, of which EUR 20 million is set aside for the Investment Facility managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), was granted to the OCTs under the 9th EDF for the period 2000-2007. For the period 2008-2013, an amount of EUR 286 million is granted under the 10th EDF, of which EUR 30 million for financing the Investment Facility.

    EIB Investment Facility and loans

    The EDF manages the Investment Facility and loans from its own resources. The Investment Facility is designed to promote commercially viable businesses primarily in the private sector or those in the public sector that support development in the private sector.

    Financial resources from the general EU budget

    The OCTs benefit from the thematic programmes financed by the Development Cooperation Financing Instrument (DCFI) and from regeneration and reconstruction measures financed by the Stability Instrument and from humanitarian aid financed by the Humanitarian Aid Instrument.

    In addition, all the horizontal Community programmes and, in particular, those in the field of education, training and youth, research, enterprise and the audiovisual sector are, in principle, open to the OCTs, subject to the rules and objectives of those programmes and to the arrangements applicable to the Member State to which a OCT is linked.

    References

    Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

    Decision 2001/822/EC

    2.12.2001 – 31.12.2013

    OJ L 314 of 30.11.2001

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

    Decision 2007/249/EC

    26.4.2007

    OJH L 109 of 26.4.20074

    Assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals

    Assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals

    Topics

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

    Other

    Assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals

    This communication sets out to approximate Member States’ policies on the voluntary return of third-country nationals.

    Document or Iniciative

    Council Decision 97/340/JHA of 26 May 1997 on the exchange of information concerning assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals.

    Summary

    1. Those Member States which have taken steps to develop programmes to support the voluntary return of third-country nationals to their country of origin will report annually on them to the General Secretariat of the Council. The General Secretariat will circulate such information to all Member States and the Commission.

    Information on these national return programmes will, in particular, include the following information:

    • the authorities responsible for carrying out the programme, i.e. non-governmental and/or international organizations;
    • the scope of the programme in terms of the persons covered;
    • any further requirements to be met by individual returnees in order to be considered for assistance under the programme;
    • any requirements to be met by the country of origin under the programme;
    • the type and level of assistance granted (e.g. travel expenses for the returnee and his/her family, removal costs, repatriation allowance);
    • estimate of the effects of the programme, including the number of beneficiaries and the occurrence of any incentive effects.

    2. The General Secretariat of the Council will make available annually to Member States and the Commission a draft report on the information received on the basis of Article 1. This report shall be exhaustive in nature and will contain specific information on each of the points listed at 1. above The draft report referred to in paragraph 1 will be examined by the Member States concerned and the Commission and adjusted if necessary.

    3. On the basis of the draft report referred to at 2. above, the Member States concerned and the Commission will, within the Council, exchange their views on the programmes referred to at 1. above. In so doing, they will, in particular, compare the scope, conditions and effects of those programmes with a view to their possible approximation.

    References

    Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
    Decision 97/340/JHA 25.06.1997 L 147 of 05.06.1997

    Assessment and management of environmental noise

    Assessment and management of environmental noise

    Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Assessment and management of environmental noise

    Topics

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

    Environment > Noise pollution

    Assessment and management of environmental noise

    Document or Iniciative

    Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise [See amending act(s)].

    Summary

    This Directive is aimed at controlling noise perceived by people in built-up areas, in public parks or other quiet areas in an agglomeration, in quiet areas in open country, near schools, hospitals and other noise-sensitive buildings and areas. It does not apply to noise that is caused by the exposed person him or herself, noise from domestic activities, noise created by neighbours, noise at work places or inside means of transport or noise due to military activities in military areas.

    Noise indicators and their assessment methods

    Lden is an indicator of the overall noise level during the day, evening and night which is used to describe the annoyance caused by exposure to noise. Lnight is an indicator for the sound level during the night used to describe sleep disturbance. The noise indicators Lden and Lnight are used in the making of strategic noise maps.

    Other indicators may be used for acoustical planning and noise zoning and in the special cases as listed in Annex I to the Directive.

    The values of Lden and Lnight are defined using the assessment methods set out in Annex II to the Directive. Common assessment methods for the determination of Lden and Lnight will be established by the Commission. In the meantime, Member States may use their own methods to determine the common indicators, provided that such methods conform to Annex II.

    Dose-effect relations will be introduced in Annex III by future revisions in order to be able to assess the effect of noise on populations.

    No later than 18 July 2005, Member States are to communicate information to the Commission on any relevant limit values in force or under preparation, expressed in terms of Lden and Lnight and, where appropriate, Lday and Levening, for road-traffic noise, air-traffic noise, rail-traffic noise and industrial noise.

    Strategic noise mapping

    A strategic noise map enables a global assessment to be made of noise exposure in an area due to different noise sources and overall predictions to be made for such an area. The strategic noise maps must satisfy the minimum requirements laid down in Annex IV to the Directive.

    No later than 18 July 2005, Member States are to make available to the public information concerning the competent authorities and bodies responsible for making and, where relevant, approving strategic noise maps.

    No later than 30 June 2005, and thereafter every five years, Member States must inform the Commission of the major roads which have more than six million vehicle passages a year, railways which have more than 60 000 train passages per year, major airports and the agglomerations with more than 250 000 inhabitants within their territories. By 30 June 2007 at the latest, strategic noise maps showing the situation during the preceding year in the vicinity of the infrastructures and in the agglomerations referred to must have been made and, where relevant, approved.

    No later than 31 December 2008, Member States are to inform the Commission of all the agglomerations with more than 100 000 inhabitants and of all the major roads and major railways within their territories. By 30 June 2012 at the latest, and thereafter every five years, strategic noise maps showing the situation during the preceding year must be made and, where relevant, approved for those agglomerations, roads and railways.

    Noise maps must be reviewed, and revised if necessary, every five years.

    Action plans

    Action plans are aimed at managing noise issues and effects, including noise reduction if necessary. They must meet the minimum requirements set out in Annex V to the Directive.

    The measures within the plans are at the discretion of the competent authorities, but should address priorities which may be identified by the exceeding of any relevant limit value or by other criteria chosen by the Member States and apply in particular to the most important areas as established by strategic mapping.

    No later than 18 July 2005, Member States are to make available to the public information concerning the authorities and bodies responsible for drawing up and, where relevant, approving the action plans.

    No later than 18 July 2008, action plans must be drawn up for major roads which have more than six million vehicle passages a year, railways which have more than 60 000 train passages per year, major airports and agglomerations with more than 250 000 inhabitants.
    No later than 18 July 2013, action plans must be drawn up for all major agglomerations, major airports, major roads and major railways.

    The action plans are to be reviewed when a major development occurs affecting the existing noise situation, and at least every five years.

    Information for the citizen

    Member States are to ensure that a public consultation is organised and the results thereof are taken into account before the action plans are approved.

    Member States are to ensure that the strategic noise maps and the action plans are made available and disseminated to the public in conformity with Annexes IV and V to this Directive and in accordance with the Directive on the freedom of access to information on the environment.

    Reports concerning the Directive

    On 10 March 2004, the Commission forwarded a report to the European Parliament and the Council on existing Community measures relating to sources of environmental noise (see “Related Acts” below).

    Member States are to collect the noise maps and action plans. They are to forward to the Commission the information contained in the noise maps and a summary of the action plans. Every five years, the Commission is to publish a summary report on the data contained in the noise maps and action plans. The first report will be submitted by 18 July 2009.

    No later than 18 July 2009, the Commission is to submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the application of this Directive. The report will assess the need for further Community actions on environmental noise and, if appropriate, propose implementing strategies. It is to include in particular a review of the acoustic environment quality in the Community. The report is to be reviewed every five years.

    References

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

    Directive 2002/49/EC

    18.7.2002

    18.7.2002

    OJ L 189 of 18.7.2002

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

    Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

    11.12.2008

    OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008

    The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2002/49/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

    Related Acts

    Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 1 June 2011 on the implementation of the Environmental Noise Directive in accordance with Article 11 of Directive 2002/49/EC [COM (2011) 321 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

    Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 10 March 2004 concerning existing Community measures relating to sources of environmental noise, pursuant to article 10(1) of Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise [COM(2004) 160 – Not published in the Official Journal].