Tag Archives: Citizenship

Youth in Action

Youth in Action

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


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

This action supports:

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

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

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

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

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

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

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

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

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

Related Acts

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

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

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

European Youth Pact

European Youth Pact

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Youth Pact


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

European Youth Pact

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 30 May 2005 on European policies concerning youth: Addressing the concerns of young people in Europe – implementing the European Youth Pact and promoting active citizenship [COM(2005) 206 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Communication draws attention to the three strands of the Pact adopted by the European Council in March 2005:

  • employment, integration and social advancement;
  • education, training and mobility;
  • reconciliation of family life and working life.

The measures to be taken in these three areas will have to be fully incorporated into the revised Lisbon Strategy, the European Employment Strategy, the Social Inclusion Strategy and the ” Education and Training 2010 ” work programme.

For the purpose of implementing the different measures, the Member States will draw on the “integrated guidelines for growth and employment”, within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Commission’s text highlights the aspects of the integrated guidelines and the Community Lisbon programme that are relevant to the Pact.

Measures for the employment, integration and social advancement of young people

The following guidelines have the most relevance for young people:

  • promotion of a life-cycle approach to work (entailing, inter alia, renewed efforts to build employment pathways for young people and to reduce youth unemployment, in tandem with resolute action to eliminate gender gaps in employment, unemployment and pay);
  • creation of inclusive labour markets for job-seekers and disadvantaged people;
  • improvement in the matching of labour market needs;
  • expansion of investment in human capital;
  • adjustment of education and training systems in response to new skills requirements.

The Member States will receive financial assistance from the European Social Fund and the European Investment Bank for implementing the necessary measures. The Commission wants the Member States to devise tailor-made action plans providing job search assistance, guidance services and training. The Communication also proposes that:

  • the Commission and the Member States give priority to young people in the mutual learning programme on employment in 2005;
  • the Commission and the Member States, through the Social Inclusion Strategy, improve the situation of the most vulnerable young people;
  • the Commission launch a study on the social integration of highly disadvantaged young people in 2005.

Measures for education, training and mobility

The priorities are:

  • reducing the number of early school leavers;
  • widening access to vocational, secondary and higher education, including apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training;
  • defining common frameworks to make qualification systems more transparent;
  • tackling the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • implementing the Europass decision;
  • developing a “Youthpass”.

The Commission intends, during 2005 and 2006, to:

  • adopt a Communication on entrepreneurship education;
  • propose a European Qualifications Framework;
  • adopt a Recommendation on key competences.

The Communication looks at ways of enhancing young people’s mobility, highlighting a number of initiatives:

  • in 2006, the European Year of Worker Mobility, specific initiatives will be taken for the benefit of young people entering the job market;
  • from 2007, there will be follow-up to the 2002-05 action plan of the Commission and the Member States for skills and mobility;
  • the Member States will be asked to boost implementation of the Recommendation on the mobility of students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers;
  • the Commission will adapt tools such as EURES and PLOTEUS with a view to enhancing the opportunities for young people to work and study abroad;
  • the Commission will, in 2005, make recommendations on a mobility card for young people in Europe;
  • the Commission will think about extending the “Working holidays” initiative;
  • the Commission and the Member States will, in 2007, implement new forms of European Voluntary Service.

Measures for reconciling family life and working life

The Communication makes it clear that a better balance is needed between work and family life in order to tackle the problems associated with demographic ageing and a low birth rate. With a view to better reconciling family and working life, the Commission will encourage:

  • the Member States to make provision for quality accessible and affordable childcare facilities and care for other dependants;
  • the Member States, assisted by the Commission, to develop new forms of work organisation, such as flexitime, tele-working, maternity and parental leave.

Following on from the Green Paper on Europe’s changing demographics, the Commission has launched a process of consultation with the aim of identifying policies to be pursued or reinforced at European and national levels.


The citizenship of young people is a focal point of the open method of coordination. With a view to improving participation, information, voluntary activities and knowledge of youth issues, the Council adopted 14 common objectives in 2003 and 2004. In its Communication of October 2004 [COM(2004) 694 final], the Commission gave a positive evaluation of the activities conducted at European level, while stressing the need for suitable measures at national level to consolidate the common objectives.

The Pact and associated actions ought to give rise to better understanding and greater knowledge of youth in the areas concerned, namely:

  • employment;
  • integration and inclusion;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • mobility;
  • recognition of youth work.


The Communication draws attention to other policies which are relevant to young people:

  • since 2005, the European campaign “For Diversity – Against Discrimination” has been extended to young people;
  • a European initiative for the health of children and young people is planned for 2006;
  • studies focusing specifically on youth will be undertaken as part of the Sixth Research Framework Programme;
  • the Seventh Research Framework Programme will include youth-related research, which could focus on the impact of young people’s participation in representative democracy and voluntary activities;
  • the Commission will launch, in 2005, a public consultation on sport.


Policy actions targeting young people should be accompanied by programmes supporting projects that encourage young people to become active citizens. Various European programmes support such projects:

  • European Social Fund;
  • European Regional Development Fund;
  • Rural Development Fund;
  • ” Youth ” and “Youth in Action”;
  • Integrated Lifelong Learning Programme;
  • ” Citizens for Europe “;
  • Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme;
  • Marie Curie Programme;
  • European Science Education Initiative.


As far as the Pact itself is concerned, the European Council has emphasised the need to consult young people and their organisations both on the development of national reform programmes for the Lisbon Strategy and on follow-up action. National youth councils should, in any event, be among those consulted.

The Commission also intends to consult young people and the European Youth Forum on youth policy. This consultation process will culminate in the holding of a Youth Assembly in 2005. In addition, the Commission hopes that this assembly will be a precursor of “annual encounters” between young people and Commissioners.


This Communication builds on the European Youth Pact adopted by the Heads of State or Government during the European Council of March 2005.

Adoption of the Pact coincides with the completion of the first cycle of implementing the White Paper on a new impetus for European youth, published in 2001.

Related Acts

Resolution of the Council of 24 November 2005 on addressing the concerns of young people in Europe — implementing the European Pact for Youth and promoting active citizenship[Official Journal C 292/5 of 24.11.2005]
The Council invites the Member States to develop structured dialogue with young people and their organisations at national, regional and local level on policy actions affecting them, with the involvement of researchers in the youth field. It calls on the Member States and the Commission to:

  • encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning, for example through developing a “Youthpass” and considering its inclusion in Europass, and consider the validation of such learning;
  • identify obstacles to and exchange, develop and apply good practice concerning young people’s mobility in order to make it easier for them to work, volunteer, train and study throughout the European Union and further afield;
  • evaluate the framework for European cooperation in the youth field in 2009.

Conclusions of the Council Presidency at the end of the European Council meeting on 22 and 23 March 2005

The European Council called on the Member states, within the framework of the European Employment Strategy and the Social Inclusion Strategy, to improve the education, training, mobility, vocational integration and social inclusion of young people, while facilitating the reconciliation of working life and family life.

The Pact should ensure the overall consistency of initiatives to be taken in these different areas. Its success depends on the involvement of all parties concerned, first and foremost youth organisations.

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors' assets

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets


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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Even with a court judgment obtained, recovering cross-border debts may be difficult for creditors in practice if no information on the debtors’ assets or whereabouts is available. Because of this, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper launching a public consultation on how to improve the recovery of debts through possible measures such as registers and debtor declarations.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 6 March 2008 on the effective enforcement of judgments in the European Union: the transparency of debtors’ assets [COM(2008) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The late and non-payment of debts is detrimental to business and customers alike, particularly when no information is available on the debtor’s assets or whereabouts. This is a particular cross-border issue in debt recovery and has the potential to affect the smooth running of the internal market. In launching a public consultation, the European Commission has outlined the problems of the current situation and possible solutions in this Green Paper. Interested parties can submit their comments by 30 September 2008.

State of play

The search for a debtor’s address and information on his financial situation is often the starting point for enforcement proceedings. At national level, most Member States mainly use two different systems for obtaining information, either:

  • systems of declaration of the debtor’s entire assets or at least a part of it to satisfy the claim;
  • search systems with specific information (registers).

In this Green Paper, the European Commission focuses more on a series of measures instead of one single European measure to allow the creditor to obtain reliable information on the debtor’s assets and whereabouts within a reasonable period of time. Possible measures include:

  • drawing up a manual of national enforcement laws and practices: at present, there is very little information on the different enforcement systems in the 27 European Union Member States. Such a manual could contain all sources of information on a person’s assets, which could be accessed in each country; contact addresses, costs, etc.
  • increasing the information available and improving access to registers: the main sources of information on the debtor are public registers, such as commercial or population registers. However, these vary from one Member State to the next. The Commission is asking whether to increase information available in and access to commercial registers and in what way access to existing population registers should be enhanced. Furthermore, access to social security and tax registers by enforcement authorities may be increased, while respecting rules of data protection and social and fiscal privacy.
  • exchange of information between enforcement authorities: currently, enforcement bodies are not able to directly access the (non-public) registers of other Member States which are open to national enforcement bodies. In addition, there are no international instruments dealing with the exchange of information between national enforcement bodies. In the absence of a Europe-wide register, enhancing cooperation between national enforcement authorities and direct exchange of information between them may a possible solution.
  • measures relating to the debtor’s declaration: enforcement bodies have in several Member States the option to question the debtor directly regarding his assets, whereas in some Member States the debtor’s declaration is made in the form of a testimony before the enforcement court. In some Member States, the debtor has to fill out mandatory forms, and in others a debtor’s declaration does not exist at all. The European Commission is considering introducing a European Assets declaration, obliging the debtors to disclose all assets in the European judicial area. In this way, the transparency of the debtor’s assets would not be limited by the territoriality of the enforcement proceedings.

Actions and tools for integration

Actions and tools for integration

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Actions and tools for integration


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

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Actions and tools for integration

Document or Iniciative

Commission Staff Working Document of 8 October 2008 – Strengthening actions and tools to meet integration challenges – Report to the 2008 Ministerial Conference on Integration [SEC(2008) 2626 – Not published in the Official Journal].


This report presents the past actions and those that still need to be taken in order to develop European integration policies. The focus rests on participation, diversity management and common indicators, the priority areas for the approaches to integration. Attention is also brought to developments in the fields of employment, social inclusion and education as means of fostering immigrants’ participation in their host societies.

Promoting immigrants’ access to rights and fulfilment of their responsibilities as citizens allows for the creation of a closer connection with the host societies. Although forms of participation and policies on citizenship are varied, Member States’ policies on participation remain insufficient. In order to further immigrants’ integration, their participation in the democratic process must be supported. At the same time, information on the criteria for acquiring nationality needs to be provided and the administrative barriers reduced.

At the European Union (EU) level, integration is considered as a “dynamic two-way process of mutual accommodation” by both the immigrants and the host societies. Several migration-related diversity initiatives have already been launched at the EU and national levels. The two imminent initiatives that aim to bring together immigrants and the host populations consist of a one-stop-shop website on integration for networking among stakeholders and the European Integration Forum for dialoguing with the organised civil society. However, additional work needs to be undertaken by the host societies to foster understanding of immigrants and to guarantee immigrants’ participation.

Effective integration policies can empower immigrants and thus contribute to the prevention of their social alienation. Several initiatives that bring together stakeholders to discuss issues relating to intercultural dialogue and their role in the integration of immigrants have already been pursued. Intercultural and inter-/intra-religious dialogue are seen as effective tools in the fight against racism, xenophobia, discrimination and isolation of immigrants. However, intercultural competences must be further developed by taking a sustainable and cross-sectoral approach to intercultural dialogue and by mainstreaming it into all relevant policy areas.

Integration processes have already been the focus of several studies and different integration measures have already been initiated at the EU and national levels. Therefore, it is essential to build on these experiences by using them as a basis for the common European modules for integration. The foundation for these modules will be derived, in particular, from the Handbooks on Integration. The aim is to provide a flexible and adaptable reference point for the creation of comprehensive integration programmes.

Monitoring and evaluation practices are essential for developing and improving integration policies. Several solutions for developing common indexes already exist; nevertheless, more systematic approaches are needed for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information relating to integration. To this end, the Commission, in cooperation with experts, aims to conceive appropriate indicators that will also concentrate on the outcomes and deliverables and allow for the comparative analysis of integration policies. The results derived from these indicators will be published on the future website on integration.

In order to further promote the participation of immigrants, their integration in terms of employment, social inclusion and education should be ensured. Employment, in particular, is considered as integral to immigrants’ participation in the host society and as an essential element in the integration process. Consequently, immigrants’ access to the labour market should be facilitated.

Social inclusion and access to social protection are also crucial to the integration process. Poverty, barriers to accessing social services and discrimination undermine immigrants’ participation in the host society. Therefore, immigrants’ social inclusion constitutes one of the priorities within the EU social inclusion strategy. This topic will form the subject of the 2010 European thematic year.

Education and training must also be incorporated into integration policies as they are fundamental in promoting immigrants’ participation. At the same time, education and training also provide the material for building cultural bridges and hence a more cohesive society. For the moment though, immigrant children and youth face particular educational challenges that need to be addressed.


This report is in response to the Council Conclusions on integration of June 2007. The Council had called on the Commission to report back on the consolidation of the Common Agenda for Integration that was adopted in 2005 and on the implementation of the Common Basic Principles on integration (CBPs). It also follows on from the Commission Communication “A Common Immigration Policy for Europe: Principles, actions and tools” of June 2008.

Citizenship of the Union

Citizenship of the Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Citizenship of the Union


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

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Citizenship of the Union

Any person who is a national of a Member State of the European Union (EU) is a European citizen. EU citizenship thus complements national citizenship without replacing it. An integral part of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, EU citizenship confers nationals of Member States a series of rights. These include the rights to appeal to the Ombudsman, initiate legislative proposals (citizens’ initiative), and to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal and European elections. Citizens of the Union also enjoy freedom of movement and residence within the territory of the EU, as well as diplomatic and consular protection outside the Union from any Member State.


  • The Stockholm Programme
  • Action plan on the Stockholm Programme
  • The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Putting the Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice
  • The European Ombudsman
  • Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights
  • Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons
  • Reports on citizenship of the Union

Action programmes

  • European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011)
  • Fundamental rights and citizenship (2007-13)
  • Europe for Citizens (2007-13)
  • Active European citizenship (2004-2006)
  • Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation


  • Right of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States


  • Participating in municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate


  • Voting rights and eligibility in European Parliament elections
  • Evaluation of the European Parliament Elections (2004)
  • Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament


  • Emergency travel document (ETD)
  • Diplomatic and consular protection
  • Effective consular protection (Action Plan 2007-2009)
  • Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries (Green Paper)

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years


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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in criminal matters

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

How can we strengthen the area of freedom, security and justice within the European Union? The Commission’s answer to this question consists of 10 priorities for the next five years.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 10 May 2005 – The Hague Programme: ten priorities for the next five years. The Partnership for European renewal in the field of Freedom, Security and Justice [COM(2005) 184 final – Official Journal C 236 of 24.9.2005].


The multiannual Hague Programme, adopted at the European Council of 4 and 5 November 2004, sets out 10 priorities for the Union with a view to strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice in the next five years. An annex to the communication sets out specific measures and a timetable for their adoption (see also Action Plan).

The Commission feels that efforts should be concentrated on the following 10 priorities:

Strengthening fundamental rights and citizenship. The Union plans to monitor and promote the observance of fundamental rights in European policies. Among other things, it converted the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia into the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in January 2007. The Commission will devote special attention to children’s rights and to continuing its efforts to combat violence against women. It also intends to work against all kinds of discrimination and to ensure the protection of personal data. The way in which the rights conferred by European citizenship – such as free movement within the Union and voting rights in European Parliament and local elections – are exercised must also be improved. The measures adopted by the Commission include inter alia the “Fundamental Rights and Justice” framework programme and assessment reports on how successfully directives regarding the right to move and reside freely are applied.

Anti-terrorist measures. A comprehensive response to terrorism is the only way to combat it effectively. The approach must be integrated and coherent. The Commission emphasises the need for terrorism prevention and exchanging information. Its intention is to support Member States in their fight against terrorism by focusing on terrorism recruitment and financing, prevention, risk analysis, protection of vulnerable infrastructure and consequence management. Terrorism and its causes can only be combated effectively through cooperation with third countries. The measures adopted by the Commission to achieve its objectives include: proposals aimed at strengthening cooperation between the law-enforcement services of Member States, particularly by improved exchanges of information, a European framework for the protection of related data, a communication on the protection of critical infrastructure, a communication on the prevention of and the fight against terrorism financing, a proposal on preventing the misuse of charitable organisations for the financing of terrorism and monitoring the pilot project in place for the victims of terrorism.

Defining a balanced approach to migration. The Commission intends to come up with a new, balanced approach to dealing with legal and illegal immigration. This involves fighting illegal immigration and the trafficking of human beings, especially women and children. The Hague Programme provides for the adoption of a communication and a plan for legal immigration.

The proper management of migration flows also involves greater cooperation with third countries in all fields, including the readmission and return of migrants. The measures introduced by the Commission to achieve this include the “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows” framework programme, which covers the creation of an External Borders Fund, an Integration Fund, a Return Fund and a European Refugee Fund.

Developing integrated management of the Union’s external borders. Within the Union, the free movement of persons is made possible by the removal of internal border controls. This requires greater efforts to strengthen the integrated management of external borders. The FRONTEX-Agency has been set up to manage external borders and may be given additional tasks in the future. Equally important is the creation of an effective visa policy through development of, for example, a visa information system and, in the future, a common European consular service. One of the short-term priorities is to make identity and travel documents more secure by equipping them with biometric identifiers.

Setting up a common asylum procedure
. The Commission aims to set up a harmonised and effective asylum procedure. In the short-term, it will be submitting a proposal for a directive concerning long-term resident status for refugees and in the medium-term, once the way in which existing legislation is being applied has been assessed, it will propose a common procedure and status for refugees. Operational cooperation in the field of asylum will be continued and maintained, notably by way of the European Refugee Fund.

Maximising the positive impact of immigration. Immigrant communities must be integrated if they are not to become isolated and excluded from society. The Commission encourages Member States to push ahead with their integration policies in order to help improve mutual understanding and dialogue between religions and cultures. It also intends to set up a European framework for integration and to promote a structural exchange of experience and information on integration.

Striking the right balance between privacy and security while sharing information. Law-enforcement authorities must be able to share information if they are to fight terrorism and investigate cross-border crime effectively. The Union must support constructive dialogue between all interested parties in order to find solutions accommodating both the availability of information and the observance of fundamental rights, such as the protection of privacy and the protection of data. The European Police Office (Europol) has a central role in this context.

Developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime. Cooperation between Member States’ law-enforcement authorities, such as the police or customs, must be improved in the fight against organised crime. Working towards a European model for criminal intelligence is a priority. Therefore, the Commission adopted a communication on developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime in 2005.

A genuine European area of justice. Access to justice must be guaranteed in order for judgments to be made and enforced. The Union must take steps to instil mutual confidence between Member States by laying down minimum procedural standards, which for example safeguard the right of defence.

As regards civil legal matters, the Commission is focusing on completing its mutual recognition programme for judgments in civil and commercial matters. To this end, it has initiated consultations regarding judgments on family property, succession and wills with a view to drawing up new legislative proposals.

As regards criminal legal matters, legislation must sometimes be approximated and minimum legal procedural standards must be set up if mutual confidence between Member States is to be strengthened. Eurojust is the key player as regards judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

The Commission also wishes to see greater protection of the Union’s financial interests. Operational measures to safeguard a genuine European area of justice include: Union support for judicial organisations and institution networks, justice quality assessment, a communication on legal training in the EU and seminars to promote cooperation between legal practitioners.

Sharing responsibility and solidarity. No political objective can be met without adequate funding. The Hague Programme was adopted at a time when the Commission was preparing its proposals for the financial perspective 2007-13; this made it possible to ensure that the objectives of the Hague Programme were in line with the financial means available for them over the same period. In April 2005, the Commission presented three framework programmes examining which type of political and financial instruments most effectively enable the objectives of freedom, security and justice to be met.

The Commission attaches great importance to the implementation of provisions and to how it can assess and evaluate such implementation by Member States. Political flexibility in matters concerning justice, freedom and security enables political priorities to be shuffled in response to unexpected events, such as the London attacks of 7 July 2005. The nature and scale of such events are often international. The Action Plan should therefore also be flexible and adaptable. The European Council wished to have a midterm-review , and the Commission provided annual “scoreboards” on the state of implementation of the Hague Programme.

Related Acts

Council and Commission Action Plan implementing the Hague Programme on strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union [Official Journal C 198 of 12.8.2005].
This Action Plan is intended to serve as a frame of reference for the work of the Council and the Commission for 2004-09. It contains a timetable for the adoption and implementation of the actions set out in the Plan that were designed to put into practice the priorities and objectives of the Hague Programme (strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU) adopted as a result of the above communication. These measures – legislative proposals, consultation documents (green papers) and reports – are designed to give a practical aspect to the Hague Programme in an effective way.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 June 2009 – Justice, freedom and security in Europe since 2005: an evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan [COM(2009) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In this communication, the Commission presents the evaluations of the implementation of the Hague Programme at both the EU and Member State levels as well as the themes to guide future action within the next multiannual programme (the Stockholm Programme).
Initiatives in the field of justice, freedom and security are relatively recent compared to other actions taken at the EU-level. Nevertheless, progress has been achieved on a number of measures, such as on the protection of fundamental rights, asylum and immigration policies, border management and visa policy, anti-terrorism and the fight against crime, as well as police cooperation.
The realisation of a European area of justice has also progressed, especially through improved cross-border judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters. Significant progress has been made in particular on the legislative and operational aspects of the principle on mutual recognition, which is the cornerstone of judicial cooperation.
While the fight against drugs has also been effective, drug use in certain Member States has increased.
Less progress has been made on the rights of EU citizens, in particular due to the deficient transposition by Member States of Directive 2004/38/EC on the free movement of citizens within the Union.
In general though, most of the specific measures set out in the Hague Programme have been adopted, though the full impact of many of them will be realised only in the longer term. Nevertheless, due to the specific nature of the justice, freedom and security policy area, progress has been relatively uneven. For example, decision-making under the “third pillar” has been slow and at times limiting the desired outcomes. In addition, transposition by Member States of legislative instruments falling under the “third pillar” is often delayed and no recourse exists for formal infringement procedures. The Lisbon Treaty, once in effect, should speed up decision-making, while future action should focus on consolidating and enforcing the existing legal framework.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 July 2008 – Report on Implementation of the Hague Programme for 2007 [COM(2008) 373 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This third annual report (“scoreboard”) illustrates a relatively similar trend with regard to progress as the previous reports (below). However, the overall assessment is rather unsatisfactory, with the rate of achievement only 38% compared to 53% in 2006. A higher number of actions were also either delayed or abandoned altogether as compared to 2006.
As in previous years, insufficient progress was made in particular on the “third pillar” actions, namely on the prevention of and fight against organised crime, police and customs cooperation, and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Nevertheless, good progress was made in the fight against terrorism, which remains a political priority within Justice and Home Affairs. Significant developments were also made in the other priority areas that fall under the “first pillar”. These include migration and border policy, and judicial cooperation in civil matters. However, progress on visa policy was not perceived as sufficient.
Some Member States have made considerable progress with national transposition, in contrast to previous years. Yet, many continue to miss the transposition deadlines by one or more years. Furthermore, for some of the legal instruments, transposition by Member States has been incomplete or even incorrect. Consequently, decision-making should be improved within the area of Justice and Home Affairs.
As a result of the insufficient progress made on certain actions over the past few years, the Commission is aiming to present a communication on the future of justice, freedom and security policies in 2009. This communication should not only further developments in this policy area, but also serve as the starting point for the next multiannual (2010-14) programme.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 3 July 2007 – Report on the implementation of the Hague Programme for 2006 [COM(2007) 373 final –Official Journal C 191 of 17.8.2007].
The overall assessment of the Hague Programme was mixed: 53% of the actions were achieved but progress was not consistent in all policy areas.
Progress was made in “first pillar” areas such as fundamental rights, citizenship, civil justice, the European drugs strategy, asylum and migration, and visa and border policies. However, delays occurred in “third pillar” areas such as police and judicial cooperation, where unanimity was required.
The “scoreboard” shows that implementation at national level was not satisfactory. A number of Member States missed the deadlines for transposing the legal instruments into national law, in some cases by one or more years.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Report on the implementation of the Hague Programme for 2005 [COM(2006) 333 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].
This communication examines the state of play on each measure scheduled in the Hague Programme for 2005, or on a regular/ongoing basis in the Hague Action Plan. In addition to this monitoring of the adoption process, and for the first time as part of such an exercise for justice, freedom and security policies, it looks into the monitoring of the national implementation of these policies. This initial assessment reveals that, despite progress achieved by the Union in “communitised” justice, freedom and security policies such as judicial cooperation in civil matters, unanimous voting delayed the adoption of priority policies under the Hague Programme, such as those concerning the first phase of the European asylum system. At a national level, both the adoption and implementation of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (the “third pillar”) remain especially problematic.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Evaluation of EU Policies on Freedom, Security and Justice [COM(2006) 332 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Implementing the Hague Programme: the way forward [COM(2006) 331 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].