Tag Archives: Community policy

Promotion of inland waterway transport NAIADES

Promotion of inland waterway transport NAIADES

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promotion of inland waterway transport NAIADES

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Environment > Tackling climate change

Promotion of inland waterway transport “NAIADES”

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 17 January 2006 on the promotion of inland waterway transport “NAIADES”: “an Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport” [COM(2006) 6 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In the view of the European Union, economic competitiveness depends in part on transport systems. Its goal is to achieve transition to less energy-intensive, cleaner and safer transport modes. Inland waterway transport is an ideal choice in this respect.

This communication sets out an integrated action programme, and the European Institutions, the Member States and the inland waterway sector are invited to contribute actively to its implementation.

Inland waterway transport is booming

The Commission’s European Transport White Paper sets out to achieve economic competitiveness and sustainable mobility in the medium term. The Commission considers that inland waterway transport can contribute to the sustainability of the transport system.

Inland navigation has undergone significant expansion in the last twenty years. It would also appear that inland navigation is the most environmentally-friendly mode of land transport.

The Commission believes that growth in inland navigation may lead to a reduction in transport costs, which would favour the setting up of businesses. However, employment within the navigation sector could also be developed more. In the view of the Commission, inland navigation infrastructure is not being used at full capacity.

The difficulty in this sector arises from the fragmented market structure, which is chiefly made up of SMEs and where fierce competition restricts reinvestment ability. There is also a shortage of labour and a lack of staff within businesses.

The Commission deplores the fact that transport and logistics firms and public authorities are unaware of the advantages of inland waterway transport.

The institutional framework for inland navigation in Europe is fragmented and ineffective in terms of the use of administrative resources and attention at the political level, creating a complex environment for businesses.

Aims of the Action Programme

This programme is entitled “NAIADES” (Navigation and Inland Waterway Action and Development in Europe), for a global Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) policy. This action programme focuses chiefly on five inter-dependent areas.

  • Markets. Although IWT was developed in Western Europe, the aim is to extend these inland navigation services to new growth markets such as the transport of dangerous goods, vehicles, indivisible loads, or even refuse and recycling. The Commission hopes to encourage new multimodal services, which would require close cooperation with freight forwarders, affected businesses and the ports. However, in this sector so deserving of encouragement, problems related to access to capital are restricting financing capacity. Access to capital can be improved by tax incentives, particularly for the most affected operators, namely SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). To promote the prosperity of the IWT sector, efforts must also be made to enhance and simplify the administrative and regulatory frameworks.
  • Fleet. The advantages of IWT for transport and environment policy should result in investments being channelled into the vital modernisation and development of the sector. Maintaining good performances from an environmental point of view requires the use of new technologies, and in particular research into commercially viable alternative fuels. Safety, already exemplary in IWT, could be improved further. The legal framework should be enhanced so that new technologies can be implemented more quickly.
  • Jobs and skills. There is a severe shortage of labour in the sector. The Commission hopes to attract labour by offering to improve working and social conditions through a constructive social dialogue at European level. As regards the validity of professional qualifications, the paper proposes the mutual recognition of such qualifications throughout the European Union. It is also necessary to guarantee the existence of educational establishments in the sector by adapting training to current needs.
  • Image. It would be useful from the Commission’s point of view if general awareness and knowledge of the real potential of the sector in terms of quality and reliability were improved. Promoting the sector would ideally result in the coordination of promotion activities by all the actors concerned. The European IWT promotion and development network is already in existence in some Member States. This network provides businesses with up-to-date information. The opening of promotion centres and other national focal points should make it possible to develop the network. The dissemination of such information is essential for businesses, economic and political decision-makers and the authorities in anticipating market trends. National administrations should try to make such statistics available in a more effective manner. The Commission, professional organisations and the Central Commission for navigation on the Rhine are currently drawing up a European system for the observation of the market.
  • Infrastructure. Bottlenecks affect the 36 000 km of inland waterways, restricting their use and reducing their competitiveness. Eliminating these bottlenecks is a priority in the establishment of effective and environmentally-friendly IWT. In the view of the Commission, funding opportunities could emerge in the long term on the basis of a framework for infrastructure charging for all transport modes. The programme places the emphasis on information exchanges relating to traffic management and the monitoring of dangerous goods by the regulatory authorities. River Information Services will enhance the competitiveness and safety of IWT.

The programme makes provision for a range of activities that cannot have an effect if they are not implemented in a coherent manner. Unfortunately, the organisational structure of the IWT sector is characterised a fragmentation of resources and legal provisions. The viability of the objectives established by the Commission in this action programme depends on the discussion of different options:

  • the strengthening of cooperation between the international river commissions and the European Commission as established in the area of technical requirements for vessels. However, this perpetuates the fragmentation of rules, as different legal provisions apply in a number of different geographical regions of the EU;
  • the accession of the European Commission to the Rhine and the Danube Commissions would strengthen the Community’s participation beyond its current observer status. No political agreement has been reached on this approach;
  • the creation of an intergovernmental Pan-European Inland Navigation Organisation, on the basis of a new international convention. This option would raise the political profile of IWT but would also generate an administrative burden with the addition of a new institutional layer and the harmonisation of the entire existing legal framework;
  • the development of IWT within the Community. The Community is in a position to develop this strategic and comprehensive policy for the single market. At the same time, IWT in Europe has connections with third countries (Switzerland, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia), whose interest must be taken into account.

Background

Over 35 000 km of waterways link hundred of towns and areas of industrial concentration. Since 1 January 1993, inland waterway transport has also benefited from the liberalisation of cabotage, the main effect of which has been the end of the rota system which prevented companies employing these services from having a free choice of carrier. The Commission underlines the need to implement a common transport policy that is safe, effective, competitive, conscious of social concerns and environmentally-friendly. With this aim in mind, it is adopting this communication on the promotion of inland waterway transport. Inland waterways play an important part in the transport of goods in Europe. The various measures and actions indicated in this programme will be further elaborated following deliberation in the Council and Parliament. The Commission will present, if appropriate, legislative proposals and implement the policy measures. The time frame for the implementation of the plan is the period 2006 – 2013.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 5 December 2007: “First progress report on the implementation of the NAIADES Action Programme for the promotion of inland waterway transport” [COM(2007) 770 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Since the NAIADES Action Programme was set up, the general perception of inland waterway transport has been strengthened.The Commission identifies the European legislation adopted since the Communication was adopted and undertakes to maintain the momentum created by the initiative. It intends to take action in various areas, such as:

  • financing, by setting up an innovation fund for inland waterway transport;
  • human resource issues, by adopting, for example, specific provisions on working time and professional qualification requirements;
  • the regulatory and administrative framework, in order to foster a favourable commercial environment;
  • infrastructures, by preparing an indicative development plan to improve and maintain inland waterways and internal ports, taking into account the European Port Policy and environmental requirements;
  • organisational assistance, by creating a platform of all interested stakeholders (Member States, river commissions, industry, etc.) in the shape of an IWT “think-tank”.

Council Regulation (EC) No 718/1999 of 29 March 1999 on a Community-fleet capacity policy to promote inland waterway transport [Official Journal L 90 of 2.4.1999].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 December 1998 – The common transport policy: “Sustainable mobility: Perspectives for the future” Commission Opinion [COM(1998) 716 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies

Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies

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Education training youth sport > Sport

Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies

Document or Iniciative

Declaration of the European Council on the specific characteristics of sport and its social function in Europe, of which account should be taken in implementing common policies

Summary

The role of the Community

Sporting organisations and the Member States have primary responsibility in the conduct of sporting affairs. The Community has only indirect powers in this area. Nevertheless, it is felt that the Community should take account of the social, educational and cultural functions of sport in its action under the various provisions of the Treaty, in order to preserve the social role of sport.

Guiding principle

The declaration lays down principles concerning the various aspects of sport, with a view to preserving the cohesion and ties of solidarity that exist in sport at all levels, fair competition, and the moral and material interests and physical integrity of sportsmen and women, especially minors.

The Community institutions and the Member States are invited to continue to examine their policies on the basis of these principles, if they so wish.

Sport for all

  • Sport is based on fundamental social, educational and cultural values. It makes for integration, involvement in the life of society, tolerance, acceptance of differences and compliance with rules;
  • Sporting activity should be accessible to every man and women, regardless of his or her abilities or interests;
  • Physical activity is extremely important for disabled people and should be encouraged. It is particularly conducive to rehabilitation, reeducation, integration into society and individual development;
  • The Member States encourage voluntary services in sport, with the support, where necessary, of the Community, within the limits of its powers.

Role of sports federations

  • The task of sporting organisations is to organise and promote their particular sport, in line with their objectives, with due regard for national and Community legislation and on the basis of a democratic and transparent method of operation. They enjoy independence and the right to organise themselves;
  • Sporting federations have a key role to play in ensuring the necessary solidarity between the various levels of sporting practice, from recreational to top-level sport. Among other things, they support amateur sports, ensure equal access, train young people and protect health, including taking measures to combat doping;
  • These social functions entail special responsibilities and form the basis for the recognition of their competence to organise competitions;
  • Their method of organisation must ensure cohesion in sport and participatory democracy.

Preservation of sports training policies

Training policies for young sportsmen and sportswomen should be encouraged. Sporting federations, where appropriate in tandem with the public authorities, should take the necessary action to preserve the training capacity of clubs affiliated to them and ensure the quality of such training.

Protection of young sportsmen and sportswomen

  • It is necessary to pay special heed to the vocational training of top young sportsmen and sportswomen in order to ensure that their vocational integration is not jeopardised by their sporting careers, but without disregarding their mental balance, family ties and health, in particular the prevention of doping.
  • Member States and sporting organisations should monitor and investigate commercial transactions targeting minors in sport, including those from third countries, in order to ensure that they comply with labour law and do not endanger the health and welfare of young sportsmen and sportswomen. There is also a need, where appropriate, to consider appropriate measures.

Economic context of sport and solidarity

  • The ownership or economic control by one financial operator of several sporting clubs taking part in the same competition may jeopardise fair competition. Sports federations are encouraged to introduce arrangements for overseeing the management of clubs in order to prevent a situation of this kind from arising.
  • As the sale of television broadcasting rights is one of the greatest sources of income for certain sports, the sharing of part of the corresponding revenue among the appropriate levels may be beneficial in order to preserve the principle of solidarity in sport.

Transfers

As far as the system of transfers is concerned, in particular in football, the European Council strongly supports the dialogue between the sporting movement, the organisations representing professional sportsmen and sportswomen, the Community and the Member States. This dialogue concerns the development of the transfer system, especially in football, in order to take account of, among other things, the principle of freedom of movement for workers. The current system of transfers in professional football is being carefully examined by the Commission in the light of the rules on both competition and freedom of movement.

Background

The declaration was pronounced at the European Council of Nice on 7-9 December 2000 and annexed to the Presidency conclusions. It takes note of the report on sport submitted by the European Commission to the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999 with a view to safeguarding current sports structures and maintaining the social function of sport in the European Union.

Related Acts

Decision No 291/2003/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 6 February 2003 establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004.

 

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

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Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 5 November 1997: The impact of the changeover to the euro on Community policies, institutions and legislation [COM (97) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

EXCHANGE RISK

At the time the communication was drawn up, the budget was cast in ecus but both revenue (resources) and expenditure are wholly or partly realised on the basis of national currency values.

  • On the revenue side, the contributions are paid by the Member States in national currency;
  • On the expenditure side, the appropriations are generally committed and paid in ecus, with the exception of the payment obligations under the Guarantee Section of the EAGGF and the administrative budget.

Operations carried out in national currency result in the Community budget having to bear the exchange risk, since the exchange value in ecus can fluctuate.

With the introduction of the euro, the participating Member States will have their currency in common with the Community budget. This will have the effect of completely removing the exchange risk for operations still carried out in national currency. However, as far as the “pre-in” countries (Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden) are concerned, the exchange risk would persist for this type of operation.

AGRICULTURAL POLICY

The agri-monetary regime will be affected in different ways by the introduction of the euro:

  • For the participating countries, it will no longer be necessary to convert amounts (the Community will reimburse in euros any expenditure made in euros by the Member State concerned); however, there remains a difference between the rates used in the agri-monetary regime and the fixed and irrevocable conversion rates. This situation will have to be rectified in a manner still to be determined.
  • For the “pre-in” countries, there will still be a need for a conversion rate, but the system could be adjusted.

Adjustments to the agri-monetary regime will also apply to the fisheries sector.

EUROPEAN ADMINISTRATION

Administrative expenditure represents 3.5% of the total budget (1996 figures), consisting primarily of pensions and salaries, which are paid in national currency (mainly Belgian and Luxembourg francs).

The introduction of the euro will eliminate the exchange risk for the Community budget as regards all salaries and pensions paid to persons resident in participating Member States.

Given the political significance of the remuneration of Community staff, it is proposed that pay slips be expressed in euros and that salaries and pensions be paid in euros in the participating countries as from 1 January 1999.

COMMUNITY LAW

The most immediate consequence of the transition to the euro for Community legislation is that the ecu will be replaced by the euro (at a rate of 1:1) without any action needing to be taken at either Community or national level.

To cater for cases where the common figure in ecus is accompanied by a clause governing conversion to the respective national currencies, the Commission has drawn up certain guidelines in order to ensure consistency in the interpretation of such clauses.

Certain legal clauses need to be dealt with individually, such as those which refer to specific interest rates (e.g. in the context of penalty clauses) that will no longer be available once the euro has been introduced.

As regards agreements with third countries, references to the ecu will automatically be converted to euros without any specific action having to be taken by any party. It would be advisable to run an information campaign for the benefit of the parties concerned in advance of 1 January 1999.

OTHER CONSEQUENCES

From the operational point of view, the transition will affect the following:

  • treasury management and financial management: the treasury department of the Commission will no longer have to purchase huge amounts of ecus on the currency markets and the management of accounts and of foreign currency transactions will be greatly simplified;
  • statistics: some of Eurostat’s statistical time series will be rescaled; new statistical aggregates will be produced for the euro area;
  • informatics: the “Euro/Year 2000” working group is dealing with the relevant issues in this field.

The changeover work to be carried out in the Community institutions will largely take place before 1 January 1999, in contrast to the changeover at national, regional and local level, where the adaptation work necessitated by the changeover will be spread over the entire length of the transitional period, and in a few instances will even be concentrated at the end of this period (1 January 2002).

A sustainable future for European transport

A sustainable future for European transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A sustainable future for European transport

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Transport > Intermodality and trans-european networks

A sustainable future for European transport

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 17 June 2009 – “A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system” [COM(2009) 279 final– Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Objectives for European Union (EU) transport policy were set both in the mid-term review of the White Paper 2001 and in the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) of 2006. The European transport policy has largely achieved the objectives defined in those strategy documents, by facilitating market opening and integration, by establishing high quality standards for safety, security and passenger rights and by improving working conditions.

However, the environment remains a policy area where further improvements are necessary. Within the EU, transport is the sector with the highest growth rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in comparison to levels in 1990: the transport sector has significantly increased its activity without making sufficient progress in reducing its energy use and GHG intensity.

There are several societal trends which will challenge the transport sector in the future:

  • ageing of society, requiring an increased emphasis on the provision of secure and reliable transport services, while increasing social spending and leaving less public funds for transport;
  • increasing oil scarcity, putting pressure on prices;
  • environmental challenges, as transport emissions continue to grow and local pollution is still too high;
  • migration, internal mobility and globalisation of the economy, entailing more movement of people and goods and putting strain on ports, airports and their access;
  • growing urbanisation, causing more congestion in urban areas.

Policy objectives for sustainable transport

The European transport policy aims to establish a sustainable transport system that meets the economic, social and environmental needs of society, and contributes to a fully integrated and competitive Europe. This goal can be divided into the following policy objectives:

  • quality transport that is safe and secure;
  • a well maintained and fully integrated network;
  • more environmentally sustainable transport;
  • keeping the EU at the forefront of transport services and technologies;
  • protecting transport workers and their rights as well as simultaneously developing the human capital to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the EU economy;
  • better price signals to improve economic efficiency by providing economic incentives to, for example, use the road in off-peak hours or use more environmentally friendly means of transport;
  • improving accessibility.

POLICIES FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT

The Commission suggests how the following policy instruments could be best used to respond to the sustainability challenge:

Infrastructure

Integration and interoperability of the individual parts of the transport network are necessary to achieve the optimal functioning of the European transport system as a whole. The creation of new infrastructure is expensive, whereas a lot can be achieved by simply upgrading the existing network within the EU. Intelligent transport systems and European global navigation satellite systems can be used to complement and enhance the ‘traditional’ transport networks.

Funding

The transition towards a low carbon economy will require significant and well coordinated funding. The transport sector needs to become increasingly self-financing in relation to infrastructure. The Commission suggests that charges representative of the costs of congestion, air pollution, CO2 emissions, noise and accidents can provide funding for transport, while promoting more sustainable behaviour and giving better signals for investments.

Technology

There is a significant need for a technological shift towards low-emission vehicles and for the development of alternative solutions for sustainable transport. The Commission proposes fostering R&D expenditures towards sustainable mobility, for example through the European Green Cars Initiative and Joint Technology Initiatives.

The legislative framework

An increasing number of companies are active across national markets, which benefits overall economic performance and employment within the EU. The internal market needs to be completed with the removal of the remaining barriers between countries and transport modes and the reduction of administrative burdens on transport companies. The legislative framework in the transport sector needs to be developed towards harmonised environmental obligations, effective supervision, uniform protection of workers conditions and users’ rights.

Educate, inform and involve

Education, information and awareness raising campaigns have a strong influence on consumer behaviour and could facilitate sustainable mobility choices. Citizens should be better informed on the reasoning behind EU transport policy decisions and on available alternatives. Workers in the transport sector should be involved through information and consultation on the development, application and monitoring of transport policy.

Governance: effective and coordinated action

The EU transport system involves political, economic, social and technical interaction. Effective coordination will be required to ensure the interoperability of new technologies and regulatory practices and to avoid the multiplication of different systems at national level. EU level cooperation can also help urban authorities in making their transport systems more sustainable while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.

The external dimension

The EU holds a prominent position in the transport sector at a global level, setting standards which are increasingly also being adopted outside of the EU, such as EURO emission standards for road vehicles. International cooperation in the transport sector, aimed to establish interconnection of the major transport axes with neighbouring regions, should be promoted.

EU guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network

EU guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network

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

EU guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 661/2010/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network.

Summary

The trans-European transport network (TEN-T) aims to contribute to two major European Union (EU) objectives – the smooth functioning of the internal market and the strengthening of economic and social cohesion – by means of attaining a number of specific objectives:

  • sustainable mobility of persons and goods across the EU;
  • high-quality infrastructure;
  • effective coverage of the whole territory of the EU, by linking island, landlocked and peripheral regions to the central regions as well as interlinking the major conurbations and regions of the EU;
  • interoperability and intermodality within and between different modes of transport;
  • optimal use of existing capacities;
  • economic viability of the network;
  • connection of the network to the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean countries.

The TEN-T will comprise transport infrastructures (road, rail and inland waterway networks, motorways of the sea, seaports, inland waterway ports and airports), together with the corresponding traffic management systems and positioning and navigation systems networks.

Characteristics of the various transport networks

The road network comprises motorways and high-quality roads, as well as infrastructure for traffic management, user information, dealing with incidents and electronic fee collection. This network should guarantee its users a high, uniform and continuous level of services, comfort and safety, not least through active cooperation between traffic management systems at European, national and regional level and providers of travel and traffic information and value added services.

The rail network comprises both high-speed and conventional rail networks, as well as facilities that enable the integration of rail and road and, where appropriate, maritime services and air transport services. Technical harmonisation and the gradual implementation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) harmonised command and control system ensures the interoperability of national networks. The users should benefit from a high level of quality and safety, thanks to continuity and interoperability.

The inland waterway network comprises rivers, canals, and inland ports. The network also includes traffic management infrastructure, and in particular an interoperable, intelligent traffic and transport system (River Information Services), intended to optimise the existing capacity and safety of the inland waterway network as well as improve its interoperability with other modes of transport.

The motorways of the sea network concentrates flows of freight on sea-based logistical routes so as to improve existing maritime links and establishes new viable, regular and frequent links for the transport of goods between EU countries.

The airport network comprises airports situated within the EU which are open to commercial air traffic and which comply with certain criteria as set out in Annex II of this decision. They should permit the development of air links, both within the EU and between the EU and the rest of the world, as well as the interconnection with other modes of transport.

A combined transport network comprises railways and inland waterways that permit long-distance combined transport of goods between all EU countries. It also comprises intermodal terminals equipped with installations allowing transhipment between the different transport networks.

The shipping management and information network will comprise coastal and port shipping management systems, vessel positioning systems, reporting systems for vessels transporting dangerous goods and communication systems for distress and safety at sea.

The air traffic management network comprises the air space reserved for general aviation, airways, air navigation aids, the traffic planning and management systems and the air traffic control systems, necessary to ensure safe and efficient aviation in European airspace.

The positioning and navigation network comprises the satellite positioning and navigation systems and the systems that will be defined in the future European Radio Navigation Plan. These systems are intended to provide a reliable and efficient positioning and navigation service which could be used by all modes of transport.

Priority projects

The priority projects are projects of common European interest that fulfill the following criteria:

  • are intended to eliminate a bottleneck or complete a missing link on a major route of the trans-European network ;
  • are on such a scale that long-term planning at European level contributes significant added value;
  • present potential socio-economic benefits;
  • significantly improve the mobility of goods and persons between EU countries;
  • contribute to enhancing the territorial cohesion of the EU by integrating the networks of the new EU countries;
  • contribute to the sustainable development of transport.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 661/2010/EU

25.8.2010

OJ L 204 of 5.8.2010

Agenda for the Rights of the Child

Agenda for the Rights of the Child

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agenda for the Rights of the Child

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Human rights > Human rights in non-EU countries

Agenda for the Rights of the Child

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 15 February 2011 – An EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child [COM(2011) 60 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Treaty of Lisbon makes the promotion and protection of the rights of the child one of the objectives of the European Union (EU). These rights form part of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU which encourages public authorities and private institutions to ensure that respect for the best interests of the child is treated as a key element when defining and implementing measures concerning children. In addition, all Member States have signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Commission Agenda for the Rights of the Child aims at ensuring that all EU policies having repercussions on children respect their rights. It defines the principles and objectives of the EU in this field and presents eleven actions that Commission will undertake in the coming years.

General principles

In accordance with the strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the EU, the Commission must ensure respect for fundamental rights, and therefore the rights of the child, throughout the legislative procedure and during implementation of legislation.

The Commission also undertakes to work with the competent organisations in order to produce reliable, comparable and official data which will enable evidence-based policies on the rights of the child to be developed and implemented.

Lastly, the European executive undertakes to pursue and to strengthen its cooperation with stakeholders and to foster the exchange of good practices with and between the national authorities responsible for the protection and promotion of the rights of the child.

Aims

  • Adapting justice to children: whether they are victims, witnesses to crimes, suspects, asylum seekers or whether their parents are divorcing, children may be confronted with the judicial system for a number of reasons. The Union must give them access to justice taking into account their specific needs and their vulnerability;
  • Protecting the most vulnerable children: EU action must prioritise targeting those categories of children that are particularly vulnerable, such as children at risk of poverty and social exclusion, disabled children, children seeking asylum, Roma children and missing children. At another level, young Internet users are also vulnerable since they may be exposed to harmful content or become victims of cyber-bullying;
  • Promoting and protecting the rights of the child in the EU’s external action: the Union wishes to prioritise the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in its relations with third countries. It will focus on combating violence against children, child labour, the involvement of children in armed groups, and sexual tourism, through bilateral and multilateral cooperation, trade instruments and humanitarian aid;
  • Raising children’s awareness: Eurobarometer surveys show that 76 % of children interviewed are not aware that they have rights and 79 % do not know who to contact in case of need. The Union wishes to better inform children concerning their rights in order that they may participate in decisions concerning them.

Actions

The EU proposes eleven actions aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the child, namely:

  • adopting a proposal for a directive aimed at strengthening the protection of vulnerable victims, particularly children;
  • submitting a proposal for a directive laying down specific guarantees for vulnerable suspects, particularly children;
  • reviewing legislation which facilitates the recognition and enforcement of decisions on parental responsibility;
  • promoting the Council of Europe guidelines on child-friendly justice and taking them into account when drafting civil and criminal legislation;
  • supporting the training of judges and other professionals in order to foster optimal participation of children in judicial systems;
  • improving the training of the authorities that deal with unaccompanied minors from third countries when they arrive on EU territory;
  • paying particular attention to children in measures that Member States may take to foster the integration of Roma;
  • encouraging the rapid introduction of the European hotline for missing children (116 000) and the introduction of “abduction alert” systems;
  • adopting measures as part of the EU Safer Internet programme against bullying, grooming, exposure to harmful content, and the other risks run by young Internet users;
  • implementing the EU guidelines for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in its relations with third countries as well as its guidelines on children and armed conflict;
  • creating a single entry point for children on the Europa website enabling them to access information on the Union and their rights.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 4 July 2006 – Towards an EU strategy on the rights of the child [COM(2006) 367 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Fight against trafficking in human beings

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Document or Iniciative

EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings [Official Journal C 311 of 9.12.2005].

Summary

The Hague Programme, adopted by the European Council in November 2004, invited the Commission and the Council to establish a plan in 2005 for developing common standards, best practices and mechanisms to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings.

General principles governing implementation of the action plan

In the communication to the Parliament and the Council of 18 October 2005 on fighting trafficking in human beings, the Commission laid down the specific means necessary for developing an integrated approach to tackling trafficking in human beings. This approach is based on respect for human rights and a coordinated policy response, notably in the areas of freedom, security and justice, external relations, development cooperation, social affairs and employment, gender equality and non-discrimination.

It is vital to improve our collective understanding of the issues involved in human trafficking. In particular, it is important to understand its root causes in the countries of origin and the factors that facilitate its development in the countries of destination, as well as its links with other forms of crime. In order to improve our knowledge of the scale and nature of this phenomenon as it concerns the European Union (EU), common guidelines need to be developed by autumn 2006 on the collection of data, including comparable indicators. A common research template needs to be developed for EU countries in order to increase research in specific areas, starting with child trafficking.

The EU recognises that it is indispensable to ensure that the human rights of victims of human trafficking are respected at every stage of the process. EU countries should set up an appropriate governmental coordination structure to evaluate and coordinate national policies and to ensure that the victims are treated appropriately.

EU countries and the Commission should implement policies that reinforce the criminalisation of human trafficking, protecting vulnerable groups such as women and children in particular.

The EU’s policy in this area should aim for a child’s rights approach based on internationally recognised principles. In particular, the policy should respect the principles set out in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and take account of the Council of Europe Action Programme on Children and Violence (2006-08).

Gender-specific strategies should be adopted as a key element in combating trafficking in women and girls. This includes implementing gender equality principles and eliminating demand for all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and domestic labour exploitation.

A number of actions to prevent trafficking in human beings will be taken by the end of 2006. For example, EU campaign materials will be prepared to raise awareness of the dangers involved and to publicise crime prevention and criminal justice in order to deter traffickers. A network of media contacts will be created on trafficking to raise public awareness of successes within and outside the EU.

Human trafficking is a serious crime against persons that must be addressed as a clear law enforcement priority. It must be converted from a “low risk/high reward enterprise for organised crime” into a high risk/low reward activity. The EU should step up its operations to ensure that trafficking in human beings does not generate any economic advantage and, where profits are made, to seize and confiscate all of them.

There should be increased cooperation with the agencies responsible for the control of working conditions and for financial investigations related to irregular labour in order to combat human trafficking for labour exploitation.

In the same way, the law enforcement agencies need to work more with Europol, which should regularly participate in exchanges of information, joint operations and joint investigative teams. Eurojust should also be consulted to facilitate the prosecution of traffickers.

Strategies to combat human trafficking should be coordinated with strategies to combat corruption and poverty. Employers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations active in this field should also cooperate with the public authorities. EU countries and institutions must continue to cooperate with the relevant international organisations, such as the United Nations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Regional solutions for the prevention of trafficking in human beings and the protection of its victims are essential. EU countries and the Commission should make greater efforts to promote regional initiatives that supplement and inspire cooperation at EU level.

This action plan will be revised and updated regularly. The annexed table of actions will facilitate regular evaluation and updates.

Related Acts

Commission working document of 17 October 2008 – Evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings [COM(2008) 657 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report provides an overview of the implementation of anti-trafficking measures in the EU countries and Norway, as well as by the EU bodies.
The approximation of EU countries’ anti-trafficking legislation has proceeded rapidly in the past years, especially with regard to criminal law and victim assistance. However, there are large inconsistencies between adopting and implementing legislation. Furthermore, the Commission is contemplating the revision of the framework decision on trafficking. In this manner, the support mechanisms for victims will also be made more effective. The law enforcement and judicial cooperation at an international level has increased as well; nevertheless, more efforts need to be made. Government coordination mechanisms are also now set up, but work needs to still be done on monitoring systems.
The relevant EU bodies have also taken steps to implement certain anti-trafficking measures. Yet, considerable weaknesses still exist in practice and some measures remain to be implemented altogether.
In continuing with the EU anti-trafficking policy, the Commission is proposing that, in the short term, efforts be concentrated on the following crucial actions:

  • the establishment of National Rapporteurs, especially for monitoring purposes;
  • the creation or improvement of national mechanisms for the identification of and referral to victim support services;
  • the creation or improvement of child protection systems;
  • the provision of support, including financial, to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in the field;
  • the organisation of trainings for relevant stakeholders;
  • the improvement of coordination of investigations and prosecutions;
  • the further development of cooperation on anti-trafficking measures with the EU’s external partner countries.

The outcomes of this plan will be used as the basis for a new post-2009 strategy.

A new strategic approach to health for the EU

A new strategic approach to health for the EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A new strategic approach to health for the EU

Topics

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

Public health > European health strategy

A new strategic approach to health for the EU (2008-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Commission White Paper of 23 October 2007 ‘Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013’ [COM(2007) 630 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The area of health is essentially the responsibility of the Member States. The role of the European Union (EU), as laid down in the European treaties, is to undertake measures to supplement the work of the Member States, while providing European added value, particularly with regard to major health threats, issues that have a cross-border or international impact and questions relating to the free movement of goods, services and people.

Accordingly, a cross-sectoral approach is vital and all Community policies must play a role in health protection.

The new strategy set out in the White Paper therefore relates to health in all sectors. It must also, in a single strategic framework, confront the growing challenges for the health of the population, such as demographic changes, pandemics, bioterrorism and illnesses related to unhealthy lifestyles.

The White Paper proposes four principles for the coming years.

Principle I: a strategy based on shared health values

The Commission and the Member States have worked together to develop an approach to EU healthcare systems that is based on common values.

In 2006, the Council adopted a statement on these values, underlining that universality, access to good quality care, equity and solidarity were fundamental.

A new statement on the common values of health policy in the broader sense should be adopted based on this Council statement.

Patients’ rights, such as participation in decision making and health literacy, should also be taken into consideration in Community health policy. Consequently, the Commission must support programmes that boost health literacy among different age groups.

Inequalities in the health sector still exist between different Member States and between different regions, as well as worldwide. Life expectancy rates at birth do vary greatly between European countries. Given that reducing inequalities is linked to improving health, the Commission will put forward measures to help reduce these inequalities.

Health policy must be based on the best scientific evidence available. To this end, the Commission must gather comparable data from the Member States. Therefore, a system of health indicators is needed, with common mechanisms for collecting comparable data at all levels.

Principle II: health is the greatest wealth

A healthy population is a prerequisite for economic productivity and prosperity. In fact, life expectancy in good health, i.e. how long the population lives in good health, is a key factor for economic growth.

Spending on health-related problems represents a significant economic burden for society. Therefore, the first priority for health expenditure should be investment in prevention, to protect the general health of the population.

It is not always easy to understand the economic impact of an improvement in health levels or the economic factors linked to health and sickness. The Commission and the Member States must develop a programme of analytical studies of the economic relationships between health status, health investment and economic growth.

Principle III: health in all policies (HIAP)

Health policy is not the only policy of decisive importance in health matters. Other policies, such as environment, research and regional policies, those regulating pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs, those coordinating social security systems and those governing tobacco taxation, play an essential role. Accordingly, synergies must be created between all the sectors that are of vital importance for health.

Health in all policies allows a system of more effective Community action to be put in place.

Globalisation means that the HIAP approach must also be applied to foreign policy, including development and trade.

The Commission and the Member States must therefore ensure that health concerns are better integrated into all policies at Community, Member State and regional level.

Principle IV: strengthening the EU’s voice in global health

In order to better protect the health of its citizens and citizens of third countries, the EU must do more to improve health throughout the world. Community actions must not be disassociated from actions taken at a global level.

The EU must therefore consolidate its position within international organisations and strengthen cooperation with its partners.

Finally, it must ensure that health concerns are properly provided for in EU external assistance mechanisms and that international health agreements are implemented, particularly international health regulations.

In addition to these principles, there are three strategic objectives that define Community action in the field of health for the coming years.

Objective I: fostering good health in an ageing Europe

Europe has a low birth rate and people are living longer and longer. In the future, population ageing is bound to lead to a sharp rise in demand for healthcare.

This could push up healthcare spending, but this rise could be halved if people remained healthy as they got older.

The Commission must therefore support appropriate measures to improve the health of older people, active people and children, so as to help the population become more productive and age in good health.

Other measures concerning tobacco, nutrition, alcohol and mental health must also be developed, and new guidelines on cancer screening will be prepared.

Objective II: protecting citizens from health threats

Protecting human health is an obligation in the EU. At Community level, this protection includes scientific risk assessment, preparedness for and response to epidemics and bioterrorism, improving workers’ safety and measures concerning accidents.

However, there must be Community cooperation and coordination between the Member States and international actors in order to combat pandemics, biological incidents and bioterrorism.

The impact on public health of new threats, such as those linked to climate change, must also be studied, and the mechanisms for surveillance and response to health threats must be strengthened.

Objective III: supporting dynamic health systems and new technologies

New technologies can improve disease prevention and facilitate patient safety.

A Community framework for safe and high-quality health services is therefore needed and, in particular, measures to support the Member States and regions in managing innovation in health systems.

Implementation mechanism and financing

The Member States must work together closely for the purposes of this strategy. The Commission will therefore put forward a structured cooperation mechanism for implementing the strategy to promote cooperation between the Member States.

This strategy will be financed by the current financial instruments, which expire in 2013.

Employment policy guidelines

Employment policy guidelines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment policy guidelines

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Community employment policies

Employment policy guidelines (2005-2008)

In eight guidelines for higher employment in the European Union (EU), the Commission focuses on policies designed to achieve full employment, for example by improving inclusion of people at a disadvantage, greater investment in human resources, adaptation of education and training systems and more flexibility combined with job security.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2005/600/EC of 12 July 2005 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.

Summary

The integrated guidelines for growth and jobs for the period 2005-2008 bring together, in a single, coherent and simplified text, the Broad Economy Policy Guidelines (BEPGs) and employment guidelines. They are the principal policy instrument for developing and implementing the Lisbon Strategy.

The employment guidelines are thus presented in an integrated policy instrument * which covers both the macroeconomic and the microeconomic aspects of the European Union (EU), presents a clear strategic vision of the challenges facing Europe and enables the Union to channel Member States’ efforts towards priority measures. Certain employment guidelines are to be implemented in line with the corresponding guidelines in other areas in order to mutually strengthen the different sectors of the economy.

Firstly, to attract more people into employment and modernise social protection systems, the Commission proposes to:

  • Implement employment policies intended to achieve full employment, improve quality and productivity at work, and strengthen social and territorial cohesion (Integrated Guideline No 17). These policies should help to achieve an average employment rate for the European Union (EU) of 70% overall, at least 60% for women and 50% for older workers (55 to 64), and to reduce unemployment and inactivity. Member States should set national employment rate targets.
  • Promote a new lifecycle approach to work (Integrated Guideline No 18) through:


    – renewed endeavours to build employment pathways for young people and reduce youth unemployment, as recommended in the European Youth Pact,

    – resolute action to increase female participation and reduce gender gaps in employment, unemployment and pay,

    – better reconciliation of work and private life and the provision of accessible and affordable childcare facilities and care for dependants,

    – support for working conditions conducive to active ageing,

    – modernisation of social protection systems, including pensions and healthcare, to ensure their social adequacy, financial sustainability and responsiveness to changing needs, so as to support participation in employment, remaining at work and longer working lives.

This guideline should be applied taking into account Guideline No 2 “To safeguard economic and fiscal sustainabilityâ€.

  • Ensure inclusive labour markets, enhance work attractiveness, and make work pay attractive for job-seekers, including disadvantaged people and the inactive (Integrated Guideline No 19) through:


    – active and preventive labour market measures, including early identification of needs, job search assistance, guidance and training as part of personalised action plans, and provision of necessary social services to support the inclusion of those furthest away from the labour market and contribute to the eradication of poverty,

    – ongoing review of the incentives and disincentives resulting from the tax and benefit systems, including the management and conditionality of benefits and a significant reduction of high marginal effective tax rates, notably for those with low incomes, whilst ensuring adequate levels of social protection,

    – development of new sources of jobs in services for individuals and businesses, notably at local level.

  • Improve matching of labour market needs (Integrated Guideline No 20) through:


    – the modernisation and strengthening of labour market institutions, especially employment services, also with a view to ensuring greater transparency of employment and training opportunities at national and European level,

    – removing obstacles to mobility for workers across Europe within the framework of the Treaties,

    – better anticipation of skill needs, labour market shortages and bottlenecks,

    – appropriate management of economic migration.

Secondly, to improve the adaptability of workers and enterprises and the flexibility of labour markets, the Commission proposes to:

  • Promote flexibility combined with employment security and reduce labour market segmentation, having due regard to the role of the social partners (Integrated Guideline No 21) through:


    – adaptation of employment legislation, reviewing where necessary the different contractual and working time arrangements,

    – addressing the issue of undeclared work,

    – better anticipation and positive management of change, including economic restructuring, for example changes linked to the opening of markets, so as to minimise their social costs and facilitate adaptation,

    – promotion and dissemination of innovative and adaptable forms of work organisation, with a view to improving quality and productivity at work, including health and safety,

    – facilitating changes in occupational status, including training, self-employment, business creation and geographical mobility.

This guideline should be applied taking into account Guideline No 5 “To promote greater coherence between macroeconomic, structural and employment policiesâ€, in relation to macroeconomic policy.

  • Ensure employment-friendly labour cost developments and wage-setting mechanisms (Integrated Guideline No 22) by:


    – encouraging social partners within their own areas of responsibility to set the right framework for wage bargaining in order to reflect productivity and labour market challenges at all relevant levels and to avoid gender pay gaps,

    – reviewing the impact on employment of non-wage labour costs and, where appropriate, adjusting their structure and level, especially to reduce the tax burden on the low-paid.

This guideline should be applied taking into account Guideline No 4 “To ensure that wage developments contribute to macroeconomic stability and growthâ€, in relation to macroeconomic policy.

Thirdly, to invest more in human capital through better education and skills, the Commission proposes to:

  • Expand and improve investment in human capital (Integrated Guideline No 23) through:


    – inclusive education and training policies and action to ensure significantly easier access to initial vocational, secondary and higher education, including apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training,

    – significantly reducing the number of early school leavers,

    – efficient lifelong learning strategies open to everyone in schools, businesses, public authorities and households according to European agreements, including appropriate incentives and cost-sharing mechanisms, with a view to ensuring lifelong participation in continuous and workplace training, especially for the low-skilled and older workers.

This guideline should be applied taking account of Guideline No 7 “To increase and improve investment in R&D, in particular by private businessâ€, in relation to microeconomic policy.

  • Adapt education and training systems in response to new competence requirements (Integrated Guideline No 24) through:


    – raising and ensuring the attractiveness, openness and quality standards of education and training, broadening the supply of education and training opportunities, ensuring flexible learning pathways and increasing mobility possibilities for students and trainees,

    – facilitating and diversifying access for everyone to education, training and knowledge through the organisation of working hours, family support services, career guidance services and, where appropriate, new forms of cost-sharing,

    – responding to new occupational needs, key competences and future skill requirements by improving the definition and transparency of qualifications, their effective recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning.

Updates during the period up to 2008 should be strictly limited. The Commission is presenting the Integrated Guidelines as part of the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy.

Integrated guidelines for growth and jobs (2005-2008)

Macroeconomic guidelines
(1) To secure economic stability for sustainable growth.
(2) To safeguard economic and budgetary sustainability.
(3) To promote a growth- and employment-orientated and efficient allocation of resources.
(4) To ensure that wage developments contribute to economic stability.
(5) To promote greater coherence between macroeconomic, structural and employment policies.
(6) To contribute to a dynamic and well-functioning EMU.
Macroeconomic guidelines

(7) To increase and improve investment in R&D, in particular by private business.
(8) To facilitate all forms of innovation.
(9) To facilitate the spread and effective use of ICT and build a fully inclusive information society.
(10) To strengthen the competitive advantages of its industrial base.
(11) To encourage the sustainable use of resources and strengthen environmental protection.
(12) To extend and deepen the internal market.
(13) To ensure open and competitive markets inside and outside Europe and to reap the benefits of globalisation.
(14) To create a more competitive business environment.
(15) To promote a more entrepreneurial culture and create a supportive environment for SMEs.
(16) To improve European infrastructure.
Employment guidelines
(17) Implement employment policies aiming at achieving full employment, improving quality and productivity at work, and strengthening social and territorial cohesion.
(18) Promote a life-cycle approach to work.
(19) Ensure inclusive labour markets, enhance work attractiveness, and make work pay for job-seekers, including disadvantaged people, and the inactive.
(20) Improve matching of labour market needs.
(21) Promote flexibility combined with employment security and reduce labour market segmentation, having due regard to the role of the social partners.
(22) Ensure employment-friendly labour cost developments and wage-setting mechanisms.
(23) Expand and improve investment in human capital.
(24) Adapt education and training systems in response to new competence requirements.

References

Act

Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2005/600/EC

25.4.2005

25.4.2005

L 205 of 12.7.2005

Related Acts

Council Decision 2007/491/EC of 10 July 2007 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L 183 of 13.7.2007].
As in 2006, the Council maintained its guidelines in 2007 but stressed that they should be taken into account by the Member States in their policies.

Council Decision 2006/544/EC of 18 July 2006 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [OJ L 215 of 5.8.2006].
In view of the essential role of employment policies under the Lisbon agenda, the Council urged the Member States to ensure the application of all the 2005–2008 guidelines as part of their national employment programmes. Updating of these guidelines should be limited in order to ensure the stability necessary for effective implementation. The Council therefore decided not to amend the guidelines for 2006.


Another Normative about Employment policy guidelines

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Community employment policies

Employment policy guidelines (2008-2010)

The guidelines proposed by the Commission should direct the coordination of European Union (EU) Member States’ policies towards an objective of employment and sustainable growth.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/618/EC of 15 July 2008 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.

Summary

Employment guidelines are one of the three pillars for the Integrated Guidelines for 2008-2010. They add to the Broad Economy Policy Guidelines (BEPG) 2008-2010 which cover macroeconomic policies and national microeconomic reforms.

Member States should adopt policies that enable full employment, improve quality and productivity at work, and strengthen social and territorial cohesion (Guideline No 17). By adhering to these priorities by 2010, the European Union (EU) should achieve an employment rate of 70 % overall, of at least 60 % for women and of 50% for older workers (55 to 64).

The Commission proposes three priority fields of action for growth and employment:

  • Attract more people in employment, increase labour supply and modernise social protection systems

Considering the ageing of the European population, employment policies should be better adapted to different stages in the lifecycle (Guideline No 18). Action should encourage longer working lives and active ageing, whilst ensuring the modernisation and viability of social protection systems (including pensions and health). Appropriate policies should also ensure that youth unemployment is reduced in accordance with the aims of the Youth Pact. In addition, female participation should be increased by ensuring gender equality. Policies should ensure that work and family life is better coordinated, by developing childcare services and care for other dependants.

The European labour market should be inclusive and strengthen work attractiveness in particular for job-seekers. It should be a factor for social inclusion (Guideline No 19). To this end active inclusion measures should be implemented, early and equally. As should incentives and disincentive measures related to tax and benefit systems. New jobs should be developed in services for individuals and businesses.

Matching of labour market needs (Guideline No 20), can be improved through the modernisation of national labour market institutions, in particular by ensuring greater transparency of the dissemination of employment and training opportunities and better anticipation of labour shortages. It is also essential to encourage intra-European mobility, and to better reap the benefits of immigrant labour.

  • Improve adaptability of workers and enterprises to the economic situation

In order to better respond to economic and social changes, the labour market should be more flexible and more homogenous, whilst guaranteeing employment security (Guideline No 21). Member States should integrate these objectives into their national legislation, and promote innovative forms of work organisation. They should anticipate economic changes in order to reduce their social costs and to facilitate workers’ occupational transitions.

Labour cost developments and wage-setting mechanisms should be employment-friendly (GuidelineNo 22). Social partners should implement frameworks for salary negotiation which take into account productivity and labour market objectives. Whilst the tax burden on the low-paid should be reduced.

  • Invest in human capital through better education and skills

Investment in human capital (Guideline No 23) should be increased. This should be achieved through inclusive policies for education and training at all levels. Also by reducing the number of early school leavers. Strategies should be adopted for lifelong learning, and these can be supported in particular by financial incentives.

Education and training systems should be better adapted to new needs in terms of qualifications (Guideline No 24). The openness and quality of these systems should be guaranteed, as should the diversity of training opportunities and possibilities for mobility. Education and training should be accessible to all, in particular through working time organisation, vocational guidance and cost sharing. Non-formal and informal education should be better recognised and validated.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/618/EC

OJ L 198 of 26.7.2008

Related Acts

Council Recommendation 2009/531/EC of 25 June 2009 on the 2009 update of the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community and on the implementation of Member States’ employment policies [OJ L 183 of 15.7.2009].
These recommendations are intended to enable Member States to improve the implementation of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs (cycle 2008-2010). They concern both economic policy guidelines and employment policy guidelines.

These recommendations are specific to the economic and social situation of each State and take account of the slowdown resulting from the international financial crisis.

Member States are to modify their national reform programmes and to give an account of their actions in the annual reports on the implementation of those programmes.

Council Decision 2009/536/EC of 7 July 2009 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.
The guidelines for the employment policies, as adopted by Decision 2008/618/EC of 15 July 2008, are maintained in 2009.