Tag Archives: Community programme

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage


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

Audiovisual and media

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Europeana, the European digital library, which will provide the public with a single access point to Europe’s cultural heritage. The main issues addressed concern digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation of cultural material.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 August 2008 – Europe’s cultural heritage at the click of a mouse: Progress on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation across the EU [COM(2008) 513 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication sets out the progress achieved thus far and the steps that still need to be taken in order to develop Europeana, the European digital library. Particular emphasis is on the actions carried out by Member States to implement the Commission Recommendation 2006/585/EC of 24 August 2006 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, which was endorsed in the Council Conclusions of 20 November 2008.

Europeana will be a common multilingual point of access to digitised European material. In 2007, its development received new impetus, especially through the creation of the European Digital Library Foundation that brings together different cultural sectors. The demo site of Europeana was published in February 2008 with the aim that the prototype will be launched in November of the same year. This prototype is to be developed into a fully operational service within the following two years.

The issues yet to be addressed in the development of Europeana include the:

  • incorporation of in-copyright material;
  • provision of multilingual search and retrieval functions;
  • integration of collaborative tools;
  • promotion of Europeana to the wider public.

On the basis of the above-mentioned Recommendation, Member States have progressed on the following:

  • digitisation – Most Member States have established overviews of digitisation activities, as well as strategies and plans for digitisation. However, the overviews are not used in any systematic manner and the strategies and plans do not provide quantitative targets. Further efforts are needed in these areas, as well as in financial planning. While some of the Member States have provided substantial amounts of resources to digitisation, additional funding is needed. This could be achieved through public-private partnerships or through private sponsoring. It is also essential that the output of digitisation continues to rise. To this end, many Member States have established digitisation centres;
  • online accessibility – Many of the Member States have either established or are establishing national portals, which may act as aggregators for Europeana. Most are also working on the standards that are essential for interoperability in Europe. In order to make the availability of in-copyright material possible, some Member States have begun to involve private content holders in their work. With regard to orphan works though, progress seems to be limited. In this regard, some Member States expressed their wish for a European level solution. Similarly, little progress has been made in connection with clearing rights for digitising and making available online works that are out of print or distribution, or to barriers to the use of public domain works. More attention should be given in particular to the latter issue, as it is imperative to continue providing access to such works;
  • digital preservation – Most Member States have begun to formulate digital preservation strategies and some have already established specific preservation plans; yet, the follow-up and financial backing to these remain limited. Multiple copying for preservation purposes is already allowed in most of the Member States, and even the remaining Member States are contemplating the necessary legislative actions. Similarly, the legal deposit legislation is already updated in most Member States, but the differences in materials covered and the deposit criteria are substantial. Many of the Member States have also implemented legislation relating to web harvesting by specified institutions (usually the national library). Otherwise, access to web-harvested material remains restricted due to intellectual property and privacy rights.

Even though Member States have progressed considerably in making cultural information available online, further action needs to be taken in particular with regard to:

  • funding of and quantitative targets for digitisation;
  • support for Europeana;
  • legislative actions and other measures to enable the digitisation and accessibility of orphan works and works that are out of print or distribution;
  • financial and organisational measures relating to digital preservation.

The High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries, set up in 2006, has given practical assistance to Member States in implementing the above Recommendation. The Group’s work focuses in particular on public-private partnerships, scientific information and copyright issues.

In order to develop the services provided by Europeana, advancements in technical issues are needed, especially to achieve cheaper and better quality digitisation and preservation techniques. The Commission has supported this progress through the Framework Programmes for Research and Development and the eContentplus programme. It has asserted its commitment to continue providing support through policy initiatives and funding programmes for the development of Europeana and other projects that improve the accessibility and preservation of digital cultural material.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – “Europeana: next steps” [COM(2009) 440 final – Not published in the Official Journal.
This Communication sets out the challenges to come concerning the implementation of Europeana.
Europeana’s results are positive, in that it gives access to more than 4.6 million digitised books, newspapers, film clips, maps, photographs and documents and receives contributions from more than 1,000 cultural institutions.
However, the Communication notes several problems connected with:

  • an imbalance between Member States in terms of the provision of cultural material. France has contributed 47% of the digitised objects, while other Member States such as Poland and Hungary have contributed mainly books;
  • copyright, in that recent works enjoy protection which limits access to them, unlike works from before 1900. It is important to establish collaboration with rightholders in order to improve access to protected works. Another challenge lies in the legal consequences of digitisation;
  • the financing and governance of Europeana.

Further efforts are therefore necessary in order to ensure that citizens can enjoy the services of Europeana fully.

Council conclusions of 20 November 2008 on the European digital library Europeana [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].
In its conclusions the Council of the European Union expressed satisfaction with the gradual establishment of the Europeana European library and the commitment of Member States to this project. In order for the project to be a success, the Council invites Member States to:

  • continue their strategy of implementation of their national objectives;
  • promote synergies between them in the process of digitisation and increasing online accessibility of cultural material;
  • incorporate digital cultural material in Europeana;
  • facilitate digitisation and online access to orphan works.

The European Commission is invited to encourage the development of Europeana and to promote it in Europe and the world, as well as to encourage the establishment of public-private partnerships to develop it.

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

EU Youth Strategy

EU Youth Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU Youth Strategy


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

EU Youth Strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 April 2009 – An EU Strategy for Youth: Investing and Empowering – A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities [COM(2009) 200 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The communication provides a strategy for future youth policies. It seeks to establish a cross-sectoral approach to empower young people in Europe to face a number of current challenges, in particular regarding education, employment, social inclusion and health. Young people should be given the resources and opportunities to achieve autonomy.

The current framework of cooperation, which will expire in 2009, has introduced a youth dimension in other policy fields as well as served to influence national policy-making. Nevertheless, the framework needs to be developed further, both in terms of its coordination and its impact on other policy areas. The scope of the framework also needs to be enlarged to reach young people with fewer opportunities.

The EU’s vision for young people is based on two approaches: investing in and empowering youth. The proposed new strategy pays particular attention to youth with fewer opportunities. Collaboration between youth and other policy areas, as well as collaborative policy-making through the renewed open method of coordination (OMC) will be improved. In the context of the latter, young people will also be able to express themselves in a structured dialogue.

The new long-term strategy consists of three overarching and interconnected aims that are closely associated with those of the renewed social agenda, with several fields of action proposed under each aim. Each field of action consists of a short-term objective and specific actions to be undertaken by Member States and the Commission, based on their respective spheres of competence. These will be assessed every three years.

Under the aim of creating more education and employment opportunities for young people, the following fields of action are proposed:

  • education: non-formal education should be better integrated to complement formal education, its quality should be developed and outcomes recognised;
  • employment: to facilitate the transition of young people from school, inactivity or unemployment to work, national and European employment policy actions should respect the principles of flexicurity. Moreover, education should aim to provide the skills demanded by the labour market;
  • creativity and entrepreneurship: the development of talent, creative skills, entrepreneurial mindsets and cultural expressions should be promoted among young people.

The following fields of action are proposed under the aim of improving young people’s access and full participation in society:

  • health and sport: to prevent and treat obesity, injury, addictions and substance abuse, promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles among young people and encourage collaboration between youth workers, health professionals and sporting organisations;
  • participation: to increase young people’s participation in the civic life of their communities as well as in representative democracy, provide support to youth organisations, encourage the participation of non-organised youth and provide better information services for young people.

The aim of fostering mutual solidarity between young people and society incorporates the following fields of action:

  • social inclusion: to prevent the social exclusion of young people, the relevant actors such as parents, teachers as well as social and youth workers should be mobilised;
  • volunteering: to support volunteering by young people, more opportunities, including cross-border, should be developed, obstacles removed and recognition of the value of non-formal education enhanced;
  • youth and the world: the existing youth networks and tools should be used to involve young people in global policy-making.

Youth work can provide an added value to the fight against unemployment, school failure and social exclusion. More support and recognition should thus be given to youth work, which should also become increasingly professional. To achieve this, Member States and the Commission are invited to promote the financing and quality of youth work, as well as the skills and mobility of youth workers. The Commission is committed to further examining the economic and social contribution of youth work.

For the new integrated cooperation framework in the field of youth, cross-sectoral policy approaches need to be developed at all levels. For the monitoring of its implementation, permanent and regular dialogue should be established at the EU level and between Member States and young people. With a view to improving policy-making, peer-learning exercises in the form of high-level seminars for political cooperation and clusters for technical expertise are proposed, which would also see the involvement of relevant stakeholders. Policy-making should also be evidence-based. To this end, current tools to acquire knowledge of the youth field should be used and further developed. The Commission also proposes to further develop other evidence-seeking instruments, such as studies and Eurobarometer surveys. Furthermore, existing EU programmes and funds, most notably the Youth-in-Action programme, should be used to support youth policy and to provide opportunities for young people, and measures should be taken to ensure the widespread availability of information about these opportunities.

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people


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

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

This green paper launches a public consultation with the aim of boosting mobility opportunities for young people.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 8 July 2009 – Promoting the learning mobility of young people [COM(2009) 329 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Transnational mobility through which young people may acquire new knowledge and skills (learning mobility) enhances personal development and employability. Currently however, the learning mobility of young people is more an exception than a rule, and should therefore be promoted in all disciplines and contexts. As a result, the Commission is launching this public consultation to initiate discussions on how existing and new instruments, as well as public authorities and stakeholders can be mobilised to that end.

The green paper presents a number of issues where further efforts towards learning mobility are needed. The aim is to promote organised mobility that is carried out across borders as well as within and across sectors. While the value of virtual mobility is recognised, the focus is on physical mobility and the challenges arising before, during and after such periods.

Preparing for a period of learning mobility

Preparation is an essential element of any mobility project and needs to be well thought-out in order for the mobility period to be a success. Firstly, this consists of providing good quality and easily accessible information and guidance on mobility opportunities, including on funding, education and training programmes, as well as on any practical issues. Secondly, there is a need to promote and motivate young people to be mobile by informing them of the benefits and guaranteeing the recognition of such an experience. Thirdly, linguistic skills and intercultural competences facilitate mobility, and may be upgraded during mobility periods. However, as a lack of such skills may be a barrier to participation, ways to address these obstacles must be explored.

Other challenges to take into consideration during the preparatory phase include the legal status of the young people in the host countries. A secure framework for the mobility of minors and a European Trainee Statute for the mobility of trainees could help to overcome such legal obstacles. Similarly, the obstacles to the portability of grants and loans as well as to the access to benefits, which often contravene Community law, should be overcome to promote mobility. To this end, the Commission is suggesting the publication of guides for Member State authorities and stakeholders.

There is also a need to assure that the mobility period is of a high quality, to which both the sending and receiving institutions should commit. Appropriate mechanisms should be set up for selecting participants in a fair and transparent manner, as well as for matching participants and receiving institutions. A number of charters, such as the European Quality Charter for Mobility, could be used to guide this work, as could learning/training agreements drawn up by the sending and hosting institutions together with the participants. Finally, measures should be taken to reach disadvantaged groups, so that they may also benefit from the opportunities of learning mobility.

The stay abroad and follow-up

Proper arrangements should be in place to receive young people during their mobility periods abroad. It is particularly essential that the hosting institutions provide mentoring support to young people in order to help them integrate better into the host environment. Concerning the follow-up, mobility periods must be appropriately recognised and validated in terms of both formal and non-formal learning. To this end, a number of European instruments are already available (such as ECVET, EQF, Europass), but greater use should be made of them at the regional and sectoral levels.

A new partnership for mobility

In order to overcome the continuing obstacles to mobility, it is imperative to mobilise actors and resources at all levels. A new partnership should be established between public authorities, civil society and partners from the business world. At the same time, the funding base needs to be enlarged to provide mobility opportunities to all groups of young people.

Virtual mobility can provide an added value by acting as a catalyst for physical mobility, as well as by providing an international dimension to learning for those who cannot or do not want to go abroad. “Multipliers”, such as teachers and trainers at all levels, youth workers, as well as people who have been mobile are important in motivating young people to embark on a period of mobility. Any obstacles to their involvement in promoting mobility should be removed and opportunities for their mobility encouraged.

At the moment, mobility has wide backing. However, it is essential to turn this support into concrete targets, based on which Member States, regional authorities, institutions and organisations may define their mobility strategies. Strategic benchmarks should also be established to complement those developed at European and national levels.


The Commission invites stakeholders and the wider public to respond to the issues raised in this green paper before 15 December 2009. The Commission will propose follow-up actions on the basis of these responses.

White Paper on Youth

White Paper on Youth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about White Paper on Youth


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

White Paper on Youth

Document or Iniciative

European Commission white paper of 21 November 2001 – A new impetus for European youth [COM(2001) 681 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In recent years, Europe has experienced economic and socio-cultural changes that have significantly affected its youth. Hoping to meet the expectations of young people by giving them the means to express their ideas and to make a greater contribution to society, the Commission adopted this White Paper following wide-spread consultations with all relevant stakeholders at both national and European level, including young people themselves.

The White Paper on Youth is also intended as a response to young people’s strong disaffection with the traditional forms of participation in public life. Following the example of the White Paper on Governance, it calls on young Europeans to become active citizens.

In order to help European Union (EU) countries and regions to take action for young people in Europe, the White Paper proposes a new framework for cooperation consisting of two components: increasing cooperation between EU countries and taking greater account of the youth factor in sectoral policies.

Increasing cooperation between EU countries

The “open method of coordination” encourages cooperation between EU countries and takes advantage of best practice developed throughout Europe. It involves setting guidelines for the EU, together with timetables for meeting the short, medium and long-term objectives set by EU countries. It also provides for monitoring mechanisms. In this connection, the White Paper proposes appointing a national coordinator as Commission representative for youth-related issues.

The priority areas for this method of work are as follows:

  • introducing new ways of enabling young people to participate in public life. The Commission proposes giving general currency to regional and national youth councils and overhauling the European Youth Forum in order to make it more representative. In 2003 and 2004, the Commission will also launch pilot projects with a view to encouraging participation among young people;
  • improving information on European issues. To this end, the Commission proposes setting up an Internet portal and forum to allow young people to obtain information and express their opinions;
  • encouraging voluntary service. As an educational experience and a way of integrating young people into society, voluntary service plays an important role both at European level, within the European Voluntary Service (the EVS is part of the Youth in Action programme), and at national, regional and local levels, for which EU countries need to make a greater effort to eliminate the remaining obstacles to mobility;
  • increasing knowledge of youth-related issues. This involves, inter alia, networking existing research work and structures at European level.

Incorporating the youth factor into sectoral policies

The White Paper calls for EU and national policies to take greater account of the needs of young people. The policies most concerned are employment and social integration, the fight against racism and xenophobia, education, lifelong learning and mobility. The complex question of young people’s autonomy is also included in the future work programme.


On the basis of Article 149 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), various European level actions related to young people have been developed in recent years in the fields of education, employment, vocational training and information technologies. EU countries have also begun to cooperate on issues related to youth exchanges and mobility.

All of these specific actions have received constant support from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, either when the programmes were being adopted or in the form of resolutions relating inter alia to the participation of young people or their social inclusion and, later, to young people’s sense of initiative. The Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee have regularly issued positive and encouraging opinions on various aspects of youth. However, greater use needed to be made of this body of information, and this still modest cooperation needed to be consolidated for and with young people themselves.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 22 October 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth: evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission takes stock of the progress made since the publication of the White Paper, in terms of the mandate expressly conferred upon it by the Council and the undertakings made with regard to all those involved in the process. The Commission’s undertakings have all been fulfilled, and the widespread mobilisation of young people, youth organisations, public authorities, ministers and European institutions has been achieved.
To prevent any loss of the new impetus imparted by the White Paper, the Commission feels that the Council should take account of the following aspects:

  • the priorities of the European cooperation framework must be discussed;
  • the balance between the flexibility and effectiveness of the open method of coordination in the youth field must be reassessed;
  • the open method of coordination must lead to effective action at national level in order to guarantee young people’s support for and commitment to the process;
  • young people should be consulted regularly, in a structured and effective way, at both national and European levels.

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET


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

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [Official Journal C 155 of 8.7.2009].


The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of Member States promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training (VET).

Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems, especially by improving the effectiveness of training. Therefore, it should underpin every policy initiative in VET.

Member States are invited to develop and use this instrument on a voluntary basis. The main users of the reference framework will be national and regional authorities as well as public and private bodies responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of VET.


As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help Member States to assess clearly and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed.

The methodology proposed by the framework is based on:

  • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
  • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle (Annex I);
  • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results – some indicators are to be based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature (Annex II).

The recommendation stresses a culture of quality improvement and responsibility at all levels, i.e. at the VET-system, VET-provider and qualification-awarding levels. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET attaches importance to systematic self-assessment. It includes internal and external assessment mechanisms that are to be defined by Member States. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.

Drawing on the framework, Member States should develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders should be involved in this development work.

European network for quality assurance

The recommendation encourages Member States to participate actively in the European network for quality assurance in VET, using it as a basis for further development of common principles and tools for quality improvement in VET at national, regional and local levels.

The recommendation also encourages Member States to designate Quality Assurance National Reference Points for VET, to bring together competent bodies and involve all relevant players at national and regional levels. These reference points will promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support Member States’ self-evaluation as well as the Network’s work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.


The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It will promote the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

The recommendation responds to the resolutions of the 2002 Barcelona European Council, which set the target of making Europe’s education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. It is also in line with the Copenhagen process, which concerns re-launching cooperation in vocational education and training.


Rare diseases

Rare diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rare diseases


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

Public health > Threats to health

Rare diseases

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation 2009/C 151/02 of 8 June 2009 on an action in the field of rare diseases.


This Recommendation aims at introducing measures at European level to increase level of knowledge on rare diseases, as well as improve the quality of life and care of patients.

Plans and strategies

The European Commission recommends that Member States introduce plans or strategies to combat rare diseases. The aim is provide patients suffering from these diseases with high quality care, diagnosis, treatment and effective orphan drugs.

In this regard, Member States are encouraged to adopt a plan or strategy under their respective social and health schemes by 2013. These plans or strategies should integrate all current and future initiatives at local, regional and national levels in the field of rare diseases.

These national initiatives should form part of the framework of the European Project for Rare Diseases National Plans Development (EUROPLAN), which itself belongs to the Community action programme in the field of public health for 2008-2013.

Definitions, codification and inventorying

At present, a rare disease is defined as such if it does not affect more than 5 in 10 000 persons. The Commission considers this definition needs expanding and encourages Member States to work together on a definition which takes into account the parameters of incidence.

The Commission action aims to facilitate the coding and traceability of rare diseases in all health information systems, and particularly in the future version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). An inventory could be established on the basis of the Orphanet network or other networks.

Member States are called upon to support specific information networks, registers and databases relating to diseases.


Current knowledge in research on rare diseases should be updated.

Needs and priorities should be determined in the field of basic, clinical, translational and social research before encouraging national researchers to participate in this kind of programme.

The European Commission is responsible for establishing cooperation with third countries and fostering the exchange of information and the sharing of expertise.

Centres of expertise and European Reference Networks

The Commission invites Member States to identify qualified centres of expertise by the end of 2013 and ensure that these centres benefit from support measures. These centres are to be encouraged to participate in European Reference Networks and to develop a multidisciplinary approach.

Healthcare pathways for patients suffering from a rare disease should be created through cooperation between experts and professionals in this field. Experts should be mobile in order to facilitate the treatment of patients in their own environment.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as telemedicine should be integrated, ensuring distant access to specific healthcare.

Gathering expertise at European level

The Commission considers it crucial to gather different national experts in the field of rare diseases together in order to support:

  • the exchange of best practice in terms of diagnostic tools and medical care as well as education and social care;
  • teaching and training for healthcare professionals;
  • medical training in the diagnosis of diseases and aspects related to genetics, immunology, neurology, oncology or paediatrics;
  • guidelines on population screening;
  • exchange of information between Member States.

Empowerment of patient organisations

The creation and development of associations for patients suffering from rare diseases are encouraged insofar as this facilitates access for patients to up-to-date information.


A first Community action programme on rare diseases covering the period 1999 to 2003 defined a rare disease as a disease affecting less than 5 in 10 000 persons. Its aim was to improve knowledge in this field. This Recommendation forms part of this perspective and aims to enhance cooperation and knowledge in order to improve cover and treatment for rare diseases.

Related Act

Commission Decision No (EC) 2009/872 of 30 November 2009 establishing a European Union Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases

This Decision establishes an EU committee of experts on rare diseases. The committee is tasked with:

  • implementing Community action programmes;
  • preparing Commission reports;
  • providing opinions and recommendations;
  • assisting the Commission in disseminating the measures taken at Community level, as well drawing up guidelines.

The Committee comprises 51 members and their alternates. The Committee shall be convened by the Commission and shall meet on its premises three times a year.

Fiscalis 2013

Fiscalis 2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fiscalis 2013


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


Fiscalis 2013 (2008-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1482/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 establishing a Community programme to improve the operation of taxation systems in the internal market (Fiscalis 2013) and repealing Decision No 2235/2002/EC.


The Fiscalis 2013 programme is set up for the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013 and is intended to improve the operation of the taxation systems * in the internal market of the European Union (EU).


The overall objective of Fiscalis 2013 is to improve the functioning of the tax systems in the internal market by strengthening cooperation between participating countries, their administrations and any other body.

The contribution of the Fiscalis 2013 programme to the development of cooperation between tax administrations will mean that the following objectives can be attained:

  • the uniform application of the EU tax laws in all the EU countries;
  • the protection of national and EU financial interests;
  • the smooth functioning of the internal market through the combating of tax avoidance and evasion, including its international dimension;
  • the avoidance of distortions of competition;
  • the ongoing reduction of compliance burdens on administrations and tax-payers alike.


Activities under Fiscalis 2013 are based in particular on:

  • communication and information-exchange systems;
  • multilateral controls;
  • seminars and project groups;
  • working visits;
  • training activities.

The Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) will be incorporated in the Fiscalis 2013 programme from 2009.

Participation in the programme

The countries participating in the Fiscalis 2013 programme are the EU member countries. The programme is also open to participation by the candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, potential candidate countries (following the establishment of framework agreements concerning their participation in EU programmes), as well as some partner countries under the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Budgetary implications

The Fiscalis 2013 programme will run for a period of six years, in line with the duration of the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective. The amount to be borne by the EU budget is EUR 156.9 million.

Key terms used in the act
  • Taxation systems: this refers to the following taxes applied in the countries participating in the programme:
    1. value added tax;
    2. excise duties on alcohol, tobacco products and energy products;
    3. taxes on income and on capital as defined in Article 1(2) of Council Directive 77/799/EEC;
    4. taxes on insurance premiums as defined in Article 3 of Council Directive 76/308/EEC.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1482/2007/EC


OJ L 330, 15.12.2007

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Midterm evaluation of the Fiscalis 2013 programme [COM (2011) 538 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The midterm evaluation concluded that the programme operates cost efficiently and is effective in the achievement of its objectives. Further improvements in the monitoring and the reporting of activities are possible, although the achievement of this may be restricted due to the limited human resources available in the European Commission and the participating countries’ tax administrations for managing the programme. The report recommends the following improvements for the remaining programming period:

  • prioritise cooperation in the field of direct taxation;
  • make the reduction of administrative burdens on taxpayers a specific objective of Fiscalis;
  • set up a results-based monitoring and evaluation system;
  • improve dissemination and application of knowledge and best practices in national administrations;
  • explore the potential for further improvement and development of the value-added tax information exchange system (VIES);
  • introduce a dedicated planning, monitoring and reporting system for the organisation and follow-up of working visits;
  • involve a larger community of stakeholders;
  • ensure proportionate programme management capacity.



Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ENIAC


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

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies


Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 72/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the ENIAC Joint Undertaking.


The ENIAC Joint Undertaking implements the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on nanoelectronics with a view to developing information and communication technologies. This public-private partnership aims to support investments in this area, sources of innovation and competitiveness. The JTI on nanoelectronics is thus also part of the European Research Area (ERA) and contributes to research and development (R&D).

Based in Brussels, the Joint Undertaking is a Community body with legal personality. It was set up for a period extending until 31 December 2017. The founding members of the Joint Undertaking are the Community, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the AENEAS association, which represents companies and other R&D actors operating in the field of nanoelectronics. The ENIAC Joint Undertaking is open to new members. Up to now, Austria, the Czech Republic and Norway have joined the list of members.


The ENIAC Joint Undertaking is to contribute to the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities (Seventh Framework Programme) in the field of nanoelectronics. One of its key objectives is to encourage the development of essential skills by means of a research programme and to support its activities. It is thus aimed at encouraging European competitiveness as well as the emergence of new markets and new social applications. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also encouraged to participate.

The Joint Undertaking also aims to promote cooperation and the coordination of Community and national efforts, both public and private, in order to support R&D and investment: concentrating efforts will, in particular, make it possible to ensure that better use is made of results.


The Joint Undertaking consists of the following bodies:

  • The governing board, made up of representatives of the members of the ENIAC Joint Undertaking and the chairperson of the industry and research committee. It ensures the smooth running of the organisation and supervises the implementation of its activities;
  • The executive director, appointed for a three-year period by the governing board, is the main person responsible for day-to-day management and is the legal representative of the Joint Undertaking;
  • The public authorities board, made up of the public authorities of the Joint Undertaking which appoints their representatives and their lead delegate. Its role includes approving the scope and the launch of calls for proposals and deciding on the selection and financing of accepted proposals;
  • The industry and research committee, comprising a maximum of 25 members, is appointed by the AENEAS association. It is responsible in particular for drawing up the multiannual strategic plan and for drafting proposals concerning the Joint Undertaking’s strategy.

ENIAC’s resources consist of contributions from members and from the Community as well as revenue generated by ENIAC itself. Any legal entity that is not a member may make a contribution to ENIAC’s resources either in cash or in kind.

ENIAC’s costs consist of:

  • Operating costs, borne by its members. AENEAS also makes a contribution of up to EUR 20 million or at most 1 % of the sum of total costs for all projects. The Community’s contribution may not exceed the sum of EUR 10 million. ENIAC Member States make a contribution in kind;
  • R&D activities. The Community makes a contribution of up to EUR 440 million. The financial contributions of ENIAC Member States, equivalent to at least 1.8 times the contribution made by the Community, do not pass through the Joint Undertaking but are paid directly to the research and development bodies participating in the projects. Furthermore, those same bodies make contributions in kind whose value is equivalent to at least half the total cost of R&D activities.

R&D activities are implemented by means of projects launched as a result of competitive calls for proposals. These projects are financed by financial contributions from the Community and from participating Member States and by contributions in kind from the research and development bodies participating in the Joint Undertaking’s projects.

As a Community initiative, the Joint Undertaking and its staff are covered by Community legislation. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Communities is the authority responsible for ruling on any proceedings between members and on proceedings brought against the ENIAC Joint Undertaking. The Commission and the Court of Auditors carry out checks on recipients of any Joint Undertaking finance.


The Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs placed emphasis on investment in the fields of knowledge and innovation. Therefore the JTIs, public-private partnerships implemented by Joint Undertakings, have been initiated under the Seventh Framework Programme. These JTIs stem from the work of European Technology Platforms set up under the Sixth Framework Programme.

With the “ENIAC” initiative, five other JTIs are planned in the following sectors: embedded computing systems (ARTEMIS), innovative medicines (IMI), aeronautics and air transport (CLEAN SKY), hydrogen and fuel cells (FUEL CELL), and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).


Act Entry into force Timescale for transposition into Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No. 72/2008


OJ L 30, 4.2.2008

Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy

Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy


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

Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy (2007-2013)

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 11 December 2007 – Member States and Regions delivering the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs through EU cohesion policy, 2007-2013 [COM(2007) 798 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission sets out an initial overview of the results of the negotiations relating to the new generation of cohesion programmes and strategies. It looks at the part which these can play in the renewed Lisbon strategy.

This Communication is part of the package defining the actions taken by the European Union to achieve the Lisbon objectives for 2008-2011. It assesses the progress made towards achieving the objectives of this strategy in the period 2005-2007.

Cohesion policy at the heart of the Lisbon process

Since its reform in 2006, cohesion policy has focused on the achievement of the priorities of the Lisbon strategy for the period 2007-2013, namely: making the EU an attractive place to invest and work, encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and growth of the knowledge economy, and creating more and better jobs.

The reformed cohesion policy has brought about the decentralisation of responsibilities to local and regional partners, the pooling of their knowledge and resources, and the development of strategies suited to local and regional levels.

The efforts to achieve the Lisbon objectives must continue, taking account of the variability of contexts and the difficulties facing each country. For instance, the Member States are required to provide funding for actions which achieve these objectives and for the structural reforms set out in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).

Focusing on the Lisbon priorities

For 2007-2013, the budget for cohesion policy amounts to 347 billion euro, with an additional 160 billion euro from public and private national resources. Around 80 % of these resources will be allocated to regions under the Convergence objective: 65 % of these funds will be used for the Lisbon strategy. Regions under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective will account for 16 % of cohesion policy resources, 82 % of which will be used for actions linked to the Lisbon strategy.

Efforts will focus on the four priorities of the Lisbon strategy, namely:

  • investing more in knowledge and innovation;
  • unlocking business potential (particularly of SMEs);
  • improving employability through flexicurity;
  • better management of energy resources.

Investing in knowledge and innovation

The cohesion programmes invest 85 billion euro in knowledge and innovation, in particular in order to improve the innovation capacity of businesses (49.5 billion euro) and skills, to disseminate, use and design technologies, to create businesses and promote a more flexible workforce.

In this field, it is important to exploit existing poles of excellence, improve national and regional capacities, leverage private financing and draw on existing potential. This can be done through joint action to launch a new generation of world-class infrastructures, laboratories and research instruments.

Unlocking business potential

Cohesion policy helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in human capital, install efficient management systems, offer a good working environment, anticipate economic change and reduce administrative formalities.

For 2007-2013, almost 19 billion euro are allocated to helping SMEs improve their competitiveness and gain access to the world markets. Thanks to the JEREMIE and JESSICA initiatives, which seek to improve the availability of innovative financial engineering products in the regions, SMEs can also have access to other sources of aid.

The JASMINE initiative has been adopted in the field of supporting micro-credit, in order to develop employment and boost social inclusion. A Communication proposing guidance on the synergies between cohesion policy, the Research Framework Programmes and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme has also been issued.

Improving employability through flexicurity

For the period 2007-2013, around 50 billion euro have been allocated under cohesion policy to financing various aspects of flexicurity. The aim of the new programmes is to improve employability through flexicurity by helping businesses to develop human resources strategies and more productive working methods and to ease the transition process resulting from restructuring.

Labour market and education and training policies ensure the provision of the necessary skills and qualifications for the world of work. Funding earmarked for the reform of education and training systems will be increased (25.3 billion euro).

Better management of energy resources

The new programmes attach greater importance to improving the management of energy resources and the move towards an efficient and integrated energy policy. Compared to the period 2000-2006, investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency will be five times higher for the Convergence objective and seven times higher for the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective.

Addressing recommendations and priorities

Investments to further the achievement of the Lisbon objectives affect a number of fields, the complexity of which could lead to difficulties for the Member States. In order to deal with this, 51 billion euro are earmarked for programmes which aim to strengthen synergies between environmental protection, risk prevention and growth.

A suitable transport network is needed for economic development. Priority is given to the development of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), with a budget of 38 billion euro. Projects which facilitate access to TEN-T and promote more environmentally-friendly transport systems will benefit from 34 billion euro.

Almost 3.6 billion euro will be used to help modernise public administrations and services and allow them to develop and implement effective policies. The JASPERS technical assistance facility will also help the new Member States to implement quality projects likely to receive EU financial support.

Promoting partnerships

Overall, there is good cooperation between those responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NRPs (National Reform Programmes) and those developing strategies and programmes for cohesion policy. Efforts must continue to be made where this is not yet the case.

All stakeholders must cooperate intensively for the preparation and implementation of cohesion policy programmes. Cohesion policy associates both “vertical” partners (Community, national, regional and local authorities) and “horizontal” stakeholders (business representatives, trade unions, NGOs, etc.).

Evaluation and monitoring of cohesion policy in the Lisbon process

Regular reports on the contribution of cohesion policy to the improvement of growth and employment are presented for the purpose of cross-checking and to guarantee the coherent management of the NRPs and cohesion policy programmes.

The Member States will submit a report each year on the aid allocated to each programme in addition to reports in 2009 and 2012 on the contribution of cohesion policy to the Lisbon agenda.

The Commission will draft a report (in 2010 and 2013) on national contributions and the need to adjust the programmes to the new challenges.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 14 May 2008 on the results of the negotiations concerning cohesion policy strategies and programmes for the programming period 2007-2013 [COM(2008) 301 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Following the negotiations conducted with the Member States, the Commission presents the priorities of cohesion policy programming for 2007-2013. In line with the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, the financial resources allocated to the Convergence, Competitiveness and Territorial Cooperation Objectives support innovation, research, skills and human capital.

The regional and sectoral strategies have been adapted to new challenges. For example, investments should contribute to the global competitiveness of European businesses by facilitating their access to the markets and by helping them to deal with restructuring. The ageing of the population and demographic changes in European society call in particular for increased labour participation and enhanced workers’ skills. Cohesion policy is aimed in particular at the inclusion of migrants and the fight against discrimination, poverty and exclusion. The programmes support the development of new environmental services and new skills, as well as the financing of infrastructure, in order to achieve the European objectives in the areas of sustainable development, climate change and energy policy.

The decentralised management of the Funds is essential to the effectiveness of the programmes. The multi-level partnership introduced between the public authorities and civil society in the preparation of strategies also makes it possible to adapt investment more closely to regional and local situations. In addition, exchanges of good practices based on previous programming contribute towards the effectiveness of public spending.

Good practices are spread within the framework of the Community initiatives, particularly the new “Regions for Economic Change” initiative and the Territorial Cooperation Objective.

Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources


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

Environment > Tackling climate change

Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Text with EEA relevance).


This Directive establishes a common framework for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources.

National targets and measures

Each Member State has a target calculated according to the share of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption for 2020. This target is in line with the overall ’20-20-20′ goal for the Community.

Moreover, the share of energy from renewable sources in the transport sector must amount to at least 10 % of final energy consumption in the sector by 2020.

National renewable energy action plans

The Member States are to establish national action plans which set the share of energy from renewable sources consumed in transport, as well as in the production of electricity and heating, for 2020. These action plans must take into account the effects of other energy efficiency measures on final energy consumption (the higher the reduction in energy consumption, the less energy from renewable sources will be required to meet the target). These plans will also establish procedures for the reform of planning and pricing schemes and access to electricity networks, promoting energy from renewable sources.

Cooperation between Member States

Member States can “exchange” an amount of energy from renewable sources using a statistical transfer, and set up joint projects concerning the production of electricity and heating from renewable sources.

It is also possible to establish cooperation with third countries. The following conditions must be met:

  • the electricity must be consumed in the Community;
  • the electricity must be produced by a newly constructed installation (after June 2009);
  • the quantity of electricity produced and exported must not benefit from any other support.

Guarantee of origin

Each Member State must be able to guarantee the origin of electricity, heating and cooling produced from renewable energy sources. The information contained in these guarantees of origin is normalised and should be recognised in all Member States. It may also be used to provide consumers with information on the composition of the different electricity sources.

Access to and operation of the grids

Member States should build the necessary infrastructures for energy from renewable sources in the transport sector. To this end, they should:

  • ensure that operators guarantee the transport and distribution of electricity from renewable sources;
  • provide for priority access for this type of energy.

Biofuels and bioliquids

The Directive takes into account energy from biofuels and bioliquids. The latter should contribute to a reduction of at least 35 % of greenhouse gas emissions in order to be taken into account. From 1 January 2017, their share in emissions savings should be increased to 50 %.

Biofuels and bioliquids are produced using raw materials coming from outside or within the Community. Biofuels and bioliquids should not be produced using raw materials from land with high biodiversity value or with high carbon stock. To benefit from financial support, they must be qualified as “sustainable” in accordance with the criteria of this Directive.


The Directive is part of a package of energy and climate change legislation which provides a legislative framework for Community targets for greenhouse gas emission savings. It encourages energy efficiency, energy consumption from renewable sources, the improvement of energy supply and the economic stimulation of a dynamic sector in which Europe is setting an example.


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

Directive 2009/28/EC

25.6.2009 5.12.2010 OJ l140 of 5.6.2009

Related Act

Report from the Commission of 25 February 2010 to the Council and the European Parliament on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling [COM(2010) 11 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

This Report is accompanied by an impact assessment (SEC(2010)65 ) and a summary of the impact assessment (SEC(2010)66 ).
This Report sets out the results of the assessment carried out by the Commission on the requirements for a sustainability scheme for energy uses of biomass other than biofuels and
bioliquids (i.e. solid and gaseous fuels in electricity, heating and cooling).
In its analysis of requirements for extending the EU sustainability scheme of solid and gaseous biomass in electricity, heating and cooling, the Commission has considered three principles which a European-wide policy on biomass sustainability has to meet:

  • effectiveness in dealing with problems of sustainable biomass use;
  • cost-efficiency in meeting the objectives;
  • consistency with existing policies.

Based on this analysis, the Report concludes that at this stage it is not necessary to establish a binding and harmonised European scheme in this area. The existing measures are sufficient for ensuring that solid and gaseous biomass consumed at EU level in the electricity heating and cooling sectors is sustainable.
However, the Commission makes recommendations related to sustainability and strongly encourages Member States to take them into account in order to ensure consistency between existing or future national sustainability schemes. The recommendations are mainly based on the sustainability scheme included in Directive 2009/28/EC on biofuels and bioliquids.
The Commission specifies that between now and 31 December 2011, it will report on whether national schemes have sufficiently addressed the sustainability issues related to the use of biomass from inside and outside the EU and whether these schemes have led to barriers to trade and barriers to the development of the bio-energy sector. It will consider if additional measures such as common sustainability criteria at EU level would be appropriate.