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Building europe through the treaties

Building europe through the treaties

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Building europe through the treaties

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

Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties

Building europe through the treaties

The signing of the Community Treaties (ECSC in 1951, EEC and Euratom in 1957) marked the starting point for over 50 years of European treaties. The ‘founding’ Treaties establishing the European Communities and the European Union, together with the major amending Treaties, constitute the primary legislation; in other words, they are the supreme law of the Union and of the European Communities.
The Treaties, which are agreed by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States, contain the formal and substantive rules on the basis of which the institutions implement the various policies of the Communities and of the Union. They lay down the formal rules, setting out the division of powers between the Union and the Member States, and conferring powers on the institutions. They also determine the substantive rules defining the scope of policies and the activities of the institutions within each policy area.

  • Introduction
  • The Lisbon Treaty: a comprehensive guide

SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENTS: FROM THE SINGLE ACT TO THE TREATY OF NICE

  • The Single European Act
  • Treaty of Maastricht on European Union
  • The Amsterdam treaty: a comprehensive guide

FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

  • Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC Treaty
  • Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, EEC Treaty – original text (non-consolidated version)
  • Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)

Europol: European Police Office

Europol: European Police Office

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Europol: European Police Office

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

Justice freedom and security > Police and customs cooperation

Europol: European Police Office (until 31.12.2009)

This Council act establishes the European Police Office (Europol). The objective of Europol is to improve police cooperation between Member States in order to combat terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other serious forms of international organised crime. Member States are setting up national units to liaise between Europol and the national authorities responsible for fighting crime.

Document or Iniciative

Council Act of 26 July 1995 drawing up the Convention on the establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention) [See amending acts].

Summary

This act sets up a European Police Office known as Europol. Europol is established in The Hague, Netherlands, with legal personality. The objective of Europol is to improve the effectiveness of, and cooperation between, the competent authorities in Member States in preventing and combating international organised crime.

Strengthening cooperation between Member States: Europol’s role

Unlike the police services of Member States, Europol does not have executive powers. It cannot detain individuals, nor can it conduct home searches. Its tasks are to facilitate the exchanges of information, analyse intelligence and coordinate operations involving several Member States.

As part of police cooperation between Member States, Europol:

  • facilitates the exchange of information between Member States;
  • collates and analyses information and intelligence;
  • notifies the competent authorities of Member States without delay via the national units of information concerning them and of any connections identified between criminal offences;
  • aids investigations in Member States;
  • maintains a computerised system of collected information;
  • helps Member States train their competent authorities;
  • facilitates technical assistance between Member States;
  • serves as the contact point for combating euro counterfeiting.

Europol takes action when one or two Member States are affected by serious international organised crime. This covers an increasing number of areas, namely:

  • preventing and combating terrorism;
  • drug trafficking;
  • trafficking in human beings;
  • illegal immigrant smuggling;
  • trafficking in nuclear and radioactive substances;
  • motor vehicle crime;
  • counterfeiting and forgery of means of payment;
  • money laundering (except for predicate offences).

Europol’s sphere of competence includes offences involving the types of crime indicated above.

Setting up a single contact point in Member States: the national units

Each Member State establishes or designates a Europol national unit (ENU). This unit is the only liaison body between Europol and the competent national authorities. It sends at least one liaison officer to Europol whose task is to represent the unit’s interests within Europol. The heads of the national units meet on a regular basis.

The national unit’s duties include:

  • supplying Europol with the information and intelligence it needs to carry out its tasks, and in particular providing input for Europol’s database;
  • replying to and issuing requests for information to Europol;
  • disseminating the information provided by Europol to the competent authorities.

ENUs are Europol’s only point of entry into Member States. However, the amendments made to the Europol Convention by the November 2003 Protocol will enable direct contacts between a Member State’s competent authorities and Europol, on condition that the ENU is informed at the same time.

Administering and funding Europol

Europol is constituted and administered by a number of bodies, namely:

  • the management board, comprising one representative of each Member State and of the Commission, which has observer status. The management board’s duties include helping to determine Europol’s priorities, unanimously determining the rights and obligations of liaison officers, laying down data-processing rules, preparing rules for work files and examining problems brought to its attention by the joint supervisory body. The board meets at least twice a year. Each year it unanimously adopts a report on Europol’s activities and a report on its future activities taking into account the Member States’ operational requirements and the budgetary implications for Europol. These reports are submitted to the Council of the European Union (EU) for approval. The European Parliament is informed. The management board is chaired by the representative of the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council;
  • the director, who, after obtaining the opinion of the management board, is unanimously appointed by the Council for a four-year period, which is renewable once. He is assisted by three deputy directors who are appointed by the Council for a once-renewable four-year period. Their tasks are determined by the director. The director’s responsibilities include performance of the tasks assigned to Europol, day-to-day administration and personnel management. The director is accountable to the management board and is Europol’s legal representative;
  • the financial controller, who is unanimously appointed by the management board and accountable to it;
  • the financial committee, consisting of one representative from each Member State.

Europol is financed from Member States’ contributions. The accounts in respect of all income and expenditure entered in the budget, together with the balance sheet showing Europol’s assets and liabilities, are subject to an annual audit. The draft budget and budget implementation are examined by the Council.

Compiling information: the IT database

To perform its tasks, Europol maintains an IT database. Under no circumstances may this database be linked to other automated processing systems, except for the systems of the national units. The national units are responsible for the security of data-processing equipment and for carrying out checks on the storage and deletion of data files. The system is made up of three components: the IT information system, work files and index system.

The information system may only be used to store, modify and utilise data that are necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks. The system does not contain data on related criminal offences. The data concern persons who, under the national law of a Member State, are suspected of having committed or having taken part in a criminal offence for which Europol is competent or who have been convicted of such an offence. The system also contains data concerning persons who are suspected of planning to commit criminal offences for which Europol is competent.

Personal data may only include the following details:

  • surname, given names and any alias or assumed name;
  • date and place of birth;
  • nationality;
  • sex;
  • other characteristics likely to assist in identification, such as any specific objective physical characteristics not subject to change.

The information system also includes the following details:

  • criminal offences, alleged crimes and where and when they were committed;
  • means that were or may have been used to commit the crimes;
  • the departments handling the case and their file references;
  • suspected membership of a criminal organisation;
  • convictions relating to criminal offences for which Europol is competent;
  • references to Europol or the inputting national unit.

Access to the information system is available to the national units, liaison officers, the director, the deputy directors and duly authorised Europol officials. The competent authorities designated by Member States have limited access to the information system. Further information may be obtained only via the national units. Only the unit that entered the data may modify, correct or delete them.

Europol may store, modify, and utilise data on the criminal offences for which it is competent in other files (work files), including data on related criminal offences. Files opened for the purposes of analysis, with the aim of helping a criminal investigation, concern the following subjects:

  • persons who, under the national law of a Member State, are suspected of having committed or having taken part in a criminal offence for which Europol is competent or who have been convicted of such an offence;
  • persons who, under the national law of a Member State, are suspected of planning to commit criminal offences for which Europol is competent;
  • persons called on to testify in investigations in connection with offences or criminal proceedings;
  • victims of one of the offences under consideration or persons who could be victims of such offences;
  • contacts and associates;
  • persons who can provide information on the offences under consideration.

All IT databases containing personal data must indicate:

  • the file’s purpose and name;
  • the nature of the data to be stored;
  • the time limits for examining the data, duration of storage, etc.

Each analysis project entails setting up an analysis group comprising analysts and other Europol officials, as well as liaison officials and/or experts from Member States. Only analysts are authorised to input data into work files, but all participants may retrieve data from them. The collection, storage and processing of data takes place in strict compliance with the arrangements for protecting individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data.

Data may not be kept on file for more than three years. However, Europol reviews annually the need to continue keeping the data for the purposes of the file concerned. The Europol director may, where appropriate, decide to keep data for a further three-year period.

Europol sets up an index system for data stored in work files. The director, deputy directors, duly authorised officials of Europol and liaison officers are entitled to consult the index system.

Data protection: processing arrangements

Europol passes on any information concerning their Member State to the national units, as well as to their liaison officers if the national units so request. Member States ensure a standard of data protection under their national legislation that must at least correspond to the Council of Europe Convention of 28 January 1981. Each Member State must ensure that the data it transmits to Europol are legal, accurate and up to date, and check the storage time limits. Europol is responsible for data transmitted to it by third parties or resulting from analyses that it has carried out.

Individuals wishing to access data relating to them that have been stored at Europol may make a request to that effect free of charge to the national competent authority in the Member State of their choice. The competent authority refers the matter to Europol and informs the enquirer that Europol will reply to them directly. Requests must be fully dealt with by Europol within three months of receipt by the national authority. The right of individuals to access their data or to have such data checked must be exercised in accordance with the law of the Member State where the request was made. Europol may refuse to provide data where necessary to:

  • enable it to perform its tasks properly;
  • protect security and public order in Member States;
  • prevent crime;
  • protect the rights and freedoms of third parties.

Individuals have the right to ask Europol to correct or delete incorrect data concerning them. If data that are incorrect or contravene this Convention have been passed directly to Europol by a Member State, it must correct or delete them in collaboration with Europol. Europol informs requesters that the data concerning them have been corrected or deleted. If they are not satisfied with Europol’s reply or have received no reply within three months, they may refer the matter to the joint supervisory body. This independent body monitors Europol’s activities to ensure that the rights of individuals are not violated by the storage, processing or utilisation of the data in its possession.

In addition to the joint supervisory body, each Member State designates a national supervisory body to ensure that personal data are input, retrieved and transmitted to Europol in accordance with national law. This body also ensures that the rights of the individuals concerned are not affected. Individuals have the right to ask the national body to check that the data concerning them were input, transmitted and consulted in accordance with the law. This right is exercised in accordance with the national law of the Member State to which the national supervisory body belongs.

Each Member State is liable for any damage caused to individuals as a result of legal or factual errors in data stored or processed at Europol. Only the Member State in which the event that gave rise to the damage occurred may be the subject of an action for compensation on the part of the injured party, who must apply to the courts with jurisdiction under the national law of that Member State.

Ensuring that action is effective: cooperation with European institutions, international institutions and third countries

On the basis of an act of its management board, Europol has concluded agreements with the following EU bodies through its International Relations – Cooperation agreements:

  • the European Central Bank (ECB);
  • Eurojust;
  • the European Commission;
  • the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction;
  • the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

This Convention allows Europol to conclude strategic or operational cooperation agreements (only operational agreements provide for transmission of personal data) with third countries and international organisations.

Background

Member States have ratified this Convention in accordance with their respective constitutional arrangements. Following the Convention’s entry into force, various measures were taken to enable the European Police Office to be established. These concern the rights and obligations of liaison officers, rules for data files, rules of procedure of the joint supervisory body, staff regulations, rules on confidentiality, the financial regulation, the headquarters agreement, the protocol on privileges and immunities and the agreements on the privileges and immunities applicable to liaison officers. Europol started operations on 1 July 1999, when it replaced the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU), which had been set up on a provisional basis in 1995.

This Convention is open to accession by any state that becomes a member of the EU. Reservations are not permissible.

Two protocols to the Convention were adopted by the Council in November 2002 and November 2003. They have given Europol new powers to assist Member States, including: coordinating joint investigation teams, requesting investigations, allowing third countries (with which Europol has concluded operational agreements) to take part in analysis groups, etc.

As of 1 January 2010, the Convention is replaced by Council Decision 2009/371/JHA establishing Europol. Consequently, possible amendments to Europol will be easier in future. The decision will establish Europol as a Union entity, subjecting it to the general rules and procedures of similar bodies and agencies, and thus simplifying its administration. At the same time, Europol will be funded from the general budget of the EU, placing it under the budgetary control of the European Parliament.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Act of 26 July 1995

26.7.1995

OJ C 316 of 27.11.1995

Convention based on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union on the establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention)

1.10.1998

OJ C 316 of 27.11.1995

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Act of 27 November 2003
(protocol)

18.4.2007

OJ C 2 of 6.1.2004

Council Act of 28 November 2002
(protocol on joint investigation teams)

29.3.2007

OJ C 312 of 16.12.2002

Council Act of 30 November 2000
(protocol on money laundering)

29.3.2007

OJ C 358 of 13.12.2000

Council Decision of 3 December 1998
(trafficking in human beings)

1.1.1999

OJ C 26 of 30.1.1999

Council Decision of 3 December 1998
(terrorism)

1.1.1999

OJ C 26 of 30.1.1999

Related Acts

Council Decision 2005/511/JHA of 12 July 2005 on protecting the euro against counterfeiting, by designating Europol as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting [Official Journal L 185 of 16.7.2005].

Council Decision of 6 December 2001 extending Europol’s mandate to deal with the serious forms of international crime listed in the Annex to the Europol Convention [Official Journal C 362 of 18.12.2001].

United Nations Convention against Corruption

United Nations Convention against Corruption

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about United Nations Convention against Corruption

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

Fight against fraud > Fight against corruption

United Nations Convention against Corruption

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Community, of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Summary

At the conference held in Merida (Mexico) from 9 to 11 December 2003, the United Nations Convention against Corruption was opened for signing. At its 2658th session on 10 May 2005, the Council adopted the Commission proposal concerning the signing of the Convention.

The Decision authorises the President of the Council to designate the persons empowered to sign the United Nations Convention on behalf of the European Community. On 15 September 2005, the European Commission and the Council Presidency signed the Convention on behalf of the European Community. The Convention, now known as the Merida Convention, was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2003 (Resolution 58/4) and was open for signing until 9 December 2005.

Producing an effective instrument against corruption

In December 2000, the UN General Assembly decided to establish a special committee open to all States for drawing up an effective international legal instrument against corruption (Resolution 55/61). The committee negotiated the Convention between January 2002 and October 2003. The Commission represented the European Community’s interests.

The Commission considers that the objectives set by the Council in its negotiating directives have been attained. The Convention provides for a high standard of preventive and technical assistance measures in matters within the Community’s powers, in particular with regard to the internal market. This includes measures to prevent and to combat money laundering, as well as standards on accounting in the private sector and on transparency and equal access of all candidates for public works supply and service contracts.

As the Member States stated that they would sign the Convention as soon as it was opened for signing in Merida, Mexico (Spain alone of the EU15 not having done so), the Commission asserts that the European Community should also do so. To that end, the Commission proposed that the Presidency of the Council designate the persons empowered to sign the Convention on behalf of the European Community. The Council adopted the Commission proposal without debate.

Fighting corruption: the UN Convention

The purposes of the Convention are to:

  • promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively;
  • promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance;
  • promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.

It applies to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption and to the freezing, seizure, confiscation and return of the proceeds of offences.

The Convention enumerates in detail the measures to prevent corruption, including the application of prevention policies and practices, the establishment of bodies for that purpose, the application of codes of conduct for public officials and objective criteria for the recruitment and promotion of civil servants, and public procurement. It recommends promoting transparency and accountability in the management of public finances and in the private sector, with tougher accounting and auditing standards. Measures to prevent money-laundering are also provided for, together with measures to secure the independence of the judiciary. Public reporting and the participation of society are encouraged as preventive measures.

Regarding criminalisation, detection and repression, the Convention recommends the State Parties to adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish a whole series of criminal offences. These are:

  • corruption of national or foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations;
  • embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion by a public official of any public or private property;
  • trading in influence;
  • abuse of functions and illicit enrichment.

In all respects, the Convention regards as corruption the offer or acceptance of undue advantages for oneself or for another person or entity.

In the private sector, it calls for the creation of offences of embezzlement and corruption. There would also be offences of laundering the proceeds of crime, handling stolen property, obstructing the administration of justice, and participating in and attempting embezzlement or corruption.

The State Parties are recommended to take the necessary measures to:

  • provide for the liability of legal persons;
  • allow the freezing, seizure and confiscation;
  • protect witnesses, experts and victims;
  • protect reporting persons;
  • tackle the consequences of acts of corruption;
  • ensure that entities or persons who have suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption have the right to initiate legal proceedings for compensation;
  • establish a body or bodies or appoint persons specialised in combating corruption through law enforcement;
  • encourage cooperation with law enforcement authorities;
  • encourage cooperation between national authorities and with the private sector;
  • overcome obstacles that may arise out of the application of bank secrecy laws;
  • take account of the previous convictions of an alleged offender in another State for the purpose of criminal proceedings;
  • establish their jurisdiction over offences committed on their territory, or against them, or by one of their nationals etc.

State Parties are also to take the necessary measures concerning proceedings and penalties against public officials, so as to strike a balance between their immunities and the offences committed by them, including the ensuing consequences.

The Convention devotes a chapter to international cooperation. The State Parties are to cooperate on criminal matters and on matters of extradition and transfer of sentenced persons, in a variety of situations described by the Convention. Mutual judicial assistance is a major item in this chapter and the Convention considers a variety of scenarios to provide for the largest range of possibilities for assistance.

The State Parties can also transfer criminal proceedings when necessary, conduct joint investigations and make use of special investigative techniques such as electronic surveillance. Enforcement authorities are called on to cooperate with each other through more effective channels of communication and cooperation when conducting investigations.

Chapter V concerns asset recovery. The return of assets pursuant to this chapter is a fundamental principle of the Convention. Financial institutions are encouraged to verify the identity of customers and beneficial owners of high-value accounts and to avoid banks that have no physical presence and are not affiliated with a regulated financial group. The chapter further specifies measures to be taken for the direct recovery of assets and the machinery for doing this by means of international cooperation on confiscation. Such assets should be returned in accordance with the rules laid down by the Convention. A financial intelligence unit and bilateral or multilateral agreements or arrangements to enhance the effectiveness of international cooperation are also called for.

State Parties are required to develop specific training programmes and provide one another the widest measure of technical assistance. The collection, exchange and analysis of information on corruption is provided for, as are practical measures to enhance cooperation at various levels, as well as financial and material assistance to support the efforts of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to prevent and fight corruption effectively.

A conference of the State Parties is established to improve their capacity and cooperation, in order to achieve the objectives set forth in the Convention and to promote and review its implementation.

The Convention is open for signature by regional economic integration organisations, provided that at least one Member State of such an organisation has signed it. It is to enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 30th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Related Acts

Council Decision 2008/201/EC of 25 September 2008 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the United Nations Convention against Corruption [Official Journal L 287 of 29.10.2008].
With this Decision, the United Nations Convention against Corruption was approved on behalf of the European Community. The Decision authorises the President of the Council to designate the person(s) who shall be empowered to deposit the Community’s instrument of formal confirmation. This instrument is binding on the Community. It consists of a declaration of the Community’s competence regarding matters that are governed by the Convention (Annex II) and of a statement concerning dispute settlement on the interpretation or application of the Convention (Annex III).

Convention on Nuclear Safety

Convention on Nuclear Safety

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on Nuclear Safety

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

Energy > Nuclear energy

Convention on Nuclear Safety

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 1999/819/Euratom of 16 November 1999 concerning the accession to the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

Summary

Context

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is an international convention which aims to improve nuclear safety worldwide.

All Member States of the European Union (EU) are party to the Convention. The Community established by the Euratom Treaty shares jurisdiction with Member States in the fields governed by the Convention. The Community acceded to the Convention on 30 January 2000.

Euratom Responsibilities

Euratom does not possess nuclear installations as defined in the Convention. The safety of nuclear installations is the main responsibility of the holder of the corresponding licence from the Member State on whose territory the installation has been set up. The responsibilities of Euratom within the Convention are derived from the provisions in the Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3) dealing with the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers of ionising radiation as confirmed by the Court of Justice (judgment C-29/99).

Objectives

The Convention has three main objectives:

  • to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety through the enhancement of national measures and technical cooperation;
  • to establish and maintain effective defences against radiological hazards in nuclear installations in order to protect people and the environment, etc.;
  • to prevent nuclear accidents and limit their consequences.

The Convention does not give detailed safety standards but represents a commitment to the application of fundamental safety principles for nuclear installations.

Scope

The Convention applies to the safety of fixed civil nuclear power plants including facilities for storage, handling and treatment of radioactive materials that are on the same site and are directly related to the operation of the nuclear power plant.

Implementation

The parties to the Convention are committed to establishing a legislative and regulatory and administrative framework to ensure the safety of nuclear installations which provides for:

  • the establishment of sufficient national safety requirements and regulations;
  • a system for licensing nuclear installations and the prohibition of operating without a licence;
  • a system of inspection and assessment. Comprehensive and systematic assessments should be carried out before the construction and commissioning of an installation and throughout its life;
  • measures to enforce the regulations and the terms of licensing (suspension or revocation of licences, etc.).

The parties must set up an independent regulatory body to grant licenses and to ensure that the regulations are correctly implemented. The duties of this body must be effectively separated from those of any other organisation whose task is to promote or use nuclear energy.

Those responsible for the plants must draw up a strategy prioritising safety and a quality assurance programme to ensure that the requirements are met. Emergency measures must also be put in place, detailing the procedures for informing the relevant authorities, such as hospitals.

Each party to the Convention must submit to the other parties a report on the measures that they have taken to meet the requirements of the Treaty at regular review meetings.

Safety of Installations

The regulatory body is in charge of granting operating licences to nuclear installations. The Convention specifies assessment criteria for each phase in the life of an installation: siting, design and construction, and operation.

In choosing the site, one must consider, inter alia, its effect on the safety of the installation and the effects of the installation on individuals and the environment. Other contracting parties in the vicinity of the site must also be consulted if the installation is likely to have consequences for them.

Regarding design and construction, safety measures must be put in place against the release of radioactive materials and to make sure that the techniques and equipment used are proven by experience or testing, for example.

Authorisation to operate a nuclear installation is based on safety analysis and a commissioning plan. The management of the installation must conform with the regulations established by the national authorities. Programmes to collect and analyse data must also be introduced.

Each installation must also have on-site and off-site emergency plans to protect workers, the general public, the environment, etc. in the case of a radiological emergency.

Organisational arrangements

Parties meet at least once every three years. The parties look at reports on the measures that they have each taken to fulfil the Treaty obligations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). provides the secretariat.

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 1999/819/Euratom

16.11.1999

OJ L 318 of 11.12.1999

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/491/Euratom

1.5.2004

OJ L 172 of 6.5.2004

Related Acts

PROPOSALS

Proposal for a Council Directive (Euratom) setting up a Community framework for nuclear safety [COM(2008) 790 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Proposal replaces and updates the Proposal which was presented in September 2004. It aims at establishing a common Community framework to define basic obligations on the safety of nuclear installations whilst strengthening the role of national regulatory bodies. The general objective of the Proposal is to achieve, maintain and continuously improve nuclear safety in the European Union. It also aims at enhancing the role of national regulatory bodies, by ensuring their independence and the appropriate financial and human resources to allow them to fulfil their duties. It will anchor the international principles of nuclear safety arising from the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Fundamentals in Community law, thus giving the European Union its own provisions in this field. For the moment, the Member States and the European Union are only Parties to the IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety, which is only of a voluntary nature and therefore does not lead to any sanctions in cases of non-compliance.

Its scope includes the design, siting, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of nuclear installations.

It focuses on giving a precise definition of the terms ‘nuclear installations’, ‘nuclear safety’, radioactive material’, ‘decommissioning’, ‘radioactive waste’, ‘spent fuel’, ‘ionising radiation’, ‘regulatory body’, ‘licence’ and ‘new power reactors’.

Member States are still responsible for the legislative and regulatory framework for the safety of nuclear installations. They must ensure the independence of the regulatory body which grants licences and carries out inspections on siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation or decommissioning of nuclear installations.

Moreover, Member States should comply with the obligations and requirements set in the International Atomic Energy Agency Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the Agency’s Safety Fundamentals.

The population shall be informed of the procedures and the results of the surveillance activities on nuclear safety. Every three years, Member States must submit a report to the European Commission on the implementation of the directive.

Consultation procedure (CNS/2008/0231)

Proposal for a Council (Euratom) Directive Setting out basic obligations and general principles on the safety of nuclear installations [COM(2003) 32 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Directive (Euratom) on the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste [COM(2003) 32 final – Non publié au Journal officiel].

DECISIONS

Council Decision of 15 December 2003 amending the Council Decision of 7 December 1998 approving the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the Nuclear Safety Convention with regard to the Declaration attached thereto – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision of 23 May 2005, approving the conclusion of the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident [COM(2004) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision of 23 May 2005, approving the conclusion of the Convention on Assistance in the case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency [COM(2004) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR SAFETY

Convention on Nuclear Safety adopted in Vienna on 20 September 1994.

Declaration by the European Atomic Energy Community in accordance with the provisions of Article 30 (4) of the Convention on Nuclear Safety [Official Journal L 318 of 11.12.1999].

REPORTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION

Report of 9 October 2001 on the implementation of the obligations of the Convention on Nuclear Safety [COM(2001) 568 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This is the first Euratom report on the measures taken as a result of the Convention and refers to the health and safety provisions of the Euratom Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3), as well as Community legislation on radiation protection and emergency preparedness, for which Community jurisdiction was declared in Commission Decision 1999/819/Euratom (OJ L 318, 11.12.1999, p. 20). The report was presented at the second review meeting in Vienna in 2002.

Concerning radiation protection, Directive 96/29/Euratom lays down basic standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation. This directive is the central element of the legislation on radiation protection. It lays down, inter alia, the implementation procedure and fundamental principles.

There are two main pieces of European legislation on emergency preparedness. The first, Decision 87/600/Euratom, concerns the early exchange of information between authorities in the event of a radiologicial emergency. The second, Directive 89/618/Euratom, concerns informing the general public about measures to be taken in the event of an emergency.

Euratom also tackles the planned activities to improve safety. The key action ‘Nuclear Fission’ from the 5th Framework Programme for research (1998-2002) is an important framework for activity with the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Report of 13 October 2004 (pdf ) on the implementation of the obligations under the Convention on Nuclear Safety– 3rd Review meeting of the Contracting Parties [C(2004) 3742 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This is the second Euroatom report on measures taken as a result of the Convention. It refers to the provisions concerning health protection of the Euratom Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3), and Community legislation in the field of radiation protection and emergency preparedness. Having regard to the new Declaration (Council Decision of 15 December 2003, not published in the Official Journal), the report includes information in line with articles 7, and 14 to 19 of the Convention (legislative and regulatory framework, assessment and verification of safety, radiation protection, emergency preparedness, siting, design, construction and operation. It was presented at the third review meeting in Vienna in 2005.

Report of 1 October 2007 (pdf ) on the implementation of obligations under the Convention on Nuclear Safety – 4th Review meeting of the Contracting Parties [C(2007)4492 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

COMMUNICATIONS

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 September 2000 – Commission support to nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe [COM(2000) 493 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: “Nuclear safety in the European Union” [COM(2002) 605 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Another Normative about Convention on Nuclear Safety

Topics

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

Energy > Security of supply external dimension and enlargement

Convention on Nuclear Safety

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 1999/819/Euratom of 16 November 1999 concerning the accession to the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

Summary

Context

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is an international convention which aims to improve nuclear safety worldwide.

All Member States of the European Union (EU) are party to the Convention. The Community established by the Euratom Treaty shares jurisdiction with Member States in the fields governed by the Convention. The Community acceded to the Convention on 30 January 2000.

Euratom Responsibilities

Euratom does not possess nuclear installations as defined in the Convention. The safety of nuclear installations is the main responsibility of the holder of the corresponding licence from the Member State on whose territory the installation has been set up. The responsibilities of Euratom within the Convention are derived from the provisions in the Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3) dealing with the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers of ionising radiation as confirmed by the Court of Justice (judgment C-29/99).

Objectives

The Convention has three main objectives:

  • to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety through the enhancement of national measures and technical cooperation;
  • to establish and maintain effective defences against radiological hazards in nuclear installations in order to protect people and the environment, etc.;
  • to prevent nuclear accidents and limit their consequences.

The Convention does not give detailed safety standards but represents a commitment to the application of fundamental safety principles for nuclear installations.

Scope

The Convention applies to the safety of fixed civil nuclear power plants including facilities for storage, handling and treatment of radioactive materials that are on the same site and are directly related to the operation of the nuclear power plant.

Implementation

The parties to the Convention are committed to establishing a legislative and regulatory and administrative framework to ensure the safety of nuclear installations which provides for:

  • the establishment of sufficient national safety requirements and regulations;
  • a system for licensing nuclear installations and the prohibition of operating without a licence;
  • a system of inspection and assessment. Comprehensive and systematic assessments should be carried out before the construction and commissioning of an installation and throughout its life;
  • measures to enforce the regulations and the terms of licensing (suspension or revocation of licences, etc.).

The parties must set up an independent regulatory body to grant licenses and to ensure that the regulations are correctly implemented. The duties of this body must be effectively separated from those of any other organisation whose task is to promote or use nuclear energy.

Those responsible for the plants must draw up a strategy prioritising safety and a quality assurance programme to ensure that the requirements are met. Emergency measures must also be put in place, detailing the procedures for informing the relevant authorities, such as hospitals.

Each party to the Convention must submit to the other parties a report on the measures that they have taken to meet the requirements of the Treaty at regular review meetings.

Safety of Installations

The regulatory body is in charge of granting operating licences to nuclear installations. The Convention specifies assessment criteria for each phase in the life of an installation: siting, design and construction, and operation.

In choosing the site, one must consider, inter alia, its effect on the safety of the installation and the effects of the installation on individuals and the environment. Other contracting parties in the vicinity of the site must also be consulted if the installation is likely to have consequences for them.

Regarding design and construction, safety measures must be put in place against the release of radioactive materials and to make sure that the techniques and equipment used are proven by experience or testing, for example.

Authorisation to operate a nuclear installation is based on safety analysis and a commissioning plan. The management of the installation must conform with the regulations established by the national authorities. Programmes to collect and analyse data must also be introduced.

Each installation must also have on-site and off-site emergency plans to protect workers, the general public, the environment, etc. in the case of a radiological emergency.

Organisational arrangements

Parties meet at least once every three years. The parties look at reports on the measures that they have each taken to fulfil the Treaty obligations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). provides the secretariat.

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 1999/819/Euratom

16.11.1999

OJ L 318 of 11.12.1999

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/491/Euratom

1.5.2004

OJ L 172 of 6.5.2004

Related Acts

PROPOSALS

Proposal for a Council Directive (Euratom) setting up a Community framework for nuclear safety [COM(2008) 790 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Proposal replaces and updates the Proposal which was presented in September 2004. It aims at establishing a common Community framework to define basic obligations on the safety of nuclear installations whilst strengthening the role of national regulatory bodies. The general objective of the Proposal is to achieve, maintain and continuously improve nuclear safety in the European Union. It also aims at enhancing the role of national regulatory bodies, by ensuring their independence and the appropriate financial and human resources to allow them to fulfil their duties. It will anchor the international principles of nuclear safety arising from the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Fundamentals in Community law, thus giving the European Union its own provisions in this field. For the moment, the Member States and the European Union are only Parties to the IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety, which is only of a voluntary nature and therefore does not lead to any sanctions in cases of non-compliance.

Its scope includes the design, siting, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of nuclear installations.

It focuses on giving a precise definition of the terms ‘nuclear installations’, ‘nuclear safety’, radioactive material’, ‘decommissioning’, ‘radioactive waste’, ‘spent fuel’, ‘ionising radiation’, ‘regulatory body’, ‘licence’ and ‘new power reactors’.

Member States are still responsible for the legislative and regulatory framework for the safety of nuclear installations. They must ensure the independence of the regulatory body which grants licences and carries out inspections on siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation or decommissioning of nuclear installations.

Moreover, Member States should comply with the obligations and requirements set in the International Atomic Energy Agency Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the Agency’s Safety Fundamentals.

The population shall be informed of the procedures and the results of the surveillance activities on nuclear safety. Every three years, Member States must submit a report to the European Commission on the implementation of the directive.

Consultation procedure (CNS/2008/0231)

Proposal for a Council (Euratom) Directive Setting out basic obligations and general principles on the safety of nuclear installations [COM(2003) 32 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Directive (Euratom) on the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste [COM(2003) 32 final – Non publié au Journal officiel].

DECISIONS

Council Decision of 15 December 2003 amending the Council Decision of 7 December 1998 approving the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the Nuclear Safety Convention with regard to the Declaration attached thereto – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision of 23 May 2005, approving the conclusion of the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident [COM(2004) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision of 23 May 2005, approving the conclusion of the Convention on Assistance in the case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency [COM(2004) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR SAFETY

Convention on Nuclear Safety adopted in Vienna on 20 September 1994.

Declaration by the European Atomic Energy Community in accordance with the provisions of Article 30 (4) of the Convention on Nuclear Safety [Official Journal L 318 of 11.12.1999].

REPORTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION

Report of 9 October 2001 on the implementation of the obligations of the Convention on Nuclear Safety [COM(2001) 568 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This is the first Euratom report on the measures taken as a result of the Convention and refers to the health and safety provisions of the Euratom Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3), as well as Community legislation on radiation protection and emergency preparedness, for which Community jurisdiction was declared in Commission Decision 1999/819/Euratom (OJ L 318, 11.12.1999, p. 20). The report was presented at the second review meeting in Vienna in 2002.

Concerning radiation protection, Directive 96/29/Euratom lays down basic standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation. This directive is the central element of the legislation on radiation protection. It lays down, inter alia, the implementation procedure and fundamental principles.

There are two main pieces of European legislation on emergency preparedness. The first, Decision 87/600/Euratom, concerns the early exchange of information between authorities in the event of a radiologicial emergency. The second, Directive 89/618/Euratom, concerns informing the general public about measures to be taken in the event of an emergency.

Euratom also tackles the planned activities to improve safety. The key action ‘Nuclear Fission’ from the 5th Framework Programme for research (1998-2002) is an important framework for activity with the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Report of 13 October 2004 (pdf ) on the implementation of the obligations under the Convention on Nuclear Safety– 3rd Review meeting of the Contracting Parties [C(2004) 3742 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This is the second Euroatom report on measures taken as a result of the Convention. It refers to the provisions concerning health protection of the Euratom Treaty (Title II, Chapter 3), and Community legislation in the field of radiation protection and emergency preparedness. Having regard to the new Declaration (Council Decision of 15 December 2003, not published in the Official Journal), the report includes information in line with articles 7, and 14 to 19 of the Convention (legislative and regulatory framework, assessment and verification of safety, radiation protection, emergency preparedness, siting, design, construction and operation. It was presented at the third review meeting in Vienna in 2005.

Report of 1 October 2007 (pdf ) on the implementation of obligations under the Convention on Nuclear Safety – 4th Review meeting of the Contracting Parties [C(2007)4492 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

COMMUNICATIONS

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 September 2000 – Commission support to nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe [COM(2000) 493 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: “Nuclear safety in the European Union” [COM(2002) 605 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

Topics

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

Environment > Air pollution

Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 81/462/EEC of 11 June 1981 on the conclusion of the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution.

Summary

In this Convention, the Contracting Parties (i.e. the States or the European Union which are signatories to the Convention) commit themselves to limiting, and to gradually preventing and reducing their discharges of air pollutants and thus to combating the resulting transboundary pollution.

Long-range transboundary air pollution is defined as the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the air which have deleterious effects on human health, the environment or material property in another country, and for which the contribution of individual emission sources or groups of sources cannot be distinguished.

Policy cooperation

The Convention provides that Contracting Parties will develop and implement appropriate policies and strategies, particularly systems of air quality management. It also provides for the possibility for consultation to take place quickly in the case of pollution or a serious risk of pollution by one Party.

The Contracting Parties agree to meet regularly (at least annually) to assess progress made and liaise on matters relating to the Convention.

Scientific cooperation

The Parties will initiate concerted research and development efforts, particularly to reduce emissions of major air pollutants, for monitoring and measuring emission rates and concentrations of these pollutants, as well as to gain an understanding of the effects of these pollutants on health and the environment.

Exchange of Information

The Contracting Parties to the Convention will exchange information, in particular on data regarding the emission of major air pollutants (starting with sulphur dioxide) and their effects, aspects likely to cause significant changes in long-range transboundary air pollution (particularly in national policies and industrial development), control technologies for reducing air pollution and national policies and strategies to combat the major air pollutants.

Cooperation in the field of training

The Contracting Parties will participate in “the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe” (EMEP). This programme, which is governed by a separate protocol, aims to provide parties to the Convention with scientific information regarding monitoring of the atmosphere, the provision of IT models, the assessment of emissions and the development of projections.

In order for this cooperation to succeed, the Parties, among other things, provide for:

  • the application of this programme, initially focused on monitoring sulphur dioxide and related substances, to other major air pollutants;
  • monitoring the composition of media susceptible to contamination by these pollutants (water, soil and vegetation) as well as the effects on health and the environment;
  • the provision of meteorological and physico-chemical data relating to processes during transmission;
  • the use, whenever possible, of comparable or standardised monitoring and modelling methods;
  • the integration of EMEP into relevant national and international programmes;
  • the regular exchange of data obtained by monitoring.

Context

The Convention was signed in 1979 at Geneva, within the framework of the Economic Commission of the United Nations for Europe, and entered into force in 1983.

References

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

Decision 81/462/EEC

11.6.1981

OJ L 171 of 27.6.1981

Related Acts

Council Decision 2004/259/EC of 19 February 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the 1988 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants [OJ L 81 of 19.3.2004].

Council Decision 2003/507/EC of 13 June 2003 on the accession of the European Community, to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone [OJ L 179 of 17.7.2003].

Council Decision 2001/379/EC of 4 April 2001 on the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals [OJ L 134 of 17.5.2001].

Council Decision 98/686/EEC of 23 March 1998 on the conclusion by the European Community of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution on further reductions of sulphur emissions [Official Journal L 326 of 3.12.1998].

Council Decision 93/361/EEC of 17 May 1993 on the accession of the Community to the Protocol to the 1979 Geneva Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution concerning the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes [Official Journal L 149 of 21.6.1993].

Council Decision 86/277/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the conclusion of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution on long-term financing of the cooperative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP) [Official Journal L 181 of 4.7.1986].