Tag Archives: Cooperation policy

Possibilities for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao

Possibilities for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Possibilities for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Possibilities for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 October 2006 entitled “The European Union, Hong Kong and Macao: possibilities for cooperation 2007-2013” [COM(2006) 648 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs) is based principally on economic, trade and financial actions.

Since the handover of Hong Kong and Macao to China, these two SARs have been governed by the “one country, two systems” principle. In effect, their governments possess a high degree of autonomy in trade, fiscal, financial and regulatory matters, as well as their own legal and market economy systems. They are also members of international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Greater cooperation

The region of Hong Kong is a major maritime and air transportation hub in Asia. It is a major trading partner of the EU; thousands of European companies and citizens are established there. European diplomatic presence is represented there by a permanent office and a European chamber of commerce, in addition to the diplomatic and trade missions of Member States.

Cooperation between Hong Kong and the EU is based on a set of agreements on:

  • trade, under the framework of WTO multilateral commitments;
  • customs cooperation, specifically with the aim of combating fraud and piracy;
  • readmission of persons residing without authorization.

However, cooperation must also progress in the areas of competition rules and intellectual property rights.

The EU is Macao’s third largest trading partner. The close links it retains with Portuguese culture also contribute to the strength of its cooperation relations with the EU.

The partners concluded a trade cooperation agreement in 1992, which acted as a framework for funding projects in different areas (training, tourism, European studies, services, law, etc.), as well as a readmission agreement for persons in 2002.

New areas for cooperation

The partners identify a set of priorities aimed at expanding their cooperation. The EU must also endeavour to participate in the actions of trilateral cooperation undertaken by Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China.

In the areas of trade and customs, there is a need to:

  • improve the exchange of information and coordination on bilateral and multilateral trade;
  • strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, combat smuggling and make shipping more secure;
  • develop exchanges of best practice on competition policy and public procurement;
  • support businesses, and inform them of the possibilities to access markets, specifically to the benefit of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • encourage university exchanges, in particular concerning training on business management.

The partners also need to give new impetus to their financial cooperation by developing dialogue and through regulatory convergence (investment funds, company law, etc.). In addition, the cooperation should contribute towards compliance with the principles of good fiscal governance in order to promote the business environment, growth and jobs.

Cooperation must also make progress with regard to immigration and university exchanges.

As regards transport, maritime security and regulation must be the subject of enhanced cooperation. Similarly, the partners share common interests on matters relating to legal certainty for air carriers and civil aviation.

Action must also be taken to improve the protection of health, food and product safety, and in particular to promote the implementation of rapid alert systems for foodstuffs and compliance with EU safety standards.

Effort must be made to promote environmental protection, particularly through combating air and water pollution, and reducing industrial emissions.

Related Acts

Joint Report to the European Parliament and the Council: Annual Report Hong Kong 2010 [COM(2011) 204 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Joint Report to the European Parliament and the Council: Annual Report Macao 2010 [COM(2011) 205 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

EU-India Strategic Partnership

EU-India Strategic Partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-India Strategic Partnership

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

EU-India Strategic Partnership

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 June 2004: An EU-India Strategic Partnership [COM(2004) 430) final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The EU and India already enjoy a close relationship based on shared values and mutual respect. In recent years, the relationship has developed exponentially in terms of shared vision, goals and challenges. Against this background the Commission proposes a new strategy based on the following objectives:

  • international cooperation through multilateralism, including promoting peace, combating terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and human rights;
  • enhanced commercial and economic interaction, in particular through sectoral dialogue and dialogue on regulatory and industrial policy;
  • cooperation on sustainable development, protecting the environment, mitigating climate change and combating poverty;
  • continuous improvement of mutual understanding and contacts between the EU’s and India’s civil society.

International cooperation

Since the EU and India are seen as forces for global stability, the focus of relations has shifted from trade to wider political issues. The Commission proposes a strategic alliance to enhance relations with India and promote an effective multilateral approach.

India is an important partner in conflict prevention. The EU should therefore explore means of formalising regular cooperation with India in this area. The Commission wishes to step up political dialogue on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and proposes setting up dialogue on export control measures.

Real cooperation should be established on combating terrorism and organised crime.

The EU is strongly committed to peace and stability in South Asia and encourages dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Economic partnership

The EU is India’s largest trading partner and main source of foreign inward investment, whereas India is only the EU’s 14th trading partner. India needs to further open up its market and accelerate market reform to realise the potential of its market. It must address such matters as customs tariffs and the many non-tariff trade barriers, as well as considerably improving its infrastructure.

The strategic dialogue should address regulatory and industrial policy to improve business competitiveness on both sides. India and the EU should also promote cooperation on the world’s major environmental challenges such as biodiversity, climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.

In many areas, dialogue with India has already made considerable progress. Strategic sectoral dialogues should be developed in the following areas:

  • the information society;
  • transport;
  • energy;
  • biotechnology;
  • the Galileo programme (the European global satellite navigation system);
  • a space partnership.

The EU and India must start dialogue on investment, intellectual property rights and trade defence instruments. The EU has an interest in enhancing cooperation with India on technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary issues. The EU-India customs cooperation agreement should also be exploited and sustainable development and South Asian regional cooperation should be promoted.

There is enormous potential for EU-India collaboration in science and technology. Indian researchers should be encouraged to participate in the EU’s 6th Framework Programme.

The EU should invite India to regularly attend ministerial level consultations on subjects of mutual interest in the field of monetary and financial policy.

Development cooperation

The EU must help India to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Coordination with other EU donors needs to be improved. The EU could also share its experience of social security systems.

Mutual understanding

The European and Indian Parliaments are considering organising regular, institutionalised parliamentary exchanges. In terms of culture, cooperation in all disciplines should be reinforced. All Member States and institutions should cooperate and coordinate their activities to inform Indian public opinion. The Government of India should be encouraged to visit EU institutions as often as possible and devise its own communications strategy.

Institutional architecture

EU-Indian partnership is based on the 1994 Cooperation Agreement and the Joint Political Declaration of 1993. The first Lisbon summit of 2000 was also key to the development of bilateral relations. The Commission proposes a number of initiatives to streamline the structure of the partnership.

Implementation and follow-up

The Commission hopes that this Communication will be a starting point for collective reflection on how to improve EU-India relations. The proposals emerging from such reflection could serve as the basis for an action plan and a new EU-Indian joint political declaration. Both could be endorsed at the Sixth EU-India Summit in 2005.

Context

India is an increasingly important international player and regional power with an impressive economic growth rate. Since the first EU-India summit held in Lisbon in 2000, EU relations with India have progressed in political, geopolitical, economic and trade terms.

Related Acts

Joint Action Plan adopted at the Sixth EU-India Summit at Delhi, 7 September 2005.

The current Joint Action Plan should be seen in the context of the 2004 Hague Summit. Its primary objective is to develop EU-India relations in the context of a strategic partnership. Its specific aim is to encourage the EU and India to:

  • consolidate their mechanisms for dialogue and consultation mechanisms;
  • deepen dialogue and cooperation on political and economic matters;
  • develop trade and investments;
  • improve relations between their peoples and cultures.

Joint Press Statement from the Fifth India-EU Summit (FR ) at The Hague, 8 November 2004.

The Indian and European authorities highlight the progress made in strengthening EU-Indian relations, in particular after the 2004 communication on the EU-Indian strategic partnership, followed by the Council’s conclusions of 11 October 2004. They also reiterate that their partnership is based on a solid foundation of shared values and convictions and their commitment to democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and multilateralism in international relations, which contribute stability and peace in the world. Finally, they wish to strengthen their partnership through more intensive dialogue.

EU-Pacific strategy

EU-Pacific strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-Pacific strategy

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

EU-Pacific strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 29 May 2006 – EU relations with the Pacific Islands – A strategy for a strengthened partnership [COM(2006) 248 – Official Journal C 184 of 8 August 2006].

Summary

The strategy will bring the EU’s relationship with the Pacific into line with the new EU development policy statement adopted by the EU institutions in December 2005 and with the revised Cotonou Agreement of 2005. It will also help put into practice the EU’s commitments to aid effectiveness in the region.

The strategy consists of three components:

  • stronger political relations on matters of common interest such as global political security, trade, economic and social development and the environment;
  • more focused development action, with greater emphasis on regional cooperation to build up critical mass, enhance regional governance and facilitate mutual enrichment;
  • more efficient aid delivery, including greater use of direct budget support and closer coordination with other partners, in particular Australia and New Zealand.

In this strategy, the EU concentrates on sound management and protection of the environment, which are essential to the prosperity of the Pacific region, and takes into account its specific character: some of the islands are small, remote and vulnerable to natural disasters; they also face the challenges of state fragility and weak governance; moreover, their political and economic importance has increased owing to a growing demand for their substantial natural resources (fish, timber, minerals, oil, gas).

As regards strengthening the political dialogue between the EU and the Pacific region, the proposal is to increase contact with the Pacific Islands Forum, which is the main regional institution for political issues. It is also important to conduct a dialogue at national level with key Pacific ACP countries, in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement.

More focused development action

The action will focus on three priorities: governance, regionalism and sustainable management of natural resources.

Drawing on its experience, the EU will help prevention and stabilisation in post-conflict situations and establish good governance by strengthening credible institutions. It will encourage greater compliance with international standards as regards workers and in the fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.

Regional integration is crucial for an effective development aid strategy. The Pacific needs to strengthen this dimension and the EU will bring added value where it can. It will continue to help the Forum Secretariat and the other Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies, in particular as regards natural resources management, vulnerability and governance.

The EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) has a catalytic effect on economic cooperation and integration in the Pacific region as it stimulates the Pacific ACP countries to negotiate as a group, open up to each other and improve regional governance. Of the Pacific ACP countries’ total exports, 10 % go to the EU. This is a remarkable figure considering the size of these countries and the physical distance between the Pacific and Europe. In order to maximise the benefits of the EPA, the negotiations are closely coordinated with the programming and implementation of development assistance.

The Commission proposes that the central theme for strengthened cooperation be “blue-green”: that it deal therefore with sustainable management of natural resources and that it support Pacific ACP countries in their action to cope with environmental problems and resource-management issues. This is an area where Europe could contribute with its clearly recognised added value and where it could offer its collective experience and know-how.

The EU can assist these countries in managing their ocean and coastal resources in a sustainable manner through initiatives that could combine the use and conservation of fisheries and marine biodiversity. The new generations of Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs) are an important milestone. They provide regulated access to fishing opportunities for European vessels and envisage close cooperation to promote responsible fishing and ensure conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources of the partner countries concerned.

To make EU development assistance more efficient, the Commission proposes that assistance should be more concentrated, with a stronger focus at regional level, more efficient use of small-country allocations and greater use of budget support. The proposed concentration will facilitate donor coordination and avoid overlap or inconsistencies between those seeking to achieve common goals.

With a view to a more systematic application of the budget support instrument in its cooperation with the Pacific ACP countries, the EU plans to enter into a dialogue with the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) in order to share analyses, experience and studies.

Furthermore, the EU will proactively assist these countries in meeting the eligibility criteria for budget support, i.e.:

  • a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) or a national development strategy under preparation;
  • a stable macroeconomic framework which is either satisfactory or under reform;
  • transparent and sound public finance management.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Council Decision of 16 December 2008 on the signature and provisional application of the Interim Partnership Agreement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Pacific States, of the other part [COM(2008) 858 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The European Union and the Pacific States have agreed on the provisional application of the interim agreement providing for the establishment of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

In 2007 the regime of safeguard clauses concerning trade measures contained in the Cotonou Agreement expired as did the World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver covering that regime. In this context, the provisional application of this agreement aims at ensuring the stability of trade between the EU and the signatory States from the Pacific region.

The EPA mainly concerns trade in goods. It lays down the measures necessary to establish a free trade area and deals with questions concerning customs, the facilitation of trade, dispute settlement, the removal of technical barriers, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The agreement provides for the addition of new fields of cooperation when negotiations concerning the adoption of an enlarged EPA take place – in particular cooperation in development, fisheries, services and agriculture.

A regional policy partnership for the Horn of Africa

A regional policy partnership for the Horn of Africa

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A regional policy partnership for the Horn of Africa

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

A regional policy partnership for the Horn of Africa

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 October 2006 – Strategy for Africa: An EU regional political partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa [COM(2006) 601 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Horn of Africa, which consists of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, is one of the poorest and most conflict-prone regions in the world.

The importance of the Horn of Africa for the EU

The EU plays an important role in the Horn region, where it is the main provider of development and humanitarian assistance.

At the same time, the EU has an interest in the stability of the region. The Horn is embroiled in a regional system of insecurity in which conflicts and political crises feed into and fuel one another The crises in the border region between Eritrea and Ethiopia and in Somalia, together with the conflicts in Sudan and the north of Uganda, create instability and insecurity in the region. The instability is further reinforced by illegal migration and trafficking of arms and drugs, as well as refugee flows.

Nevertheless, the stability of this region is important for the EU in view of its proximity to the Red Sea, which is a crucial waterway for trade with Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest oil producer.

Regional dimension and dynamics

The major conflicts reflect the interconnections characterising the region. These are related to the fact that most of the borders are unstable and many are contested. In addition, this factor undermines relations between countries sharing a common border, with some States providing support to armed groups fighting in neighbouring States.

The crises in this region have several cross-cutting regional issues in common, i.e.

  • interdependence between insecurity, poverty and governance. The marginalisation of certain communities is reinforced by the warlords and the business community who benefit from war economies. In addition, authoritarianism, militarism and the interference of external powers contribute to instability and conflict;
  • religious fundamentalism has taken advantage of weak state institutions to spread. It is also strengthened by the grievances wrought by poverty and conflicts and the influence of extremist fundamentalist ideology;
  • migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are numerous throughout the region. These populations are not only a source of regional instability, but also vulnerable and easily exploited by traffickers and criminal networks;
  • proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) contribute to the presence of warlords, militias and criminal networks and also serve as an enabler of terrorism;
  • insecurity of border and peripheral areas;
  • competition for access to natural resources (such as water, timber, fish and fertile land), which are suffering from the consequences of desertification and climate change. In particular, access to limited water resources is of strategic importance. Specifically, five of the seven countries of the Horn share the Nile basin, which is at the centre of potential regional tensions;
  • structural food insecurity mostly affects nomadic pastoralists and agri-pastoralists. Depletion of the natural resources and degradation of pasture areas are potential causes of ethnic tensions and conflicts;
  • the high number of transhumant and cross-border pastoralists are communities which are often marginalised and alienated;
  • the demographic upsurge increases pressure on limited natural resources still further.

Work programme to improve the political stability of the region

The Commission proposes to enhance the partnership between the EU, the AU and regional organisations by means of the following measures:

  • enhancement of cooperation with the IGAD, focusing on three main areas: peace, security and governance; pastoralism and food security; and institutional development;
  • building Africa’s capacities for conflict prevention, mediation and deployment of military peacekeeping operations, with active participation of the AU;
  • fostering of regional integration in the countries of the Horn, in particular by integrating the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East Africa Community (EAC) in any long-term strategy to establish peace in the region;
  • supporting African efforts to monitor and improve governance.

In addition, the dialogue between the EU and the Horn must take account of key country-level strategic issues with potential regional ramifications, i.e.:

  • factoring into the dialogue of the interests of the supporters and opponents of the peace process in Sudan, with particular attention paid to the Darfur crisis;
  • putting cross-border state support for armed groups on the political agenda of the EU and the countries of the Horn;
  • finding solutions to border demarcation issues, particularly in relation to the Ethiopian/Eritrean border;
  • taking account of the role of Kenya and Djibouti in regional stability;
  • the participation of Somalia’s neighbouring countries in the Somali peace process, in which they can play a stabilising role;
  • taking account of the regional dimensions of the conflict in northern Uganda in the peace process.

Finally, regional cross-cutting and cross-border concerns should be addressed on the basis of three pillars:

  • improved governance and security, and enhanced dialogue between cultures;
  • enhanced development, trade, security and political participation, and improved management of migration and refugees and prevention of SALW proliferation;
  • improved programmes to address competition for natural resources.

An enabling environment for a successful partnership

The Commission proposes accompanying measures for the successful implementation of the partnership. These measures concern both the EU and the countries of the Horn of Africa.

In particular, the EU must:

  • promote information-sharing and consultation between EU Member States and EU institutions;
  • promote the International Partners Forum (IPF) as a forum for dialogue with IGAD;
  • facilitate political dialogue (Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement) with key actors, with a strong emphasis on regional issues;
  • tackle issues concerning the Horn of Africa with Egypt, the Arab Gulf States, the League of Arab States, and Central and East Africa;
  • enhance dialogue and coordination with the USA, Norway, Japan, Canada, Russia and China, as well as with the United Nations;
  • strengthen integration into development programmes of human and social rights and gender, demographic issues and the environment;
  • take account of regional and cross-cutting issues in EU strategies and programmes concerning the countries of the Horn region. In addition, the national and regional strategies of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2008-2013 must dovetail with the regional political partnership for the Horn.

For their part, the countries of the Horn must:

  • obtain a coordinated position among Member States, the IGAD Secretariat, regional players and civil society organisations;
  • be open to dialogue on key regional challenges and be engaged in identifying the drivers of change;
  • allocate adequate resources for the dialogue and the work programme;
  • address sources of conflict and promote cross-sectoral cooperation;
  • implement relevant institutional reforms.

The implementation of the partnership starts in 2007 and will be the subject of a joint review in the following two years.

Background

The regional political partnership proposed in this Communication builds on two strategies already being implemented by the EU: the European Consensus for Development and the EU-Africa Strategy. This partnership is in particular a test case for applying the EU-Africa strategy.

 

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Topics

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

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 17 October 2008 entitled The EU, Africa and China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation [COM(2008) 654 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission proposes a new tripartite approach to reinforce cooperation and dialogue between the European Union (EU), Africa and China. The Commission recognises that adding to bilateral partnerships in order to promote the stable and sustainable development of Africa is of mutual interest.

The EU, Africa and China should base this cooperation on common objectives, which are defined progressively and consistent with national and regional development strategies.

This new approach should lead to joint working on questions of development and increasing the effectiveness of aid. Sharing experience and good practice should contribute to this aim, in particular with regard to financial instruments, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Firstly, the partnership could concentrate on five priority objectives:

  • reinforcing security and support for peace-keeping operations;
  • developing affordable and sustainable infrastructures to reinforce interconnectivity and regional integration. The EU-Africa partnership for infrastructures (FR) could contribute to this objective;
  • protection of the environment and management of natural resources within a context of economic and commercial growth. The Commission proposes to cooperate with the African Union (AU) and African countries in order to promote sustainable management, technology transfers and investments;
  • the increase in agricultural production, the quality of production and food security, in particular with a view to meeting the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (FR).

The tripartite partnership is an extension of bilateral political dialogues between the African Union (AU), the EU and China, as well as dialogue between the EU and China. The partnership will be based on regular strategic dialogue as well as specific consultations.

The Commission proposes to establish a network of exchange and information between the competent national and regional authorities. Organising an annual coordination meeting of development partners should contribute to the evaluation of priorities for cooperation whilst integrating the initiatives of international organisations, funding providers and civil society.

Context

During the summit held in Lisbon in 2007, the heads of state and government of the EU and African countries adopted a new joint strategic partnership. This strategy provides a global framework for strengthening relations between the EU and Africa and an action plan for the period 2008-2010. The EU is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the first commercial partner for Africa. This partnership also aims to establish synergies with other partners and international funding providers.

Cooperation between China and Africa is mainly directed at commercial exchange, investment, infrastructure projects and aid in social domains and training. This partnership was reinforced by the adoption of a new strategy in 2006 during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Their respective methods for cooperation contribute to meeting the objectives of the partnership for development (MDGs) and the integration of Africa into the world economy.

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Document or Iniciative

Council Joint Action 2007/501/CFSP of 16 July 2007 on cooperation with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism in the framework of the implementation of the European Union counter-terrorism strategy.

Summary

This Joint Action offers the support of the European Union (EU) to the Member States of the African Union (AU). Its objective is to improve the organisation of the capacities of the Member States of the AU in the fight against terrorism and to strengthen cooperation, in particular through the exchange of information.

The EU undertakes to provide financial support to the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) with a view to improving the efficiency of the counter-terrorism arrangements of the African countries.

African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism

Since its creation in 2004, the ACSRT has been responsible for evaluating the terrorist threat in Africa and for promoting intra-African cooperation against terrorism. It deals more specifically with carrying out training measures, conducting studies, setting up databases for gathering, exchanging and analysing information, as well as for terrorism-related surveillance and alerts.

Project

The project consists in carrying out audit missions on national counter-terrorism arrangements and providing advice on reorganisation in the AU Member States. To achieve this, an action plan, drawn up by the EU, will be presented at the next seminar in Addis Ababa.

This seminar will bring together two representatives from the 53 countries of the AU, Morocco, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the ACSRT and each EU Member State, as well as the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator.

At the close of the seminar, the African States will declare whether they wish to receive an audit mission or not. The audit teams will be made up of two specialists from the EU Member States and one member of the ACSRT and will be responsible for drawing up reports containing recommendations. If they are accepted by the audited countries, the latter will implement them, with monitoring by the ACSRT.

In parallel, the evaluations recording the possible improvements are forwarded to the ACSRT, which in turn sends them to the Council for communication to the Member States. On the basis of these evaluations, the ACSRT, with the agreement of the EU, can make recommendations to the audited countries.

Implementation

The Presidency, assisted by the Secretary-General of the Council/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), is responsible for the implementation of this Joint Action.

The ACSRT is responsible for:

  • the technical implementation of the project;
  • the organisation of the Addis Ababa seminar;
  • contact with the States which have accepted the action plan;
  • proper management of the audit missions in operational and financial terms;
  • coordination of the project;
  • drawing up regular project evaluation reports.

The Council and the Commission ensure consistency between the implementation of this Joint Action and other external activities of the Community.

Terms and conditions

The project implementation budget amounts to EUR 665 000. The Commission is responsible for supervising the proper management of expenditure, supplying the information relating to the financial aspects, concluding a financing agreement with the ACSRT and informing the Council of any difficulties.

The Joint Action enters into force on the day of its adoption and expires 18 months after the conclusion of the financing agreement or on 16 July 2008, if no agreement has been concluded before that date.

Background

This Joint Action is part of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, the EU’s strategy for Africa, the Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa and the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, signed in Algiers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Joint Action 2007/501/CFSP 16.7.2007 OJ L 185 of 17.7.2007

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Topics

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

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-18)

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 27 November 2009 on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) [Official Journal C 311 of 19.12.2009].

Summary

For Europe to attain the objectives regarding growth and jobs set by the Lisbon strategy, it is imperative that its young men and women are socially as well as professionally well integrated. Such integration also promotes young people’s personal fulfilment, social cohesion and active citizenship. However, young people still face challenges in terms of employment, education and training, poverty, health, and participation and democratic representation. Therefore, a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field has been designed to provide better opportunities for Europe’s young people.

This renewed framework is based on the Commission’s communication of April 2009 on the new European Union (EU) Youth Strategy. It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of European cooperation by establishing a strategy for the next decade that builds on the progress made and lessons learned under the previous framework.

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18 is motivated by two interrelated objectives:

  • the creation of more and equal opportunities in education and the labour market;
  • the promotion of active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity.

To this end, specific initiatives targeting young people and mainstreaming initiatives to incorporate youth issues into other policy areas are developed and promoted. The renewed framework outlines eight fields of action in which cross-sectoral initiatives to support young people should be taken:

  • education and training;
  • employment and entrepreneurship;
  • health and well-being;
  • participation;
  • voluntary activities;
  • social inclusion;
  • youth and the world;
  • creativity and culture.

European cooperation in the youth field must uphold a number of guiding principles, particularly:

  • promote gender equality;
  • combat all forms of discrimination;
  • consider differences between young people, especially in terms of disadvantage;
  • provide for the participation of young people in policy-making.

European cooperation should be evidence-based, relevant and concrete with clear and visible results that are regularly presented, reviewed and disseminated. It should be applied through a renewed framework of open method of coordination. This requires political commitment from EU countries and working methods based on:

  • a series of 3-year work cycles (the first cycle covers the years 2010-12);
  • an overall thematic priority for each trio presidency and specific priorities for each presidency country contributing to the overall thematic priority (the priorities for the period from 2010 to mid-2011 are set out in the annex to the resolution);
  • implementation instruments (knowledge building, mutual learning, progress reporting, dissemination of results, monitoring of the process, dialogue with young people, mobilisation of EU programmes and funds).

Within this renewed framework for European cooperation, the role of youth work must be strengthened. It should be supported and recognised for its social as well as economic contribution. The discussion should focus on the training, recognition of skills and mobility of youth workers and leaders, as well as on the promotion of innovative solutions in youth work.

Role of EU countries and the Commission

EU countries are called upon to work together on the basis of this resolution, with a view to improving European cooperation in the youth field. They should adopt national level measures that contribute to achieving the objectives set for this cooperation.

The Commission is invited to work with EU countries as well as to support their cooperation within the framework. The Commission should monitor the achievement of the objectives, in relation to which it should establish a working group to review data on the situation of young people and evaluate the need to develop new indicators for fields related to youth. The Commission should also propose peer-learning activities and initiate relevant studies.

Background

Established in June 2002, the framework for European cooperation in the youth field provided for the application of the open method of coordination in this context as well as for the mainstreaming of youth issues into other relevant policy areas. The European Youth Pact was adopted in March 2005 to contribute to reaching the objectives of growth and jobs of the Lisbon strategy. The renewed social agenda of July 2008 established children and youth as one of its main priority areas for action.

Youth in Action

Youth in Action

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

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

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

Summary

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

Objectives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actions

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

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

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

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

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

This action supports:

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

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

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

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

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

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

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

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

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

Implementation

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

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

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

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

Related Acts

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

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

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

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Topics

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

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Consolidating stability and achieving prosperity in the Western Balkans

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 27 January 2006: The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity [COM(2006) 27 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission presents an appraisal of the implementation of the Thessaloniki Agenda, adopted in 2003, by the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Western Balkans.

It also makes recommendations concerning the consolidation and continuation of progress, to be achieved on the basis of the stabilisation and association process and the Thessaloniki Agenda.

Such developments are likely to foster closer ties between the EU and these countries, particularly in relation to the European perspective.

Report on the implementation of the Thessaloniki Agenda

Most of the commitments made in relation to the Thessaloniki Agenda have been fulfilled, by both the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans.

Political dialogue and cooperation on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) have been consolidated, in particular with regard to the alignment of the countries in the region on the common positions, approaches and declarations under the CFSP. An EU-Western Balkans political forum has been established and bilateral political dialogues have been extended to all countries in the Western Balkans.

The EU supports the strengthening of the institutions and the development of the economic and commercial structures in the countries of the region, in particular by encouraging their participation in Community programmes and agencies, and in the European Charter for Small Enterprises and the development of preferential trade measures. A dialogue between the Commission and each of the countries in the Western Balkans on economic issues is pursued on a regular basis.

Progress has also been achieved in the fields of justice, freedom and security, mainly thanks to Community support.

The EU pursues its peacekeeping and conflict-prevention missions in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the CFSP and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). It also actively supports the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (MINUK) and cooperates closely with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.

However, further efforts are still needed on matters concerning the return of refugees, reconciliation through education and, more generally, social and cultural development. Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is also still of fundamental importance.

Considerable progress still to be made

The Commission underlines the need to support trade and investment and also economic and social development. In this context, the reform process already under way to ensure the proper functioning of the markets and of competitiveness provides the basis for, and a necessary complement to, economic and political stability. Economic and commercial integration depends in particular on:

  • the negotiation of stabilisation and association agreements (SAA) and the autonomous trade measures applied by the EU to imports from the region;
  • the creation of a zone of diagonal cumulation of origin between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans which have concluded an SAA;
  • the development of regional commercial integration;
  • the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO);
  • the participation of the countries of the Western Balkans in calls for tender organised within the framework of the pre-accession instruments;
  • support for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • the promotion of social integration and employment, and also of social dialogue and the fight against exclusion.

The citizens of the Western Balkan countries, with the exception of Croatia, must have a visa to enter EU territory. The Commission plans to present draft mandates to the Council in 2006 for the negotiation of facilitation agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans. The agreements will be linked to the conclusion of readmission agreements with the same countries.

Furthermore, specific measures encourage exchanges for students and researchers from third countries, including two Directives dating from December 2004 and October 2005.

The Commission wishes to familiarise the people and institutions of the Western Balkans with the European agenda.

For instance, participation in Community programmes and agencies should foster the further integration of this region into the EU and the exchange of know-how and good practices.

It is essential for the administrative authorities to be prepared for European integration in terms of administrative and legal capacity in order for them to conform rapidly with Community legislation. Provision for this is made by twinning (the secondment of experts and advisers from the Member States to the administrative authorities of the countries concerned for a long period), through the support provided by the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX) or under the customs and fiscal assistance programmes (CAFAO).

Various international players show wide-ranging commitment to regional cooperation through, for example, structures such as the Stability Pact. Although there has been some progress, regional cooperation challenges still need to be met in European policy fields in which the Western Balkan countries are becoming progressively involved, namely:

  • justice, freedom and security. The fight against organised crime and border management are dealt with as priorities, particularly through the consolidation of the cross-border cooperation capacity of police and customs, and through the enhancement of regional prosecutor cooperation in organised crime cases and corruption-related crimes;
  • parliamentary cooperation;
  • energy. The Treaty between the EU and the partner countries of the region establishing the Energy Community was signed in October 2005. It provides a single framework for regulating energy with the aim of fostering energy networks involving the countries of the region and other international partners;
  • cooperation on land and air transport;
  • the environment. The countries in the region are part of the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme, currently being developed, and of the Balkan Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (BERCEN);
  • the protection and defence of cultural heritage.

The Commission proposes widening the civil society dialogue to include all the countries of the Western Balkans, thus going beyond the civil society dialogue proposed for the candidate countries (European Council of December 2004 and Communication (2005) 290 final of 29 June 2005). The EU therefore proposes in-depth political and cultural dialogue with the countries of the region, involving the active participation of civil society.

Background

Issues of fundamental importance for the future of the region are still to be settled, such as the status of Kosovo and the constitutional reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Topics

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

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [Official Journal C 168 of 13.7.2002].

Summary

Adopting the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”, the Commission suggested a new framework of European cooperation in the youth field, comprising two strands: firstly, the application of the open method of coordination and, secondly, taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies. This resolution follows on from this White Paper by setting the priorities and the timetable for the European Union’s (EU) work up until 2004 in the field of “youth”.

For cooperation based on the open method of coordination

In the updated cooperation framework, based in particular on the open method of coordination, the Council is proposing four priority themes:

  • encouraging young people’s participation in the exercise of active citizenship and civil society. This means supporting the work of youth associations and other forms of active participation in order to improve young people’s participation and social cohesion. The exchange of good practices is essential here;
  • enhancing the information addressed to young people and existing information services for young people (successive reports deal with participation and information together);
  • promoting voluntary activities among young people. Making it easier for young people to find voluntary work so as to develop their sense of responsibility and citizenship and their active participation in society. Public authorities, businesses and civil society are called on to recognise the value of voluntary work so as to improve young people’s opportunities on the labour market;
  • encouraging greater understanding and knowledge of youth. This comprises, in particular, the compilation of studies on youth matters and the networking of research structures.

On the basis of these four priorities, the Commission will be sending targeted questionnaires to EU countries from July 2002 onwards. EU countries’ answers should be based on consultation with young people, youth associations and, where applicable, national youth councils or similar organisations. The Commission will then draw up reports in order to identify good practices of common interest for EU countries and proposals for common objectives to be adopted by the Council.

For their part, EU countries are called on to implement the measures they judge appropriate in order to achieve the common objectives set by the Council.

Taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies

The Council calls on the Commission and EU countries to give the “youth” dimension greater priority in other policies and programmes. The Council, in cooperation with the Commission, reserves the right to add to the priority areas stated in the White Paper (education and lifelong learning, mobility, employment and social integration, combating racism and xenophobia and other priorities).

UPDATED FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

The new framework for cooperation is updated by the resolution adopted by the Council on 24 November 2005. This framework for cooperation comprises three strands:

Promoting active citizenship among young people

The open method of coordination in the field of youth allows EU countries to cooperate with a view to sharing best practice on participation by young people, information for young people, voluntary activities and a greater knowledge of the field of youth, while respecting the areas of responsibility set out in the Treaties.

The European Pact for Youth

The European Pact highlights youth issues in key areas of the Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs, particularly in relation to young people’s access to the labour market, development of their creativity and the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills. The European Pact also highlights skills acquired through high-quality, relevant education, training and mobility experiences in the formal as well as the non-formal sector, and reconciliation of working life and family life.

Incorporating a youth dimension

Incorporating a youth dimension in other European policies will concern in particular anti-discrimination, healthy lifestyles, including sport, and research on youth issues.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 25 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].