Tag Archives: Dialogue

Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities

Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities

Topics

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

Regional policy > Management of regional policy

Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 19 December 2003 – Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities on the formulation of European Union policy [COM(2003) 811 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Since enlargement, the European Union now comprises some 250 regions and 1000 regional and local authorities. The Commission is establishing systematic dialogue with the European and national associations representing them. This more political and more structured dialogue will complement the other forms of consultation provided for in the Nice Treaty (Articles 137 to 139) establishing the European Community and in the specific Commission communication of December 2002 [COM(2002) 704 final]. Its aim is to involve local and regional actors, responsible for implementing Community policies, so that account will be taken of their opinions as far upstream as possible in the decision-making process.

When will this systematic dialogue take place?

The dialogue will take place prior to the formal decision-making process on two separate occasions:

  • the presentation of the Commission’s work programme.
    The Commission is intending to organise an annual meeting at the highest political level between the Commission President and/or Vice-Presidents and the representatives of the associations of regional and local authorities. The dialogue will cover the guidelines for European Union action;
  • the launch of major policy initiatives with a significant territorial impact.
    These meetings with members of the Commission could be held annually if the timetable of initiatives justifies it.

The Commission will set the date of the meetings six weeks in advance and make the necessary documents available to the associations.

Dialogue will strengthen the Committee of the Regions’ role of intermediary

The Commission regards this new dialogue as an opportunity for establishing closer links between the Committee of the Regions and the regional and local authorities which it represents. Concluded in Brussels on 20 September 2001, the cooperation protocol on the cooperation arrangements between the Commission and the Committee of the Regions recognises the role of intermediary of the consultation body.

The Committee of the Regions is best placed to assist the Commission in identifying the participants in the dialogue. For each planned meeting it will provide an indicative list of European and national associations relevant for the topics considered. Lastly, the Commission decides on the participants. It reserves the right to invite other organisations of its choice.

The Committee of the Regions, in cooperation with the associations of regional and local authorities, will lay down the selection criteria for participating in the dialogue. The organisations involved will be representative of the various levels of regional and local authorities directly affected by the policies being discussed, able to demonstrate their experience and level of expertise, capable of delivering a jointly produced opinion and in a position to pass on to their members the Commission’s proposals and guidelines.

What is the justification for the systematic dialogue?

Ad hoc contacts exist already between the Commission and the local and regional authorities, both directly and through their associations. In response to the commitment given in the White Paper on European Governance, the Commission wishes to make this dialogue systematic. The following principles justify the need to involve the regional and local authorities in the formulation of European policies:

  • Openness
    Improved information and ownership of the Community’s policy position are needed. Since they are democratically elected and close to the ground, the regional and local authorities are well placed to provide the citizen with information.
  • Participation
    The White Paper on governance affirms the need for the European and national associations of regional and local authorities to be involved with due regard for the institutional architecture of the Union and the Member States’ internal organisation.
  • Coherence
    The Commission acknowledges the need for better assessment of the impact at regional and local level of Community policies in areas such as transport, energy and the environment. Analysing the impact of measures proposed at Community level will contribute to informing the different actors of the effects of these measures and guide them in their implementation tasks.
  • Effectiveness
    Some Community policies are implemented and/or have the greatest effect at regional and local level. Local government authorities are ideally placed therefore to assess the coherence and effectiveness of Community policies.

Governance in the consensus on development

Governance in the consensus on development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Governance in the consensus on development

Topics

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

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Governance in the consensus on development

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 30 August 2006 – Governance in the European consensus on development – Towards a harmonised approach within the European Union [COM(2006) 421 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Within the framework of the European consensus on development, which stressed the importance of integrating the concept of democratic governance into every sectoral programme, the Commission is proposing to the European Union (EU) a common approach to governance.

New approach

The Commission underlines the importance of approaching governance from a wider angle, taking into account all its dimensions (political, economic, environmental and social). Good governance means more than tackling corruption; it includes such things as access to health, education and justice, pluralism in the media, the functioning of parliament and the management of public accounts and natural resources.

In order to encourage developing countries to step up their efforts to reform, the approach proposed by the Commission is based on political dialogue, respect for the undertaking of reform by governments and the citizens of partner countries, and incentives. The identification of reforms and support measures that are suitable for each country requires an evaluation of governance in the country concerned. This evaluation is carried out using a participatory approach that encourages local players (such as the government and civil society) to develop their own analytical tools and skills.

Assuming that conditions for suitable democratic control, financial management and institutional development have been created, budgetary assistance helps to strengthen governance and institutions at central and local level. The Commission underlines its increased use and the fact that this makes it possible to tackle the problems of lack of political legitimacy and the capacities which characterise several developing countries, fragile States in particular.

The effectiveness of this new approach is dependent on the capacity of donors to act in a coordinated and harmonised manner, with respect to governance analysis tools and response strategies in particular. Within this context, Member States and the Commission have made progress towards common programming and have drawn up a code of conduct on complementarity and the division of labour.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

Governance is already included in the regular political dialogue with ACP countries, and support for this will be stepped up. When the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was being programmed, the sum of €870 million (or 10% of all programmable funding) was granted for projects in this field. In addition, under the 10th EDF €3 billion will be set aside for incentives, divided between national funding (2.7 billion) and a regional fund (300 million). Country access to this reserve is dependent on the outcome of a dialogue with the Commission concerning its own governance plan. In this context, a governance profile will be created for each country.

Moreover, governance will be integrated as a cross-cutting theme in all sectors of cooperation. This will be accompanied by the creation of new ways of taking into account the new provisions of the Cotonou agreement and the regional strategies adopted for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

In Africa, governance has also been mainstreamed in dialogue and cooperation between the Pan-African institutions and the EU. The Commission is proposing increased support for the institutions of the African Union and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Other developing countries

The EU supports the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance in all other developing countries, according to strategies based on the specific features of each region.

In cooperation with countries covered by the neighbourhood policy, priority areas for financial assistance from the EU are selected on the basis of action plans focused on governance and adopted jointly with the countries concerned. Progress made in the various areas of governance is regularly monitored. Moreover, governance is supported by cooperation mechanisms such as twinning, TAIEX and the SIGMA initiative, which were originally developed for the purposes of enlargement. Additional support for the promotion of political and economic reforms in these countries is now offered by the new “Governance” facility.

In a 2005 Communication, the Commission undertook to support governance in Latin America. It therefore intends to continue to support the modernisation of government in the region, using an approach tailored to the needs of individual countries, which vary according to their stability. The Commission will continue, moreover, to support regional integration which, since it involves establishing and complying with common rules, is a powerful vector for good governance in economic and trade matters.

In Asia, the EU will continue its dialogue with China and India. Political dialogue at regional and bilateral levels with the countries of in central Asia is bolstered by the presence of a special rapporteur on democratic governance. Moreover, governance features in the cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the informal dialogues of the Asia-Europe meetings (ASEM). In the programming for the period 2007-2013, governance is a cross-cutting issue in all cooperation activities in the countries of the region and also a focal sector in the cooperation with several of them.

Associated Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 October 2003: Governance and development [COM(2003) 615 final- Not published in the Official Journal].

Justice Forum

Justice Forum

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Justice Forum

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Justice Forum

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 4 February 2008 on the creation of a Forum for discussing EU justice policies and practice [COM(2008) 38 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Forum aims to:

  • contribute to dialogue between practitioners by providing a permanent platform. The aim is to facilitate exchanges of views, improve mutual understanding, gradually build up a common judicial culture and strengthen mutual trust between the stakeholders in the field of civil and criminal justice;
  • collect data and establish best practice. This can be encouraged by means of European funding;
  • consult practitioners early, i.e. at the stage of European justice policy design. The Forum will provide views on specific action being planned at European Union (EU) level in this field;
  • draw up views on the overall functioning of European judicial cooperation;
  • assist the Commission in drawing up its evaluation report on the application of EU measures in domestic legislation. In particular, the Forum provides it with assistance in its task of assessing the transposition of these measures by Member States;
  • evaluate European policies. This involves assessing the impact of a measure by ensuring that it has achieved its specific objective and contributed to one of the overall objectives associated with the area of freedom, security and justice. It also aims to identify unforeseen consequences of any such measure;
  • contribute to setting up compatible justice statistics. The Forum has the role of participating in the Commission’s work by giving its opinion on the statistical methods and the data gathered;
  • take part in the procedure for selecting the winner of the “Crystal Scales of Justice” prize awarded for innovative practice to promote better operation of the system of civil justice. It may also participate in another two-yearly prize which the Commission is considering in respect of criminal justice.

The Forum comprises representatives of:

  • the Member States;
  • bodies set up by the EU: Eurojust, the European Judicial Network in criminal matters and the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters;
  • European organisations of various associations or professions: the Eurojustice conference, which brings together the Prosecutors-General, the European Judicial Training Network, the Network of Presidents of Supreme Courts of the European Union, the Association of the Councils of State, the European Judges and Prosecutors Association and the European Criminal Bar Association;
  • non-governmental organisations, such as MEDEL, JUSTICE, Amnesty International and the European Forum for Victim Services;
  • academic networks, such as the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN), the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP) and Eurodefensor.

The Forum consists of an annual plenary session and sub-groups. These sub-groups, which meet as often as necessary, are based on specific themes, such as access to legal aid or respect of fair trial rights.

A representative of the Council of Europe is associated with the Forum. In this respect, the Commission specifies that the Forum works in close partnership with one of the bodies of this organisation, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).

In addition, the Commission points out that it is considering setting up an Internet site to:

  • broadcast the Forum’s findings, work and studies;
  • form a platform for dialogue between the actors in the criminal justice system.

Background

The creation of this Forum is based on two findings by the Commission:

  • there is no platform for dialogue between practitioners or channel of communication recognised by the EU institutions for the design of legislation and the evaluation of measures taken by the EU;
  • judicial circles are in favour of setting up a Justice Forum.

Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate

Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate

Topics

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

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. “The Commission’s contribution to the period of reflection and beyond: Plan-D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate” [COM(2005) 494 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission’s Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate sets out a process aimed at encouraging wider debate on the future of the EU, between the EU institutions and citizens.

Objectives

A debate on the future of Europe should address the needs and expectations of citizens in order to maintain trust and involvement in representative democracy. Plan D is therefore about dialogue, debate and listening to citizens’ needs and expectations. It also seeks to encourage communication on the activities of the EU by addressing target audiences, (for example young people), and using mass media, like television and the internet, the latter as an interactive forum for political debate. A specific Eurobarometer survey on the future of Europe will be presented by the European Commission in order to learn from the concerns expressed by citizens.

Plan D should result in a new consensus on the European project and basically addresses two issues:

  • assisting national debates on the future of Europe;
  • presenting initiatives to strengthen dialogue, public debate and citizen participation.

Assisting national debates on the future of Europe

National debates should focus on examining and discussing the added value and benefits for citizens of concrete achievements and projects of the EU.

The European Commission emphasises its wish to assist Member States in the organisation of events aimed at raising the profile of citizen participation in these Europe-wide debates. Co-operation with other EU institutions and bodies as well as national, regional and local parliaments plays an important role in this respect.

Initiatives to strengthen dialogue, public debate and citizen’s participation

Plan D proposes 13 specific EU initiatives and actions in order to strengthen and stimulate dialogue, public debate and citizen’s participation. The European Commission is to play a significant role in these initiatives, in partnership with the other European institutions and bodies.

Specific EU actions include visits by commissioners to Member States and national parliaments, support for citizens’ projects, a drive for more openness over Council meetings, the creation of a network of “European Goodwill Ambassadors” to raise the profile of the European debate, as well as support for projects to increase voter participation.

Feedback process

A feedback process on the results of the national debates will take place in 2006 in order to let citizens’ participation have a direct impact on the political agenda of the EU. The feedback will take the form of a set of conclusions and an overall synthesis of the outcome of national debates, as well as the organisation of a European Conference on the future of Europe on 9 May 2006.

Background

After the rejection of the European Constitution by French and Dutch voters in June 2005, the Heads of State and Government called for a “period of reflection” in order to enable Member States to initiate national debates on the future of Europe. Plan D seeks to facilitate this process of national debate by putting in place a framework for dialogue and debate.

Plan D will be implemented in combination with an Action Plan ( ), adopted by the Commission on 20 July 2005, to improve communication about the future of Europe.

Related Acts

Action Plan of 20 July 2005 to improve communicating Europe by the Commission [SEC(2005) 985 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This fact sheet is not legally binding on the European Commission, it does not claim to be exhaustive and does not represent an official interpretation of the text of the Treaty.