Tag Archives: Drafting of Community law

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

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Internal market > Single market for services

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

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 23 March 2011 – “Reform of the EU State Aid Rules on Services of General Economic Interest” [COM(2011) 146 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Context

The package on State aid for Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) is set to be revised. The current package includes a number of measures adopted in 2005, in particular the SGEI Decision and the SGEI Framework, in which the Commission clarified the application of Articles 106 and 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (on State aid) to compensation for SGEI.

In its communication “Towards a Single Market Act”, the Commission undertook to adopt, by 2011, a communication and a series of measures on services of general interest. The Commission has emphasised that the EU and its member countries must ensure that public services are easier to operate at the appropriate level, adhere to clear financing rules, are of the highest quality and are accessible to everyone. EU competition rules only apply to those services of general interest that are “economic” in nature.

Review of the SGEI State aid rules

The overall objective of the proposed reform of the State aid rules for SGEI is to increase the contribution that SGEI can make to the wider EU economic recovery. EU countries need to guarantee certain services at affordable conditions to their citizens, such as hospitals, education, social services, communications and transport.

In accordance with the requirements of the SGEI Decision and the SGEI Framework, the Commission has conducted a wide consultation. This included asking EU countries to report on the application of the current package on SGEI as well as launching a public consultation. Overall the consultation process concluded that the introduction of the current package on SGEI was generally welcomed and that the existing legal instruments have made a positive contribution to the overall objective of legal certainty. The consultation also, however, demonstrated the need for improvement; in particular, the need for clearer, simpler, more proportionate and more effective instruments to ensure an easier application of the rules. To achieve this, the Commission is considering basing the upcoming reform on the two key principles of clarification and a diversified and proportionate approach.

To ensure an improved clarity, the Commission is considering providing further guidance on core issues in the field of State aid rules for SGEI. Insofar as concepts are defined by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as interpreted by the Courts, the Commission’s role is limited to providing guidance on how it understands the TFEU and the case law. The Commission considers giving guidance, inter alia, on:

  • the distinction between economic and non-economic activities under State aid rules and the qualification of certain entities as undertakings;
  • the limits that State aid rules impose on EU countries when defining an economic activity as an SGEI;
  • the conditions under which compensation for certain SGEI provided at local level affects trade between EU countries, thereby falling within the scope of State aid rules;
  • the requirements which public authorities have to follow under State aid rules when they entrust an undertaking with the performance of an SGEI;
  • the conditions under which compensation for SGEI does not involve State aid because the tender selects the provider at the least cost for the community or because the price charged is in line with that of an efficient and “well-run” undertaking (these two alternatives derive from the European Court of Justice’s Altmark judgment);
  • how to increase convergence between the application of State aid and public procurement rules;
  • the interplay between the rules of the package and other sector specific SGEI rules.

The current package on SGEI already distinguishes different levels of scrutiny. In a diversified and proportionate approach, the Commission is planning to differentiate to an even larger extent between different types of services depending on the extent to which State aid in these economic sectors poses a serious risk of distorting competition. This would involve:

  • simplification of the application of the State aid rules for certain types of social services organised by local communities, which are particular in their financing structure and objectives and which only have a minor impact on intra-EU trade;
  • an increased emphasis on efficiency of large-scale commercial services entrusted with public service obligations, by taking into account the efficiency and quality levels of the SGEI provider in the compensation granted.

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

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

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

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

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

Document or Iniciative

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

Summary

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

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

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

Characteristics of the various transport networks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priority projects

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

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

References

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

25.8.2010

OJ L 204 of 5.8.2010

Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium

Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium

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Research and innovation > General framework

Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC)

th Community Research and Development Framework Programme.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 723/2009 of 25 June 2009 on the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

Summary

This Regulation establishes a single legal base aimed at facilitating the creation and use of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) by Member States and countries associated to the Community research framework programmes.. However, Member States will remain solely responsible for the design of infrastructure projects and for defining the main aspects such as statutes, statutory seat, etc. This legal framework shall only apply to infrastructures of pan-European interest.

The activities of the ERIC shall be non-profit-making in order to prevent distortions of competition. However, an ERIC can carry out some limited economic activities as long they do not impede the main aim of the research infrastructure.

Research infrastructure created by ERIC under this regulation must respect the following conditions:

  • it must carry out European research activities;
  • it must represent added value in the scientific and technological fields at the European and international level;
  • it must be accessible to researchers from Member States and countries associated to the Community Research and Development Framework Programme;
  • promote the mobility of researchers and the exchange of knowledge within the European Research Area (ERA);
  • it must participate in the dissemination and optimisation of the results of research activities.

Applications for the setting up of an ERIC must be submitted to the Commission for assessment.

The application pack must include:

  • a request to the Commission to set up the ERIC;
  • the proposed Statutes (a list of members, statutory seat, name of the ERIC, rights and obligations of the members, bodies of the ERIC with their competences and the manner in which they are constituted and in which they decide, duration of the ERIC, basic principles, identification of the working language, references to rules implementing the Statutes;
  • a technical and scientific description (see conditions above);
  • an extract from the Statutes which contains the information listed in the Annex to the Regulation;
  • a declaration by the host Member State recognising the ERIC as an international body within the meaning of the Directives on VAT and excise duties.

Taking into account the results of the assessment and the opinions of Member States, the Commission shall adopt its decision and notify the applicant. If the creation of an ERIC is approved, the decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

During the assessment period applicants may be invited to complete or amend their application.

The ERIC which has legal personality must have its statutory seat in one of its members (Member State or country associated with the Community Framework Programme for Research).

Membership of an ERIC must comprise at least three Member States, and may include members from third countries and inter-governmental organisations.

An ERIC shall also be considered as an international body or organisation in the sense of the directives on value-added tax, on excise duties and on public procurement. It shall thus be exempted

from VAT and excise duties and its procurement procedures shall be out of the scope of the directive on public procurement.

The liability of the members for the debts of the ERIC is limited to their respective contributions.

The applicable law is firstly Community law, then the law of the State of the statutory seat or of the State of operation regarding certain safety and technical matters.

Five years after its adoption, the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of the legal framework through a panel of experts and shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council.

Context

This regulation is one of five strategic initiatives created following the ERA Green Paper, such as the Communication on Joint Programming in Research. This Regulation will facilitate the development of new pan-European research structures through an appropriate legal framework. This initiative contributes to the implementation of the “Research infrastructures” section of the specific programme “Capacities” under the 7th Framework Programme for Research.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 723/2009

28.8.2009

OJ L 206 of 8.8.2009

EU counter-terrorism policy

EU counter-terrorism policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU counter-terrorism policy

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Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

EU counter-terrorism policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 20 July 2010 – The EU Counter-Terrorism Policy: main achievements and future challenges [COM(2010) 386 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication presents the main European Union (EU) level legislative and policy developments, as well as some of the future challenges, in the field of counter-terrorism. It forms a preparatory step in the EU’s internal security strategy, building on the Stockholm Programme’s counter-terrorism related measures. The communication focuses on the four strands identified in the EU counter-terrorism strategy:

Prevent

The framework decision on combating terrorism is the main EU level legal instrument for dealing with terrorist offences. Amended in 2008, it now also harmonises national provisions relating to the prevention aspects of the fight against terrorism, including terrorist use of the internet. The Commission has also launched a dialogue with law enforcement authorities and service providers to counter terrorist use of the internet. To facilitate this kind of public/private partnerships, a European Agreement Model is currently being developed.

Of the several important policies the EU has adopted in recent years to combat radicalisation and recruitment, the specific EU strategy is a key instrument. Action and implementation plans were approved in 2009 to further the objectives of this strategy. The Commission’s contribution to work in this field has included its communication concerning terrorist recruitment and support for the production of a number of related studies. Furthermore, it has set up a European Network of Experts on Radicalisation (ENER) to facilitate dialogue between academics and policy makers.

In the future, the most effective ways to counter radicalisation and recruitment must be identified more accurately. The related national policies must be assessed, to which end the Commission will launch a communication in 2011, which will also serve as a basis for updating the EU strategy. More effective approaches must also be put in place to counter terrorist use of the internet, including further support to national law enforcement authorities.

Protect

Great efforts have been made in recent years to improve border security, including the introduction of new technologies in the development of the integrated border management system and of biometric passports. The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS) are currently being developed. Cyber security is dealt with in the framework decision on attacks against information systems and the action plan to protect critical information infrastructure. To improve transport security, especially regarding civil aviation and maritime transport, an extensive legislative framework has been established. In these two fields, the Commission also closely cooperates with national administrations on a system of inspections of airports and port facilities.

In 2008, an EU action plan for enhancing the security of explosives was approved. The Commission is also working on proposals for measures that aim at improving control of access to precursor substances used for preparing explosives. Several programmes have also been established to support the development of security and counter-terrorism policies, such as the security research programme (as part of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) and the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure (EPCIP). In relation to the latter, a directive on European critical infrastructures was adopted in 2008 as a first step in creating an EU-wide approach.

Future work must concentrate on improving transport security through the use of new technologies and on developing industrial security policy with focus on standardising and certifying security solutions. Efforts should also be made to ensure the effectiveness of security research policy, in particular by strengthening links between public sector users and the research community as well as technology providers and the industry.

Pursue

In recent years, several instruments relating to data gathering and exchanges have been adopted, such as the Data Retention Directive, the decision on stepping up cross-border cooperation and the framework decisions on simplifying the exchange of information between national law enforcement authorities and on the European evidence warrant. At the same time, improvements have been made to the functioning of Europol and to its cooperation with Eurojust.

The main legislative instrument dealing with the financing of terrorism is the directive on money laundering adopted in 2005. The same year, a regulation on controls of cash entering or leaving the EU was also adopted. There are also non-legislative measures to counter terrorist financing, such as the voluntary guidelines to address non-profit organisations’ vulnerability to abuse for terrorist financing purposes.

An assessment of the new legal instruments for exchanging information is currently underway and will be presented in a separate communication. The need for EU legislation on investigation techniques will also be assessed. In addition, there is the need to establish a methodology based on common parameters for threat assessments at EU level in order to ensure that counter-terrorism policy is adequately supported by evidence.

Respond

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is the main instrument for responding to terrorist attacks. Additional EU level mechanisms include the Crisis Coordination Arrangements (CCA) and the ARGUS system, which aim at coordinating responses to crises. Europol also supports coordinated responses to terrorist incidents through its information exchange mechanisms.

The EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security was adopted in 2009, with a view to better preparing and responding to incidents in which terrorists would obtain such materials. The Commission also provides support to victims of terrorist attacks, including financial support.

The EU civil protection policy is currently being evaluated to better prepare for the follow-up actions. An assessment of ways to reinforce coordination and cooperation to facilitate consular protection during crises is also underway. Furthermore, it is essential that the EU rapid response capacity be further developed on the basis of existing instruments.

Horizontal issues

The EU counter-terrorism strategy also includes horizontal issues that are relevant for its implementation:

  • respect for fundamental rights – the tools used to fight terrorism must comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
  • cooperation with external partners – cooperation should be further developed through international organisations, such as the United Nations, and with non-EU countries, particularly the United States;
  • funding – the multi-annual financial frameworks (currently the Security and Safeguarding Liberties Programme) provide funding for counter-terrorism; the feasibility of creating an Internal Security Fund will be examined in future.

Self-employed workers: equal treatment between men and women

Self-employed workers: equal treatment between men and women

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Self-employed workers: equal treatment between men and women

Topics

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Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Self-employed workers: equal treatment between men and women

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC.

Summary

The principle of equal treatment between men and women prohibits all forms of discrimination based on sex, whether direct * or indirect * discrimination. This principle must be complied with when establishing, equipping or extending a business, as well as when launching or extending any other form of self-employed activity.

Harassment * and sexual harassment * are deemed to be discrimination on grounds of sex.

This Directive enables European Union (EU) countries to adopt positive action measures. Such public measures are aimed at ensuring full equality between men and women in working life, for example by promoting business creation by women.

Couples with a joint business

In this area, the principle of equal treatment between men and women means that spouses or life partners who establish a business together, shall be treated under the same conditions as other persons.

In addition, where a national social protection system exists for self-employed workers, the spouses or life partners who participate in the activities of the self-employed worker have the right to social protection in their own name. Member States may decide whether the social protection is implemented on a mandatory or voluntary basis.

Maternity rights

Self-employed women, and female spouses or life partners who contribute to the activity of self-employed workers shall be entitled to a maternity allowance for at least 14 weeks. This allowance shall be sufficient to enable them to interrupt their activities if they wish to do so. This allocation shall therefore be equivalent to:

  • the average loss of income or profit. This amount may however be subject to a ceiling limit; and/or
  • the allowance provided at national level in the event of an interruption in activities on health grounds; and/or
  • any other family-related allowance provided for and determined by the EU country.

During the interruption in their activities due to maternity, women shall have access to replacement services and national social services. The provision of these services may replace all or a part of the maternity allowance.

Context

The former Directive 86/613/EEC shall be repealed on 5 August 2012. The current Directive shall have been transposed in all EU countries by this date.

Other directives protect the equal treatment of self-employed workers, such as Directive 2006/54/EC applicable to working life, Directive 79/7/EEC applicable to social security matters and Directive 2004/113/EC which covers access to private/public goods and services.

Key terms
  • Self-employed workers: all persons pursuing a gainful activity for their own account, under the conditions laid down by national law, including farmers and the professions.
  • Spouses of self-employed workers or, when and in so far as recognised by national law, the life partners of self-employed workers, not being employees or business partners, where they habitually, under the conditions laid down by national law, participate in the activities of the self-employed worker and perform the same tasks or ancillary tasks.
  • Direct discrimination: where one person is treated less favourably on grounds of sex.
  • Indirect discrimination: where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of one sex at a particular disadvantage. Unless the difference in treatment is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
  • Harassment: where unwanted conduct related to the sex of a person occurs with the purpose, or effect, of violating the dignity of that person, and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
  • Sexual harassment: where unwanted verbal, non-verbal, or physical, conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

References

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

Directive 2010/41/EU

4.8.2010

5.8.2012

OJ L 180 of 15.7.2010

Civil Protection Mechanism

Civil Protection Mechanism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Civil Protection Mechanism

Topics

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

Humanitarian aid

Civil Protection Mechanism

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom of 8 November 2007 establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism (recast).

Summary

A cooperation mechanism is set up to improve the coordination of civil protection assistance intervention in major emergencies. Such cases may arise from a natural, technological, radiological or environmental disaster, including accidental marine pollution, or from a terrorist act, occurring or threatening to occur inside or outside the European Union (EU).

The mechanism is based on a series of elements and actions, including:

  • compiling an inventory of assistance and intervention teams available in EU countries;
  • establishing a training programme for members of such teams;
  • launching workshops, seminars and pilot projects on the main aspects of interventions;
  • setting up assessment and coordination teams;
  • establishing a Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) and a common communication and information system;
  • establishing a Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS) between the MIC and EU countries’ contact points;
  • helping to develop detection and early warning systems;
  • facilitating access to equipment and transport by providing information on the resources available from EU countries and identifying resources available from other sources;
  • making additional transport resources available.

Preparing for emergencies

In order to establish this mechanism, EU countries must in particular:

  • identify the teams available for intervention within 12 hours following a request for assistance;
  • select experts who can be called upon to take part in an assessment or coordination team;
  • develop interoperable intervention modules employing the resources of one or more EU countries, which are able to carry out missions in case of emergencies;
  • examine the possibility of providing additional specialised assistance should a particular emergency occur;
  • provide all relevant information for setting up the mechanism, not later than six months after the adoption of this decision;
  • designate the competent authorities and contact points for implementing this decision.

Furthermore, if they so wish, EU countries may provide information on the availability of military resources in their response to requests for assistance.

For its part, the European Commission assumes responsibility for setting up and managing the MIC, the CECIS and the training programme for intervention teams. It will mobilise and send small teams of experts to the site of the emergency to assess the needs and, if necessary, to help coordinate operations there. It will also introduce a programme of lessons learned from interventions and disseminate these lessons throughout the information system, as well as collect and centralise information on national medical resource availability.

Information on the national civil protection capabilities available for assistance interventions is compiled in a database. This includes the contents of the military database, compiled by the EU Military Staff (EUMS), giving it a broad picture of all resources available to manage the consequences of disasters.

Responding to emergencies

The operational heart of the mechanism is the MIC, which is based at the European Commission in Brussels. Through the MIC, which is accessible 24 hours a day, the Commission can facilitate the mobilisation of civil protection resources from EU countries in the event of an emergency.

Any participating country affected by or at risk of being affected by a major disaster – inside or outside the EU – can request assistance from an EU country directly or through the MIC. The MIC then immediately forwards the request to the network of national contact points. They inform the MIC whether they are in a position to offer assistance. The MIC then compiles the responses and informs the requesting country of the available assistance. The affected country selects the assistance it needs and establishes contact with the assisting countries. The MIC can also offer technical support, including improved access to satellite images, and acts as an information centre, collecting data and distributing regular updates to all participating countries.

While the requesting country is responsible for supervising the assistance operations, it is up to the country offering the assistance to appoint someone responsible for the implementation details of the operation. The requesting country can delegate the supervision of the operations to the intervention teams who must then coordinate their actions, if necessary with the support of the experts from the assessment and/or coordination teams.

In the case of an assistance intervention in a non-EU country, the Council Presidency is responsible for the political and strategic coordination of the operations, while the Commission retains its role as operational coordinator. Operational coordination involves in particular the task of facilitating dialogue and contact with the national contact points, the non-EU country affected and other relevant actors such as the services of the United Nations (UN). In addition, the UN is responsible for overall coordination of the operations when it is providing services at the scene of the emergency.

Candidate countries for EU accession and non-EU countries can participate in the mechanism. Today, 30 countries – the EU-27, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – participate in the mechanism, which is funded on a year-by-year basis.

The Commission submits a report on the implementation of this decision every three years.

Background

In January 2006, the Commission proposed to reinforce the existing European Civil Protection Mechanism on the basis of past experience and to provide a suitable legal basis for future action in this area. This reinforcement is designed to deal with the increase in frequency and seriousness of natural and man-made disasters.

This cooperation instrument, resulting from the above Commission proposal, replaces the mechanism for assistance interventions established by Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom, repealed by this decision.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom

8.11.2007

OJ L 314 of 1.12.2007

Related Acts


Council Decision 2007/162/EC, Euratom of 5 March 2007 establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument [Official Journal L 71 of 10.3.2007].


The EU has an instrument that enables it to fund activities aimed at preventive action, preparedness and an effective response, particularly those carried out under the existing mechanism. This financial instrument covers the 2007-13 period and replaces the Community action programme in favour of civil protection, established by Council Decision 1999/847/EC.

Commission Decision 2004/277/EC, Euratom of 29 December 2003 laying down rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions [Official Journal L 87 of 25.3.2004].

Council Resolution of 22 December 2003 on strengthening Community cooperation in the field of civil protection research [Official Journal C 8 of 13.1.2004].
The Council encourages the development of research projects on the reduction of natural and technological risks and on mitigating their consequences. It also encourages research institutes and other relevant entities to establish common objectives for preventing and reacting to natural or technological risks.

Council Resolution of 19 December 2002 on special civil protection assistance to outermost and isolated regions, to insular regions, to regions which are not easily accessible, and to sparsely populated regions, in the European Union [Official Journal C 24 of 31.1.2003].
The Council considers that outermost, isolated, distant insular and sparsely populated regions should benefit from measures suited to their individual situations. In particular, it encourages joint projects between regions with similar characteristics and the taking into consideration of these characteristics when planning responses to emergency situations, setting up specialised intervention teams and developing effective, reliable and adapted communication systems.

Council Resolution of 28 January 2002 on reinforcing cooperation in the field of civil protection training [Official Journal C 43 of 16.2.2002].
The Council invites the Commission to look at any initiatives supporting the creation of a network of schools and training centres active in the field of civil protection and to give financial support to this initiative and involve the candidate countries in its work. The Commission is also invited to consider the possibility of creating a European civil protection college to perpetuate such cooperation.