Tag Archives: EC

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

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

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Economic partnership between Eastern and Southern Africa States

Document or Iniciative

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature and provisional application of the interim agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement between Eastern and Southern Africa States on the one part and the European Community and its Member States, on the other part.

Summary

The European Union and the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) States have agreed on the provisional application of the interim agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

When the interim agreement enters into force, five of the ESA countries, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe, will be covered by the guarantee of a harmonised trade regime. They will be listed in Council Regulation 1528/2007 on the application of regimes provided for under Economic Partnership Agreements. However, Zambia did not table a European Union market access offer. This State continues to benefit from the Everything But Arms (EBA) regime, that implies the total suspension of Common Customs Tariff duties for all products, with the exception of arms and munitions.

The signature of an EPA was made necessary by the expiry in 2007 of the regime provided for by the Cotonou Agreement, on the safeguard clauses relating to trade measures, as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) waiver covering that regime. The EPA covers many areas targeted by the Cotonou Agreement. It generates stability for trade until a comprehensive EPA has been concluded.

This agreement provides the measures necessary to establish a Free Trade Area compatible with WTO requirements. Several products have been excluded from this liberalisation in order to protect the most sensitive sectors or emerging industries in these States.

These provisions concern in particular:

  • rules of origin;
  • non-tariff measures;
  • trade defence measures;
  • trade dispute avoidance and settlement;
  • fisheries and development;
  • administrative and institutional cooperation.

The agreement is to be implemented in line with ESA development strategies, and the partners undertake to cooperate to strengthen the regional integration process of African countries. The scope of the interim agreement will be extended according to the results of negotiations concerning the comprehensive EPA.

An EPA committee made up of party representatives should be established and will be responsible for monitoring the matters covered by the agreement.

Context

The conclusion of this interim agreement took place in several stages. Agreements were signed on 28 November 2007 with Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe, on 4 December 2007 with Mauritius and on 11 December 2007 with Comoros and Madagascar. This agreement is open to participation from all other States in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

Negotiations with a view to concluding a comprehensive agreement have been continuing since 7 February 2004 with the ESA States, in line with the Directives adopted by the Council on 12 June 2002. Ministers from the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region and representatives of the Commission of the European Union, meeting in Brussels on 28 February 2007, gave joint conclusionson the state of these negotiations.

References And Procedure

Proposal

Official Journal

Procedure

COM(2008) 863 final

Related Act

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 23 October 2007 on Economic Partnership Agreements [COM(2007) 635 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Further information can be obtained from the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for External Trade.

EC type-approval system for motor vehicles

EC type-approval system for motor vehicles

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EC type-approval system for motor vehicles

Topics

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

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Technical implications of road safety

EC type-approval system for motor vehicles

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles.

Summary

The European Union (EU) is revising the system of EC type-approval for motor vehicles. The Directive retains (in revised form) the majority of the provisions of Directive 70/156/EEC and also introduces some entirely new concepts and requirements. It repeals and replaces Directive 70/156/EEC in order to have a clearer, more coherent text based on the principle of proportionality.

Scope

The requirement for EC type-approval for access to the internal market used to apply to private cars, motorcycles, mopeds and agricultural tractors. The European Union is extending this system to all categories of motor vehicles designed and constructed in one or more stages for use on the road and also to the systems, components and separate technical units designed and constructed for such vehicles. More precisely, the Directive is aimed at commercial vehicles (vans, lorries, semi-trailers, trailers), buses and coaches.

Type-approval system

The EC type-approval system is the only system in place for ensuring permanent monitoring of the conformity of output. Type-approval is based on the principle that manufacturers must issue a certificate of conformity for each vehicle manufactured, attesting that it conforms to the approved type. The manufacturer can opt for one of the following procedures: step-by-step type-approval *, single-step type-approval * or mixed type-approval *.

The Directive introduces a new EC type-approval method known as “multi-stage type-approval”. Each manufacturer involved in manufacturing a vehicle will fill in the part of the certificate relating to its own stage. The aim of this is to adapt the process to the specific nature of commercial vehicle manufacturing. The multi-stage procedure will generally involve two steps:

  • firstly, the initial manufacturer will obtain type-approval for a chassis (including the engine, wheels, shock absorbers, brakes, etc.) and a first EC type-approval certificate will be issued;
  • subsequently, the second manufacturer will assemble the bodywork and present the finished vehicle for type-approval. Where the same manufacturer is responsible for both chassis and bodywork, the vehicle may be type-approved using the time-honoured procedure for passenger cars.

The Directive is based on the principle of total harmonisation. EC type-approval procedures are compulsory and replace the national procedures with which they have co-existed up until now. The type-approval process is therefore noticeably simplified for manufacturers. It is enough for one Member State to type-approve a vehicle in order for all vehicles of that type to be registered throughout the Community solely on the basis of their certificate of conformity.

Improving road safety and environmental protection

The Directive aims to improve road safety by making a number of devices compulsory. These include ABS (anti-lock braking system), new and more effective rear-view mirrors (including the new front rear-view mirror), improved lights, side protection to prevent cyclists or pedestrians from being dragged under vehicles and anti-spray devices.

Furthermore, it lays down additional requirements for buses and coaches (emergency exits must be adapted to the number of people which the vehicle can hold, greater ease of access for persons with reduced mobility, sufficient “survival space” in the event of the vehicle rolling over etc.).

The Directive also focuses on various environmental obligations such as CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, engine power and smoke from diesel engines.

Timetable

The provisions of the proposal will be implemented from 2009 and will be phased in gradually until 2014, depending on the category of vehicle. The aim of the transition periods is to enable the industry to gradually adapt its production systems to the new requirements and enable governments to deal progressively with the increased number of requests for type-approval.

Background

Since 1970, Directive 70/156/EEC has been the main legal instrument for implementing the single market in the motor vehicle sector. It has been amended many times in order to keep pace with this sector’s constant development. It therefore seemed appropriate to increase its clarity by recasting it. Doing so also provides an opportunity to extend the scope of the established principles to new categories of motor vehicles.

The first stage of the revision, Directive 2001/116/EC, put in place the technical provisions needed for the practical implementation of the type-approval of commercial vehicles. This Directive marks the second stage of the revision of Directive 70/156/EEC.

Key terms of the act
  • Step-by-step type-approval: a vehicle-approval procedure consisting in the step-by-step collection of the whole set of EC type-approval certificates for the systems, components and separate technical units relating to the vehicle, and which leads, at the final stage, to the approval of the whole vehicle.
  • Single-step type-approval: a procedure consisting in the approval of a vehicle as a whole by means of a single operation.
  • Mixed type-approval: a step-by-step type-approval procedure for which one or more system approvals are achieved during the final stage of the approval of the whole vehicle, without it being necessary to issue the EC type-approval certificates for those systems.

Reference

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

Directive 2007/46/EC

29.10.2007

29.4.2009

OJ L 263, 9.10.2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2007/46/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

LAST AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex IV – List of requirements for the purpose of EC type-approval of vehicles
Commission Regulation (EU) No 183/2011 [Official Journal L 53 of 26.2.2011].

Annex VI
Commission Regulation (EU) No 183/2011 [Official Journal L 53 of 26.2.2011].

EContentplus

eContentplus

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eContentplus

Topics

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

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

eContentplus (2005-2008)

eContentplus programme will contribute towards supporting the development of multilingual content with a view to supplying innovative on-line services in the European Union (EU). It will make it possible to reduce fragmentation of the European digital content market and to improve access and ease of use of geographical information, educational material and cultural content.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 456/2005/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2005 establishing a multiannual Community programme to make digital content in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable.

Summary

eContentplus programme is in line with the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council (March 2000) which stressed that the shift to a digital, knowledge-based economy will be a powerful engine for growth, competitiveness and jobs. It also contributes to the implementation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan which advocates the launching of actions to stimulate the emergence of secure services, applications and content over broadband networks.

eContentplus is the successor to the eContent Programme (2001-2004). It is part of a set of measures intended to create favourable conditions for innovation and creativity on the convergent content market, such as the MEDIAPlus Programme and the revised ” Television without frontiers ” Directive.

Overall duration and objective

The duration of the programme is 2005-2008. It aims to make digital content more accessible, usable and exploitable by facilitating the creation and dissemination of information at EU level.

Lines of action

In order to attain the overall aim of the Programme, the following lines of action will be addressed:

  • facilitating at Community level access to, use and exploitation of digital content;
  • facilitating improvement of quality and enhancing best practice related to digital content between content providers and users;
  • reinforcing cooperation between digital content stakeholders and awareness.

Target areas

The programme will concentrate its efforts on those parts of the digital content market where market fragmentation is most marked and where market forces by themselves have not managed to spur growth. Three areas are being mainly targeted:

  • Geographical information: the programme will encourage the aggregation of existing national databases in this area in order to create from them cross-border databases to which new information services and products can refer. eContentplus will thus further the setting up of information services at EU level based on data drawn from the transport, navigation, emergency services and environmental management sectors.
  • Educational material: the programme will support the development of open European knowledge pools of digital objects, for education and research communities, as well as the individual. The activities undertaken under the programme will prompt the creation of trans-European brokering services for digital learning content. They will support the emergence of an appropriate information network and encourage the use of open standards to foster the deployment of effective pan-European learning services.
  • Cultural content, scientific information and scholarly content: eContentplus will encourage the setting-up of European information networks for accessing and using European digital scientific and cultural resources through the linking of virtual libraries or community memories. It will support the development of interoperable collections and objects available in various cultural institutions (libraries, archives, museums, etc.) and of solutions to facilitate the exhibition, discovery or repatriation of such resources.

Participation

Any legal entity from an eligible country (European Union, accession candidate countries, Member States of the European Economic Area and of the European Free Trade Area) may participate in the eContentplus Programme.

Implementation

The programme will be implemented through indirect action comprising:

  • shared-cost actions

– projects designed to increase knowledge so as to improve existing products, processes or services: Community funding will cover a maximum of 50% of the costs;

– best practice actions to spread knowledge: the Community contribution will be limited to direct costs deemed necessary for achieving the objectives of the action.

– thematic networks (networks bringing together a variety of stakeholders around a given technological and organisational objective): the Commission financial support will cover the additional eligible costs of coordinating and implementing the network.

  • accompanying measures:

These will contribute to the implementation of the programme or the preparation of future activities. Measures devoted to the commercialisation of products, process or services, marketing activities and sales promotion are excluded from that category. The accompanying measures will include:

– studies in support of the programme, including the preparation of future activities;

– exchange of information, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.;

– dissemination, information and communication activities.

Calls for proposals and invitations to tender

The selection of shared-cost actions will be based on invitations to tender published on the Commission’s internet site.

Accompanying measures will be implemented through invitations to tender.

Coordination with the other programmes

In the implementation of the Programme, the Commission will ensure consistency and complementarity of the eContentplus Programme with other relevant Community policies, programmes and actions, in particular the IDA, eTEN, eInclusion, eLearning, Modinis and Safer Internet programmes.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 456/2005/EC [adoption : codecision COD/2004/0025] 24.03.2005 OJ L 79 of 24.03.2005

Related Acts

Decision 2004/387/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on interoperable delivery of pan-European eGovernment services to public administrations, businesses and citizens (IDABC) [Official Journal L 144 of 30.4.2004];

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2004 to 2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning Programme) [Official Journal L 345 of 31.12.2003];

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2003-2005) for the monitoring of the eEurope 2005 action plan, dissemination of good practices and the improvement of network and information security (MODINIS) [Official Journal L 336 of 23.12.2003];

Decision 276/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 January 1999 adopting a multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of the internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks [Official Journal L 33 of 6.2.1999];

Council Regulation (EC) No 2236/95 of 18 September 1995 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks [Official Journal L 228 of 23.9.1995].

 

Eco-label

Eco-label

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Eco-label

Topics

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

Other

Eco-label

The eco-label aims to promote products with a reduced environmental impact compared with other products in the same product group.

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1980/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on a revised Community eco-label award scheme.

Summary

The Community Eco-label award scheme is designed to:

  • promote products which have a reduced environmental impact compared with other products in the same product group;
  • provide consumers with accurate and scientifically based information and guidance on products.

The following are excluded from the Regulation’s scope:

  • foodstuffs;
  • drinks;
  • pharmaceutical products;
  • medical devices as defined by Directive 93/42/EEC;
  • substances or preparations classed as dangerous within the meaning of Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC;
  • products manufactured by processes likely to significantly harm human beings and/or the environment.

The eco-label may be awarded to products available in the Community which meet certain environmental requirements and specific label criteria.

The environmental requirements are defined with reference to the assessment matrix given in Annex I to the Regulation and are subject to the methodological requirements set out in Annex II. The label may be awarded to products which contribute significantly to improvements in relation to key environmental aspects (or interaction with the environment, in particular energy use and the use of natural resources during the life cycle of the product).

Awarding the label

Eco-label criteria must be established by product group and be based on:

  • the product’s prospects of market penetration;
  • the technical and economic feasibility of the necessary adaptations;
  • the potential for environmental improvement.
  • they must represent a significant volume of sales and trade in the internal market;
  • they must have a significant environmental impact;
  • they must present a significant potential for effecting environmental improvements through consumer choice;
  • a significant part of the sales volume must be sold for final consumption or use.
  • manufacturers, importers, service providers, traders or retailers apply to the competent body designated by the Member State in which the product has been manufactured or first marketed or imported from a non-member country;
  • the competent body assesses whether the product conforms to the criteria of the eco-label and decides whether to award the label;
  • the competent body concludes a standard contract with the applicant, covering the terms of use of the label.

The criteria are set, assessed and reviewed by the European Union Eco-Labelling Board (EUEB). They are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The products must fulfill the following conditions:

Applying for the award of a European eco-label:

Applications for the award of an eco-label are subject to payment of a fee. The use of the label is also subject to the payment of an annual fee by the user.

Any product to which the eco-label is awarded is recognisable by the ‘daisy’ logo, as described in Annex III to the Regulation.

The Commission and the Member States must promote the use of the eco-label by means of awareness-raising actions and information campaigns. They must ensure coordination between the Community scheme and existing national schemes.

Background

This Regulation repeals Council Regulation (EEC) No 880/92 in order to improve the functioning of the Community Eco-label scheme.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No. 1980/2000

24.09.2000

OJ L 237 of 21.09.2000

Related Acts

Commission Decision of 10 November 2000 establishing the application and annual fees of the Community Eco-label [Official Journal L 293 of 22.11.2000].
This Decision sets minimum and maximum fees, and the reductions granted in certain cases.
Consolidated version

Commission Decision of 10 November 2000 on a standard contract covering the terms of use of the Community Eco-label [Official Journal L 293 of 22.11.2000].
This measure stipulates that the contract between the competent body and the applicant must be in the form set out in the Annex to the Decision. It also repeals Decision 93/517/EC on a standard contract covering the terms of use of the Community eco-label.

Commission Decision of 10 November 2000 establishing the European Union Eco-labelling Board and its rules of procedure [Official Journal L 293 of 22.11.2000].

Commission Decision of 10 November 2000 establishing the rules of procedure of the Consultation Forum of the revised Community Eco-label Scheme [Official Journal L 293 of 22.11.2000].

Decisions awarding the Eco-label

Commissoin Decision (Hard coverings).

Commission Decision (Bed mattresses).

Commission Decision (Tourist accommodation service).

Commission Decision (Tissue paper, kitchen paper and other absorbant products for domestic use).

Commission Decision (Textile products).

Commission Decision (Campsite service).

Commission Decision (Footwear).

Commission Decision (Indoor paints and varnishes).

Commission Decision (Outdoor paints and varnishes).

Commission Decision (Televisions).

Commission Decision(Dishwasher).
Prolongation: Decision 2007/457/EC

Consolidated version
Commission Decision (copying and graphic paper)
Prolongation: Decision 2007/457/EC

Codified version
Decision 2002/747/EC (light bulbs)
Prolongation: Decision 2008/63/EC

Consolidated version
Decision (detergents for dishwashers)
Prolongation: Decision 2008/889/EC

Consolidated version
Decision 2003/200/EC (laundry detergents)
Prolongation: Decision 2008/63/EC

Consolidated version
Decision (washing machines)
Prolongation: Decision 2000/45/EC

Decision (refrigerators)
Prolongation: Decision 2007/207/EC

Decision 2005/341/EC(personal computers)
Prolongation: Decision 2008/962/EC

Codified version
Decision (hand dishwashing detergents)

Prolongation: Decision 2008/889/EC

Codified version
Decision (portable computers)
Prolongation:Decision 2008/962/EC

Codified version
Decision (all-purpose cleaners and cleaners for sanitary facilities)

Prolongation: Decision 2008/889/CE

Codified version
Decision (lubricants)

Prolongation: Decision 2008/889/EC

Codified version
Decision (soil improvers)

Decision 2007/64/EC (growing media)

Decision 2007/506/EC (soaps, shampoos and hair conditioners)

Decision 2007/742/EC (electrically driven, gas driven or gas absorption heat pumps).

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

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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 > Middle east

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Acts

Council Decision 89/147/EEC of 20 February 1989 concerning the conclusion of a Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community, of the one part, and the countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community of the one part, and countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Summary

The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Community have drawn up a cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening their relations in a contractual and institutional form.

Economic cooperation should be as extensive as possible, not excluding any area. Here, and in the technical field, priorities are to encourage and facilitate:

  • diversification of GCC countries’ economies;
  • market research and trade promotion;
  • technology transfer and development, notably by means of joint actions and the protection of patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights;
  • the promotion of stable and balanced links between traders;
  • cooperation on standards and measures;
  • information exchange;
  • training.

In areas of agriculture, the agri-food industry and fisheries, the aims of cooperation are to step up exchanges of information and encourage contacts between companies and research institutions to promote common projects.

In industry, the aim is to encourage joint enterprises, develop industrial production and enlarge the economic base, and to organise contacts and meetings.

Information exchange is fundamental to cooperation for environmental and wildlife protection.

For energy, cooperation between energy companies must be facilitated, as must joint analyses of trade in crude oil, gas and petrol products. Exchanging ideas and information, training and studies are also part of energy cooperation.

Investment must be promoted and protected, particularly through agreements on promotion and protection to improve investment conditions.

In science and technology, research, scientific and technological development, technology transfers and adaptation, links between scientific communities and access to patent databases must all be encouraged.

Trade should be developed and diversified. The parties will study ways of eliminating trade barriers and will open discussions on an agreement aimed at developing trade. A common declaration on this matter follows at the end of the text. Pending agreement, both parties will grant each other the status of most favoured nation, which is the subject of a letter from the Community attached to the agreement.

General and final provisions

A Joint Cooperation Council is set up. It will periodically lay down the general guidelines for cooperation, act as an arbiter in the event of dispute and seek means of putting cooperation into practice. Its decisions are binding on party States, and its presidency is rotated between the EC and the GCC countries. It is assisted by a joint cooperation committee, and may decide to set up further committees.

Parties must exchange information and consult the Joint Council regarding useful information that has a direct incidence on the Agreement, or possible problems in the general functioning of the Agreement or concerning trade.

This Agreement does not prevent the conclusion of bilateral agreements, providing that they do not conflict with this Agreement. Its duration is unlimited, and if one party renounces it in writing, its application will cease six months after the notification date.

For more information about relations between the EC and the GCC, see the GCC page on the DG RELEX website.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 89/147/EEC 01.01.1990 OJ L 54 of 25.02.1989

Related Acts

Commission communication of 22 November 1995 on “improving relations between the European Union and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council” [final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Economic and monetary policy

Economic and monetary policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic and monetary policy

Topics

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

Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Lisbon Treaty: a comprehensive guide

Economic and monetary policy

The Treaty of Lisbon strengthens the role held by the Commission in the economic policy of the European Union (EU). In particular, the Commission acquires greater powers of supervision in order to ensure that Member States comply with European requirements.

Furthermore, the Treaty of Lisbon improves the economic governance of the EU by strengthening the EU’s monetary policy in particular.

EU economic policy provides that Member States’ economic policies should be geared towards common objectives. It also defines a monetary policy common to all Member States, the principal objective of which is to maintain price stability.

Furthermore, the Member States in the euro area, namely those which have adopted the euro as a single currency, also have a more detailed monetary policy specific to the euro.

ECONOMIC POLICY

EU economic policy is based on two types of commitment on the part of Member States:

  • the broad guidelines for economic policies (BGEPs): the BGEPs take the form of recommendations adopted by the Council. Their objective is to harmonise the economic policies of the Member States around joint objectives;
  • the stability and growth pact: the objective of this pact is to control Member States’ public deficits. Member States are required to comply with maximum thresholds concerning public debt and central government deficit.

Compliance with the BGEPs and the public deficit thresholds is the subject of supervision carried out by the Commission and the Council. The Treaty of Lisbon further strengthens the supervisory role of the Commission. The latter is henceforth able to address warnings directly to Member States when it considers that they have not met their commitments. Previously, it could only submit a request to the Council in this respect.

When such a warning is addressed by the Commission, the Council may then adopt a recommendation addressed to the Member State. The Treaty of Lisbon introduces two clarifications in this area:

  • henceforth the Member State concerned cannot take part in the vote on any recommendation which might be addressed to it;
  • if the Member State concerned is in the euro area, only Member States in the euro area may take part in the vote on any recommendation.

MONETARY POLICY

The Treaty of Lisbon does not significantly change the monetary policy common to all Member States.

The main innovation concerns the formal recognition of the European Central Bank (ECB) as an EU institution.

Furthermore, the powers of the European Parliament are strengthened with regard to amending the statutes of the ECB. Such amendments henceforth rely on the ordinary legislative procedure.

MONETARY POLICY SPECIFIC TO THOSE MEMBER STATES USING THE EURO AS CURRENCY

The Treaty of Lisbon makes more significant changes with regard to the monetary policy specific to the euro area.

First, the Treaty of Lisbon confirms the exclusive competence of the EU in monetary policy matters for Member States which have adopted the euro (Article 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).

The Treaty of Lisbon also confirms for the first time the existence of Eurogroup. Eurogroup’s objective is to increase the growth of the euro area through closer cooperation between Member States.

Furthermore, the Member States in the euro area shall acquire decisional autonomy for certain measures which concern them directly. Thus, Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU specifies that only euro area States may participate in votes on measures with the particular aim of:

  • coordinating and monitoring the budgetary discipline of Member States using the euro as their currency;
  • drafting guidelines on economic policies specific to the euro and compatible with the BGEPs.

Lastly, the Treaty of Lisbon offers Member States which have adopted the euro the option of establishing unified representation of the euro area within international financial institutions. In addition, only Member States in the euro area will be able to vote on the positions that the Union adopts in international fora on issues relating to economic and monetary Union.

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

Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

Topics

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Latin america

Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

Acts

Council Decision 1999/279/EC of 22 March 1999 concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, of the interregional framework cooperation agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Southern Common Market and its Party States, of the other part.

Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Southern Common Market and its Party States, of the other part.

Summary

Having concluded bilateral agreements with Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, the European Community has also concluded an Interregional Framework Agreement with Mercosur.

Based on democratic principles and fundamental rights, its objective is to strengthen existing relations between the Parties and to lay the foundations for an Interregional Association. It covers trade and economic matters, cooperation and other fields of mutual interest.

Regular political dialogue has been instituted to advance the establishment of an Interregional Association. Its objective is to ensure closer consultation on bilateral and multilateral issues by coordinating the Parties respective positions within the relevant international organisations. There will be exchanges of information at regular meetings at ministerial and senior official level. Full use is also to be made of diplomatic channels.

In the field of trade, closer relations will be forged to prepare for subsequent gradual and reciprocal liberalisation of trade. Regular dialogue on trade and economic matters has been established. The main areas of cooperation are:

  • market access, liberalisation of trade and trade disciplines;
  • trade relations with non-member countries;
  • the compatibility of trade with WTO rules;
  • the identification of sensitive and priority products;
  • cooperation and exchanges of information on services.

On agricultural and industrial products the Parties agree to cooperate to approximate their policies on quality and conformity recognition. They will consider beginning negotiations on mutual recognition agreements.

In the customs field, the objective is to cooperate to strengthen customs infrastructure and improve its operation in order to consolidate the legal framework for trade relations. Statistical matters and intellectual property are two more fields of trade cooperation which is aimed at promoting investment, technology transfer and trade by preventive distortions of trade through appropriate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.

In the field of economic cooperation, the Parties will encourage regional cooperation wherever it will result in more rational and efficient use of available resources and a better outcome. No sector is excluded, although some areas are expressly mentioned. These are energy, transport, telecommunications and information technology, environmental protection, science and technology, business cooperation and investment promotion.

In the transport field, cooperation will be used to help restructure and modernise transport systems and find solutions to problems involved in moving people and goods using all modes of transport. Cooperation will take the form of exchanges of information and training programmes.

In order to encourage integration cooperation will underpin Mercosur’s objectives; operations will be examined in the light of its specific requests. Cooperation will take any form that is appropriate, but will focus on exchanges of information, training, institution building, studies and joint projects and technical assistance. Closer institutional cooperation is also desirable.

Other areas of cooperation are:

  • training and education, where the Parties will seek to improve education and training relating to regional integration for young people, vocational training, and cooperation between universities and businesses focusing on links between specialist bodies, agreements between training centres and the organisation of meetings between educational establishments;
  • communication, information and culture, where the aim is to promote mutual understanding and strengthen cultural ties;
  • combating drug trafficking.

The Parties undertake to provide the requisite resources and encourage the European Investment Bank to give greater help to Mercosur to attain these objectives.

Under the institutional framework a Cooperation Council will be set up to oversee the Agreement’s implementation and will meet regularly at ministerial level. It will be assisted by a Joint Cooperation Committee, which will meet once a year. A Joint Subcommittee on Trade has also been set up.

The Agreement has been concluded for an indefinite period and may be extended if the Parties wish to do so. If either Party considers that the other Party has failed to fulfil an obligation it may take the appropriate measures.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 1999/279/EC [adoption consultation CNS/1995/0261] 01.07.1999 OJ L 112 of 29.04.1999

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The European Community and Mercosur: An Enhanced Policy [COM(1994) 428 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

ECall: Time for deployment

eCall: Time for deployment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eCall: Time for deployment

Topics

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

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Technical implications of road safety

eCall: Time for deployment

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 21 August 2009 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – ‘eCall: Time for Deployment’ [COM(2009) 434 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication reports on progress made in deploying eCall in Europe.

eCall: operation

Operation of eCall is based on the principle defined in the 2005 Communication – Bringing eCall to Citizens.

In the event of an accident, in-vehicle sensors will automatically trigger an eCall. A voice connection is established with the European emergency number 112 and routed to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). At the same time, an emergency message is sent, providing information such as the time, location and driving direction (Minimum Set of Data – MSD).

The system which processes MSD information enables the operator to hear what is happening in the vehicle and talk with the occupants of the vehicle if possible. Emergency services and equipment to be sent out can thus be better defined.

Progress and achievements

Standardisation activities

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has approved the MSD structure, and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has given its approval of the eCall discriminator which differentiates between 112 calls and eCalls, as well as between manual eCalls and those triggered automatically.

The protocols for sending the MSD from the vehicle to the PSAP operator, and pan-European eCall operating requirements have also been approved.

Commitments made by major stakeholders

Automotive manufacturers have committed to promoting eCall and have pledged to offer eCall as an option for new type-approved vehicles of certain categories.

The Member States have also agreed on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It has been signed by 20 Member States and by Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Other Member States such as Poland and Ireland have also expressed their willingness to sign the MoU.

Regarding mobile network operators, a special task force has been formed by GSM Europe, the association representing them. This task force has offered to prepare eCall strategies and to contribute to its standardisation.

Proposed action

Deployment of eCall was initially planned for 2009. However, it has been considerably delayed. Simultaneous action by all stakeholders is needed in order to implement this service.

The Commission and Member States should make an active contribution to the work of the European eCall Implementation Platform so that all stakeholders participate in its deployment.

Coordinated awareness campaigns will be launched to increase understanding of and demand for the service.

If no significant progress is made, the Commission plans to take regulatory measures in 2010 such as:

  • a Recommendation concerning Member States and mobile network operators;
  • a Proposal for a Regulation on vehicle type-approval;
  • a possible regulatory measure relating to the upgrading of the PSAP infrastructure.

Context

In 2009, there were 35 000 deaths and more than 1.5 million injured on European Union roads. In the light of these figures, it is important to implement eCall as soon as possible. This would enable accident locations to be cleared quickly and thus contribute to reducing road congestion. This would lead to a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, this service could not only save up to 2 500 lives, but also mitigate the severity of injuries, reduce health costs and above all attenuate human suffering.

Economic Policy Committee

Economic Policy Committee

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic Policy Committee

Topics

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

Economic and monetary affairs > Institutional and economic framework of the euro

Economic Policy Committee

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2000/604/EC of 29 September 2000 on the composition and the statutes of the Economic Policy Committee [See amending acts].

Summary

The Economic Policy Committee (EPC) was set up in 1974 (under Decision 74/122/EEC) to improve coordination of Member States’ economic and budgetary policies. With the entry into the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as from 1 January 1999 and the greater need for closer coordination of economic policies, the Committee’s operation and composition needed to be reviewed. This Decision of 29 September 2000 therefore adopts the revised statutes of the EPC. The statutes were revised again in 2003 to take account of the enlargement of the European Union (EU).

Close coordination of Member States’ economic policies

The introduction of the euro has made closer coordination of economic policies and sustained convergence of Member States’ economic performances all the more necessary. The Luxembourg European Council in 1997 called for enhanced coordination in the final stage of EMU. Closer monitoring of macroeconomic developments and of Member States’ structural policies on labour, product and services markets is considered necessary if EMU is to function properly.

The Economic Policy Committee is to assist the Ecofin Council by providing economic analyses and opinions on methodologies and by contributing to the drafting of policy recommendations, particularly on structural policies. It should focus in particular on:

  • the functioning of goods, capital, services and labour markets (developments as regards wages, productivity, employment and competitiveness);
  • the role and efficiency of the public sector and the long-term sustainability of public finances;
  • the economic implications of specific policies, such as those relating to the environment, research, development and social cohesion.

Article 99 of the EC Treaty provides for the formulation of broad economic policy guidelines (BEPGs), underpinned by a multilateral surveillance procedure. The EPC is to provide support for the formulation of the guidelines and to contribute to the multilateral surveillance procedure. By producing reports, the EPC will support the work of the Economic and Financial Committee. It will also conduct regular country reviews focused in particular on structural reforms in Member States.

Besides working in close collaboration with the Economic and Financial Committee, the EPC will also cooperate closely with the Employment Committee, which promotes coordination between Member States on employment and labour market policy.

Composition and functioning of the Economic Policy Committee

The Member States, the Commission and the European Central Bank must be represented on the EPC. Each of them appoints two members from among senior officials possessing competence in the field. Members of the Committee are to perform their duties in the general interest of the Community.

Opinions or reports subject to a vote are to be adopted by a majority of members. A report must then be drafted to give account of the minority views. Where reports concern issues on which the Council may subsequently take a decision, members from central banks and the Commission may not participate in the vote.

The Committee is consulted by the Commission on the maximum rate of increase for non-compulsory expenditure of the EU’s general budget. It also delivers opinions at the request of the Council, the Commission or the Economic and Financial Committee or on its own initiative.

Proceedings of the Committee are confidential. However, its reports or opinions are made publicly available, unless there are overriding reasons to keep them confidential. Reports are published on the EPC’s Internet site.

In 2003 the composition of the Committee was revised, reducing the number of representatives of the Member States, the Commission and the ECB to two each. Previously, they could each appoint four representatives. This change was necessary to prepare for the EU’s enlargement on 1 May 2004 and to ensure that the Committee can function smoothly. The number of EU Member States rose to 27 with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007.

Background

Founded in 1974, the EPC has taken over the tasks previously assigned to the Short-term Economic Policy Committee established by the Council Decision of 9 March 1960 on coordination of the conjunctural policies of the Member States, to the Budgetary Policy Committee set up by the Council Decision of 8 May 1964 on cooperation between the competent government departments of Member States in the field of budgetary policy, and to the Medium-term Economic Policy Committee set up by the Council Decision of 15 April 1964 setting up a Medium-term Economic Policy Committee.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 2000/604/EC 12.10.2000 OJ L 257, 11.10.2000
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 2003/475/EC 1.7.2003 OJ L 158, 27.6.2003

Economic and Financial Committee

Economic and Financial Committee

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic and Financial Committee

Topics

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

Economic and monetary affairs > Institutional and economic framework of the euro

Economic and Financial Committee

Acts

Council Decision 98/743/EC of 21 December 1998 on the detailed provisions concerning the composition of the Economic and Financial Committee.
Council Decision 1999/8/EC of 31 December 1998 adopting the Statutes of the Economic and Financial [See amending acts].

Summary

The Maastricht Treaty provides for an economic and financial committee to be set up at the start of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which began on 1 January 1999.

Composition and tasks of the Economic and Financial Committee

The Council is to adopt detailed provisions concerning the composition of the Committee, bearing in mind that the Member States, the Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB), are each to appoint two members of the Committee. They may also appoint two alternate members.

Under Article 114 (2) and (4) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty), the Committee’s tasks are:

  • to keep under review the economic and financial situation of the Member States and the Community and to report regularly to the Council and the Commission on this subject, in particular on financial relations with third countries and international institutions;
  • to contribute to the preparation of the work of the Council, particularly as regards recommendations required as part of multilateral surveillance (Article 99) and decisions required as part of the excessive deficit procedure (Article 101).

The Committee may also prepare the Council’s reviews of the exchange rate of the euro (Article 207). It may be consulted in the procedure leading to decisions relating to the exchange-rate mechanism of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (ERM II), and may provide the framework for the dialogue between the Council and the ECB at the level of senior officials from ministries, national central banks, the Commission and the ECB.

Given the importance of those tasks, it is essential that members of the Committee and alternate members be selected from among experts possessing outstanding competence in the economic and financial field. The two members appointed by each Member State must be selected from among senior officials from the administration (ministerial level) and the national central bank.

Adapting the Economic and Financial Committee in the light of EU enlargement

With a view to the enlargement of the EU on 1 May 2004, the statutes of the Economic and Financial Committee were amended in 2003. A new Article 4 was inserted, which provides for the Committee to meet in two different configurations:

  • either with the members selected from the administrations, the national central banks, the Commission and the ECB;
  • or with the members from administrations, the Commission and the ECB.

The Committee in its full composition will regularly review the list of the issues on which the national central bank members are expected to attend the meetings. This measure is necessary in order to ensure that the expertise and analytical insight of the national central banks are available to the Committee without its work being hampered by too many participants.

Taking decisions on a majority basis

If a vote is requested, decisions are to be adopted by a majority of the members but, in the case of questions on which the “Economic and Financial Affairs” Council (Ecofin Council) may subsequently take a decision, members from national central banks and the Commission will not participate in the vote. The Committee will also report on minority or dissenting views expressed in the course of the discussion. A member who is unable to attend a meeting of the Committee may delegate his/her right to vote to one of the alternates or another member.

The Committee has a President elected by a majority of its members. The two-year term of office is renewable. The President represents the Committee, including in its relations with the European Parliament. The President’s voting right is delegated to his/her alternate and, if indisposed, the President is replaced by the Vice-President of the Committee.

Where alternates replace members, they have the right to vote. As a general rule, alternate members may attend committee meetings, but do not vote or participate in discussions. The Committee may decide to amend this.

The Committee is convened at the initiative of the President, or at the request of the Commission, the Council or four of its members.

Committee deliberations are confidential.

The Committee may entrust the study of specific questions to its alternate members, to subcommittees or to working parties. It is also assisted by a secretariat.

References

Act Entry into force and expiry date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 98/743/EC 1.1.1999 OJ L 358, 31.12.1998
Decision 1999/8/EC 1.1.1999 OJ L 5, 9.1.1999
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/476/EC 01.07.2003 OJ L 158, 27.6.2003