Tag Archives: Efta countries

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [Official Journal C 155 of 8.7.2009].

Summary

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of Member States promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training (VET).

Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems, especially by improving the effectiveness of training. Therefore, it should underpin every policy initiative in VET.

Member States are invited to develop and use this instrument on a voluntary basis. The main users of the reference framework will be national and regional authorities as well as public and private bodies responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of VET.

Implementation

As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help Member States to assess clearly and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed.

The methodology proposed by the framework is based on:

  • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
  • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle (Annex I);
  • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results – some indicators are to be based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature (Annex II).

The recommendation stresses a culture of quality improvement and responsibility at all levels, i.e. at the VET-system, VET-provider and qualification-awarding levels. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET attaches importance to systematic self-assessment. It includes internal and external assessment mechanisms that are to be defined by Member States. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.

Drawing on the framework, Member States should develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders should be involved in this development work.

European network for quality assurance

The recommendation encourages Member States to participate actively in the European network for quality assurance in VET, using it as a basis for further development of common principles and tools for quality improvement in VET at national, regional and local levels.

The recommendation also encourages Member States to designate Quality Assurance National Reference Points for VET, to bring together competent bodies and involve all relevant players at national and regional levels. These reference points will promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support Member States’ self-evaluation as well as the Network’s work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.

Background

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It will promote the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

The recommendation responds to the resolutions of the 2002 Barcelona European Council, which set the target of making Europe’s education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. It is also in line with the Copenhagen process, which concerns re-launching cooperation in vocational education and training.

 

Agreement on the European Economic Area

Agreement on the European Economic Area

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement on the European Economic Area

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for capital

Agreement on the European Economic Area

Document or Iniciative

Decision 94/1/CE, ECSC of the Council and the Commission of 13 December 1993 on the conclusion of the Agreement on the European Economic Area between the European Communities, their Member States and the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland, the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Swiss Confederation [Official Journal L 1 of 3.1.1994].

Agreement on the European Economic Area – Final Act – Joint Declarations – Declarations by the Governments of the Member States of the Community and the EFTA States – Arrangements – Agreed Minutes – Declarations by one or several of the Contracting Parties of the Agreement on the European Economic Area [Official Journal L 1 of 3.1.1994].

Summary

This Agreement aims to strengthen economic and trade relations between the European Community and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. In part it extends the four freedoms of movement in the single market to these States, and establishes a trading system which ensures compliance with competition rules. It shall not constitute a market without borders nor a customs union.

The Parties also agree to strengthen certain areas of cooperation, specifically research and development, the environment, education and social policy.

The Agreement does not apply to agricultural and fishery products, or to indirect taxation (VAT and excise duties). These fields are covered by different, specific agreements.

Free movement of goods

Trade liberalisation means the abolition of import and export customs duties (including customs duties of a fiscal nature), quantitative restrictions and measures having equivalent effect with regard to products originating in the Contracting Parties.

The rules of origin are set out (Protocol 4) without prejudice to any obligations subscribed to under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Agricultural and fishery products are part of a progressive system, covered by specific agreements.

Free movement of persons

The Agreement establishes the principle of the free movement of workers and self-employed persons. Workers from the European Community and the EFTA countries have the right to move to the territory of another Party in order to look for and undertake employment. They may remain in the country after having been employed there.

Workers benefit from the right to equal treatment in terms of employment, remuneration and working conditions. Free movement should also be facilitated through the coordination of provisions relating to access to employment, social security and the recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications.

The right of establishment concerns individuals and companies. It permits the setting up of agencies, branches or company subsidiaries in the territory of another Party.

Free movement of services

The parties shall abolish all restrictions to the free provision of services, specifically regarding industrial and commercial activities and activities of craftsmen and of the professions. Service providers may temporarily pursue their activities in the State where the service is provided, under the same conditions as are imposed by that State on its own nationals.

Free movement of capital

The Agreement establishes the principle of equal treatment with regard to the capital market and the credit system. There shall be no restrictions based on nationality, place of residence or place where the capital is invested.

However, the Parties may take protective or corrective measures, specifically with regard to differences between exchange rate regulation, in case of disturbance in the capital market by one Party or a crisis in their balance of payments.

Institutional and financial provisions

An EEA Council shall be established to implement the Agreement. It shall consist of members of the Council and the Commission, as well as a member from each EFTA State. The office of President of the EEA Council shall be held alternately, for a period of six months. The Council shall be supported in its mission by an EEA Consultative Committee, composed of equal numbers of members of the Economic and Social Committee and members of the EFTA Consultative Committee.

The financial mechanism provided for in the Agreement should contribute towards reducing the economic and social disparities between the two Parties.

Context

The EEA Agreement was signed in 1992 between the twelve Member States and the six EFTA Member States, comprising Austria, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The Agreement did not enter into force until 1994 due to its rejection by Switzerland. Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the European Union in 1995.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force – Expiry date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/1/CE, ECSC

1.1.1994

OJ L 1 of 3.1.1994

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

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Topics

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

Customs

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Proposal

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature of the regional convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin [COM(2010) 168 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the regional convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin [COM(2010) 172 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The draft convention lays down rules allowing the origin of goods traded under free trade agreements in the pan-Euro-Mediterranean zone to be determined. It is necessary to ascertain the origin of goods in order to apply tariff preferences, i.e. reducing or removing customs duties or taxes of equivalent effect.

The contracting parties to this Convention are the following:

  • the European Union;
  • the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States, which are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein;
  • signatories to the Barcelona declaration, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Palestine;
  • the Faroe Islands;
  • the participants in the European Union Stabilization and Association Process.

Originating products

Goods are considered as products originating in the pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation zone if they are:

  • wholly obtained in the territory of a Contracting Party to the Convention;
  • composed of materials originating in countries that are not signatories to the Convention (non-originating materials), but which have been sufficiently processed in the territory of a Contracting Party to the Convention. Annex II of Appendix I to the Convention presents the criteria for sufficient processing for each product category;
  • imported from the European Economic Area (EEA) and exported to another Contracting Party to the Convention.

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin

If three Contracting Parties to the Convention are bound by a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), they may apply a system of diagonal cumulation of origin. Products that have obtained originating status in one of the countries in the pan-euro-Mediterranean cumulation zone may be added to products originating from any other country in the zone without losing their originating status within that zone.

Cumulation of origin is subject to certain conditions:

  • the existence of a preferential trade agreement in accordance with the GATT;
  • compliance with the rules of the Convention;
  • publication of a notice in the Official Journal of the EU (C series) on compliance with the implementing conditions for cumulation.

Furthermore, a total cumulation of origin may be applied within the EEA (i.e. EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and for trade between the EU, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. As regards the EEA, products traded between these countries shall be considered to have originated from the same territory.

Products originating in third countries

In order to manufacture * their products, the Contracting Parties to the Convention may use non-originating materials, which shall generally be subject to customs duties.

Proof of origin

Exporters must be able to present movement certificates EUR.1 or EUR-MED to the customs authorities of the importing countries. Such certificates shall be issued by the customs authorities of the exporting country.

Approved exporters may also issue an invoice declaration or an invoice declaration EUR-MED.

If goods are in transit in a free zone and they are handled for reasons other than those designed to prevent their deterioration, a new movement certificate must be issued.

Joint Committee

The management and implementation of the Convention shall be overseen by a Committee composed of representatives of all of the Contracting Parties.

Key terms
  • Manufacture: any kind of working or processing, including assembly or specific operations.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure

COM(2010) 168

Non-legislative NLE(2010) 0092

COM(2010) 172

Non-legislative NLE(2010) 0093

Convention on a common transit procedure

Convention on a common transit procedure

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on a common transit procedure

Topics

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

Customs

Convention on a common transit procedure

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 87/415/EEC of 15 June 1987 concerning the conclusion of a Convention between the European Community, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland, the Republic of Iceland, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Swiss Confederation on a common transit procedure [See amending acts].

Summary

Customs transit is a customs procedure that facilitates the transport of goods:

  • between two points in the customs territory;
  • between two points in the customs territory, via a different customs territory;
  • between two or more different customs territories.

The system allows temporary suspension of the tariffs, taxes and commercial policy measures applicable to imports. It allows customs clearance formalities to be carried out at destination rather than at the point of entry into the customs territory.

For the EC, customs transit enables goods to move under the transit procedure from their point of entry into the EC to their place of customs clearance, where the customs and national taxation obligations are dealt with.

Common transit

The Convention on a common transit procedure was set up in 1987. After the 1995 and 2004 enlargements of the EU, the contracting parties are now as follows:

  • the EC;
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Romania (‘ EFTA countries ‘ for the Convention).

Amending provisions on the common transit procedure are adopted by the EC-EFTA Joint Committee.

The common transit procedure is not compulsory. The TIR procedure or the export procedure may be used instead.

The common transit procedure closely resembles the Community transit procedure in its rules and procedures, which are almost identical. The Community transit procedure is based on the Community Customs Code and its Implementing provisions.

T1 and T2 procedures

A T1 * or T2 * procedure is used for goods moving between the EC and EFTA countries, according to their customs status.

The 2001 reforms

In 2001, major changes were made to the Convention on the common transit procedure. These are intended to make the transit procedures more resistant to fraud during the transit operations, in order to:

  • protect the financial interests of the contracting parties more effectively;
  • simplify the administrative formalities for traders, easing the movement of goods.
Key terms used in the act
  • The T1 procedure concerns the movement of non-EU goods when customs duties or other import taxes are involved.
  • The T2 procedure concerns the movement of EU goods.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 87/415/EEC 20.05.1987 OJ L 226 of 13.08.1987
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 1811/88 30.06.1988 OJ L 162 of 29.06.1988
Regulation (EEC) No 2011/89 14.07.1989 OJ L 200 of 13.07.1989
Regulation (EEC) No 664/91 22.03.1991 OJ L 075 of 21.03.1991
Decision No 1/91 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1993 OJ L 402 of 31.12.1992
Decision No 2/92 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1993 OJ L 402 of 31.12.1992
Decision No 1/93 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1994 OJ L 012 of 15.01.1994
Decision No 2/93 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1994 OJ L 012 of 15.01.1994
Decision No 1/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 2/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 3/94 EEC/EFTA 01.04.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 4/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 3/95 EC/EFTA 01.01.1996 OJ L 117 of 14.05.1996
Decision No 1/96 EC/EFTA 05.07.1996 OJ L 226 of 07.09.1996
Decision No 2/96 EC/EFTA 05.07.1996 OJ L 226 of 07.09.1996
Decision No 3/96 EC/EFTA 01.03.1997 OJ L 043 of 14.02.1997
Decision No 4/96 EC/EFTA 01.01.1997 OJ L 043 of 14.02.1997
Decision No 2/97 EC/EFTA 01.10.1997 OJ L 238 of 29.08.1997
Decision No 3/97 EC/EFTA 01.10.1997 OJ L 238 of 29.08.1997
Decision No 4/97 EC/EFTA 01.02.1998 OJ L 005 of 09.01.1998
Decision No 1/1999 EC/EFTA 31.03.1999 OJ L 065 of 12.03.1999
Decision No 2/99 EC/EFTA 31.03.1999 OJ L 119 of 07.05.1999
Decision No 1/2000 EC/EFTA 20.12.2000 OJ L 009 of 12.01.2001
Decision No 1/2001 EC/EFTA 07.06.2001 OJ L 165 of 21.06.2001
Decision No 2/2002 EC/EFTA 27.11.2002 OJ L 004 of 09.01.2003
Decision No 1/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 2/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 3/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 4/2005 EC/EFTA 15.08.2005 OJ L 225 of 31.08.2005
Decision No 5/2005 EC/EFTA 04.10.2005 OJ L 269 of 14.10.2005
Decision No 6/2005 EC/EFTA 04.10.2005 OJ L 324 of 10.12.2005
Decision No 1/2006 EC/EFTA 25.10.2006 OJ L 357 of 15.12.2006
Decision No 1/2007 EC/EFTA 1.1.2007 OJ L 145 of 7.6.2007

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 March 2003, “Implementation of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS)” [COM(2003) 125 final – not published in the Official Journal].

In 2000, the new computerised transit system (NCTS) was launched under the Community’s Customs 2000 programme. The system concerns the computerisation of Community transit procedures. It serves as a tool to manage and control the transit system. It is intended to:

  • increase the efficiency and effectiveness of transit procedures;
  • improve both the prevention and the detection of fraud;
  • accelerate and render secure transactions carried out under a transit procedure.

EFTA countries that are party to the Convention on a common transit procedure are also committed to implementing the NCTS.

Council Resolution of 21 June 1999 on the reform of customs transit systems [OJ C 193 of 09.07.1999].

Communication of 30 April 1997 to the European Parliament and the Council “Action plan for transit in Europe – A new customs policy”, COM(97) 188 final and OJ C 176 of 10.6.1997].

The aim of this Communication is to reform customs transit systems.

Council Resolution of 23 November 1995 on the computerisation of customs transit systems [OJ C 327 of 07.12.1995].