Tag Archives: EN

Enterprise

Enterprise

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enterprise

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

Enterprise

Enterprise

The prosperity of Europe is built on that of its businesses. Businesses are a key element in growth and employment, and the relaunch of the Lisbon strategy in 2005 made enterprise and industry policy one of the priorities in Europe.
Under Article 173 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Union (EU) has set itself the goal of creating the best possible conditions for competitiveness.

Maintaining competitiveness is a constant challenge. This is why the EU aims to encourage an environment favourable to initiative, to the development of businesses, to industrial cooperation and to improving the exploitation of the industrial potential of innovation, research and technological development policies. These policies are of vital importance in the context of global competition.

Enterprise Contents

  • Business environment: Small and medium-sized enterprises, Entrepreneurship, Financing, Multiannual programme for enterprises and entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and innovation framework programme, Corporate social responsibility
  • Industry: Industrial policy, Competitiveness, Automobile industry, Chemical industry, Pharmaceutical industry, Textile industry, Tourism
  • Interaction between enterprise policy and other policies: Research and innovation, The environment, Trade, Company law, Taxation
  • International dimension and enlargement: Enlargement, Candidate countries

See also

Overviews of European Union: Entreprise.
Further information on the website of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission and the Your Europe – Business website.

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enhancing the Asia strategy

Topics

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

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 4 September 2001. Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships [COM(2001)469 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Taking account of the developments that have taken place since its 1994 Communication entitled ‘Towards a New Asia Strategy’, the Commission updates the mechanism established by the 1994 strategy. It sets outs a comprehensive strategic framework for relations between Asia, its regions and the European Union (EU) in the coming decade, while recognising the diversity of Asia through different forms of partnership. The Commission aims to strengthen the EU’s political and economic presence in Asia, raising it to a level commensurate with the growing global weight of the enlarged Union.

The new strategy therefore focuses on six key points:

  • strengthening the EU’s engagement with Asia in the political and security fields;
  • further strengthening mutual trade and investment flows with the region;
  • demonstrating the EU’s effectiveness as a partner in reducing poverty in Asia;
  • promoting respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
  • building global alliances with key Asian partners (to address global challenges and within international organisations);
  • strengthening mutual awareness between the EU and Asia.

The Communication identifies concrete proposals aimed at strengthening EU-Asia relations in these key areas and launching actions on a broader regional scale.

As regards peace and security, the EU must play an active role in regional fora, promote conflict prevention through the sharing of experiences and strengthen EU-Asia dialogue on justice and home affairs, an area that includes, in particular, the right to asylum, immigration and arms trafficking.

Mutual trade and investment flows must benefit from better market access and investment conditions on both sides. Efforts must be made to encourage contacts between the private sector (especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) and in particular the high technology sector, strengthen dialogue on economic and financial policy, and enhance market access for the poorest developing countries.

In order to reduce poverty, the Commission will give priority in its cooperation programmes to key issues such as education and health, economic and social governance, and the link between environment and poverty. Enhanced dialogue on social policy issues would make it possible to exchange experiences on the most appropriate method of addressing the challenges of globalisation and modernisation.

Promoting civil society and a dialogue between Asia and Europe must encourage democracy, good governance and the rule of law. As regards human rights, constructive exchanges, such as the dialogue with China on human rights, should pave the way for better cooperation.

It is also important to conclude partnerships and build alliances in addressing global issues such as the reform of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the environment and other challenges, for example international crime, terrorism and the spread of AIDS.

The opening of new delegations is one of the instruments that promotes better mutual knowledge between Europe and Asia. Support should also be provided for university, cultural and scientific exchanges and for civil society contacts between the regions.

The Communication also sets out specific measures to target the EU’s initiatives concerning the different component parts of Asia (South Asia, South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Australasia, which is included for the first time in the EU-Asia strategic framework). These measures aim first and foremost to improve relations with certain countries in the region and cover bilateral issues with each country, while providing a framework for the overall relations between Europe and Asia. The Commission favours a pragmatic approach, based on a specific analysis of its relations with each country or group of countries.

At an institutional level, the EU’s relations with Asia have developed considerably in recent years. The first bilateral summit was held in 1991 with Japan. Similar summits have been organised recently with India and China as well as with East Asia as a whole under the ASEM process (Asia-Europe Meeting). At ministerial level, the EU’s dialogue with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the one hand, and with Australia and New Zealand on the other, continues to make progress.

Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Topics

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

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Enlargement 2004 and 2007

The fifth enlargement is historic and unprecedented in the history of the European Union. The ten Central and Eastern European countries, together with Cyprus and Malta, joined the EU in two successive waves in 2004 and 2007. In this context, the EU paved the way for the current enlargement process by establishing suitable instruments to be able to respond not only to the needs of the candidate countries, but also to the specific needs of the EU to receive them.

  • Bulgaria – adoption of the community acquis
  • Romania – adoption of the community acquis
  • Cyprus – adoption of the community acquis
  • Estonia – adoption of the community acquis
  • Hungary – adoption of the community acquis
  • Latvia – adoption of the community acquis
  • Lithuania – adoption of the community acquis
  • Malta – adoption of the community acquis
  • Poland – adoption of the community acquis
  • Czech republic – adoption of the community acquis
  • Slovakia – adoption of the community acquis
  • Slovenia – adoption of the community acquis
  • Partnership for the accession of Cyprus
  • Partnership for the accession of Estonia
  • Partnership for the accession of Hungary
  • Partnership for the accession of Latvia
  • Partnership for the accession of Lithuania
  • Partnership for the accession of Malta
  • Partnership for the accession of Poland
  • Partnership for the accession of the Czech Republic
  • Partnership for the accession of Slovakia
  • Partnership for the accession of Slovenia

HISTORY OF EASTERN ENLARGEMENT

General Provisions

  • The 2004 enlargement: the challenge of a 25-member EU
  • Enlargement, two years after – an economic success
  • The communication strategy on enlargement
  • Participation of the Central and Eastern European candidate countries in Community programmes
  • The challenge of enlargement
  • Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Union

Sectoral approach

  • Enlargement of the euro area after 1 May 2004
  • Joint assessments of employment policies in the candidate countries
  • Community response to the flooding in central Europe
  • Strengthening administrative and judicial capacity
  • Nuclear safety in the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe
  • Accession strategies for the environment
  • Community action for regions bordering the candidate countries

PRE-ACCESSION INSTRUMENTS 2000-2006

  • Phare Programme
  • Pre-accession agricultural instrument (SAPARD)
  • Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession
  • Cross-border cooperation programme
  • Coordination instrument

ENLARGEMENT 2007

  • Roadmaps for Bulgaria and Romania

Bulgaria

  • Partnership for the accession of Bulgaria

Romania

  • The Accession Partnership with Romania

ENLARGEMENT 2004

Cyprus

  • Partnership for the accession of Cyprus

Estonia

  • Partnership for the accession of Estonia

Hungary

  • Partnership for the accession of Hungary

Latvia

  • Partnership for the accession of Latvia

Lithuania

  • Partnership for the accession of Lithuania

Malta

  • Partnership for the accession of Malta

Poland

  • Partnership for the accession of Poland

Czech Republic

  • Partnership for the accession of the Czech Republic

Slovakia

  • Partnership for the accession of Slovakia

Slovenia

  • Partnership for the accession of Slovenia

Enhancing the contribution of European social dialogue in an enlarged Europe

Enhancing the contribution of European social dialogue in an enlarged Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enhancing the contribution of European social dialogue in an enlarged Europe

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Enhancing the contribution of European social dialogue in an enlarged Europe

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission. Partnership for change in an enlarged Europe – Enhancing the contribution of European social dialogue [COM(2004) 557 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European social model places great emphasis on the need for social dialogue. The purpose of this Communication is to promote awareness and understanding of the results of the European social dialogue, to improve their impact and to promote further developments based on effective interaction between different levels of industrial relations.

In addition, the enlargement of the EU also presents a challenge for the European social dialogue. Partnership will be of particular importance in managing the impact of continuing restructuring in these countries. Enlargement will also challenge the technical capacity of the European social partner organisations in the new Member States.

Following the Communications in 1998 on “Adapting and promoting the Social Dialogue at Community level” and in 2002 on “The European social dialogue, a force for innovation and change”, and against the backdrop of the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, the Commission feels that it is a good time to take stock of the European social dialogue.

The main challenge ahead is to improve quality in work with a view to positively managing all dimensions of economic, social and environmental change in order to ensure sustainable development and social cohesion. The Commission calls on the European and national social partners to take part in a genuine partnership for change by stepping up their efforts to address the issues identified below:

  • improving adaptability through flexibility and security in the employment relationship;
  • investing in human capital and job quality through increased investment in health and safety at work and offering appropriate access to training;
  • attracting more people to the labour market in view of the future decline in the working age population.

If the European social partners are to make an effective contribution to achieving the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, good interaction between the different levels of industrial relations is essential. The Commission urges the social partners and Member States to work together to reinforce the administrative capacities of national social partner organisations, for example through the possibilities provided by the structural funds – in particular the European Social Fund (ESF).

The results of the European social dialogue could therefore be improved by enhancing the synergies between the various sectors as well as between the European cross-industry and sectoral levels. For example, in the area of lifelong learning, some sectors (postal services, banking, cleaning industry) have referred to the cross-industry framework of actions.

The Commission also feels that the social partners could explore possible ways in which the European social dialogue and European works councils (EWCs) could complement one another. Increasingly, the range of issues being considered within EWCs is expanding beyond the core issues of company performance and employment to embrace subjects with a strong European dimension such as health and safety, equal opportunities, training and mobility, corporate social responsibility and environmental issues.

The Commission’s role in supporting social dialogue

According to Article 138(1), the Commission has the task of promoting the consultation of management and labour at Community level. It must therefore take any relevant measure to facilitate their dialogue by ensuring balanced support for the parties. The Commission encourages the social partners to make use of the possibility for certain issues to be fleshed out through negotiations at all relevant levels and to step up support for the European social dialogue structures in the context of enlargement.

It is however important to note that, as the social partners are autonomous and social dialogue in the EU is based on the freedom of the right to association, capacity-building is essentially a bottom-up process depending on the efforts of the social partners themselves.

In order to identify the social partners to be consulted under Article 138 of the EC Treaty, the Commission carries out representativeness studies on the European organisations. It proposes that these studies should be carried out by the Dublin Foundation’s European Industrial Relations Observatory.

The Commission will raise the profile of the European social dialogue and assist the social partners in following up their texts by:

  • exploring ways of promoting the sharing of experience on follow-up practices;
  • providing support for the social partners which will be accessible on the social dialogue website;
  • reinforcing financial support for joint follow-up actions;
  • organising national seminars in each Member State in order to raise awareness of the importance of the European social dialogue for national industrial relations.

The Commission considers there to be a need for a framework to help improve the consistency of the social dialogue outcomes and to improve transparency. It will examine the possibility of drawing up a more extensive framework.

Background

The European social dialogue has evolved since it was introduced in 1985, and it is now well-established. Quantitatively, the work of the various social dialogue committees has resulted in the adoption of more than 300 joint texts by the social partners and they have undertaken many joint transnational projects. In qualitative terms, there has been a shift towards greater autonomy. This is reflected by the increasing adoption by the social partners of ‘new generation’ texts, characterised by the fact that they are to be followed up by the social partners themselves.

This evolution of the social dialogue is consistent with the Commission’s efforts to improve European governance. The social dialogue is a pioneering example of improved consultation and the application of subsidiarity in practice.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Improving quality in work: a review of recent progress [COM(2003) 728 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Document by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs. Recent developments in the European inter-professional social dialogue 2002-03 [ ].

ENIAC

ENIAC

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ENIAC

Topics

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

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

ENIAC

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 72/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the ENIAC Joint Undertaking.

Summary

The ENIAC Joint Undertaking implements the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on nanoelectronics with a view to developing information and communication technologies. This public-private partnership aims to support investments in this area, sources of innovation and competitiveness. The JTI on nanoelectronics is thus also part of the European Research Area (ERA) and contributes to research and development (R&D).

Based in Brussels, the Joint Undertaking is a Community body with legal personality. It was set up for a period extending until 31 December 2017. The founding members of the Joint Undertaking are the Community, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the AENEAS association, which represents companies and other R&D actors operating in the field of nanoelectronics. The ENIAC Joint Undertaking is open to new members. Up to now, Austria, the Czech Republic and Norway have joined the list of members.

Objectives

The ENIAC Joint Undertaking is to contribute to the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities (Seventh Framework Programme) in the field of nanoelectronics. One of its key objectives is to encourage the development of essential skills by means of a research programme and to support its activities. It is thus aimed at encouraging European competitiveness as well as the emergence of new markets and new social applications. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also encouraged to participate.

The Joint Undertaking also aims to promote cooperation and the coordination of Community and national efforts, both public and private, in order to support R&D and investment: concentrating efforts will, in particular, make it possible to ensure that better use is made of results.

Operation

The Joint Undertaking consists of the following bodies:

  • The governing board, made up of representatives of the members of the ENIAC Joint Undertaking and the chairperson of the industry and research committee. It ensures the smooth running of the organisation and supervises the implementation of its activities;
  • The executive director, appointed for a three-year period by the governing board, is the main person responsible for day-to-day management and is the legal representative of the Joint Undertaking;
  • The public authorities board, made up of the public authorities of the Joint Undertaking which appoints their representatives and their lead delegate. Its role includes approving the scope and the launch of calls for proposals and deciding on the selection and financing of accepted proposals;
  • The industry and research committee, comprising a maximum of 25 members, is appointed by the AENEAS association. It is responsible in particular for drawing up the multiannual strategic plan and for drafting proposals concerning the Joint Undertaking’s strategy.

ENIAC’s resources consist of contributions from members and from the Community as well as revenue generated by ENIAC itself. Any legal entity that is not a member may make a contribution to ENIAC’s resources either in cash or in kind.

ENIAC’s costs consist of:

  • Operating costs, borne by its members. AENEAS also makes a contribution of up to EUR 20 million or at most 1 % of the sum of total costs for all projects. The Community’s contribution may not exceed the sum of EUR 10 million. ENIAC Member States make a contribution in kind;
  • R&D activities. The Community makes a contribution of up to EUR 440 million. The financial contributions of ENIAC Member States, equivalent to at least 1.8 times the contribution made by the Community, do not pass through the Joint Undertaking but are paid directly to the research and development bodies participating in the projects. Furthermore, those same bodies make contributions in kind whose value is equivalent to at least half the total cost of R&D activities.

R&D activities are implemented by means of projects launched as a result of competitive calls for proposals. These projects are financed by financial contributions from the Community and from participating Member States and by contributions in kind from the research and development bodies participating in the Joint Undertaking’s projects.

As a Community initiative, the Joint Undertaking and its staff are covered by Community legislation. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Communities is the authority responsible for ruling on any proceedings between members and on proceedings brought against the ENIAC Joint Undertaking. The Commission and the Court of Auditors carry out checks on recipients of any Joint Undertaking finance.

Background

The Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs placed emphasis on investment in the fields of knowledge and innovation. Therefore the JTIs, public-private partnerships implemented by Joint Undertakings, have been initiated under the Seventh Framework Programme. These JTIs stem from the work of European Technology Platforms set up under the Sixth Framework Programme.

With the “ENIAC” initiative, five other JTIs are planned in the following sectors: embedded computing systems (ARTEMIS), innovative medicines (IMI), aeronautics and air transport (CLEAN SKY), hydrogen and fuel cells (FUEL CELL), and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).

References

Act Entry into force Timescale for transposition into Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No. 72/2008

7.2.2008

OJ L 30, 4.2.2008

Environmental liability – White Paper

Environmental liability – White Paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environmental liability – White Paper

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

Other

Environmental liability – White Paper

In the run-up to drafting and adopting the Directive on environmental liability implementing the polluter pays principle, this White Paper set out the structure of the planned Community liability regime. It describes the key elements needed to make this regime effective and practicable.

Document or Iniciative

White Paper of 9 February 2000 on environmental liability [COM(2000) 66 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Environmental liability aims at making the causer of environmental damage (the polluter) pay for remedying the damage that he has caused (the “polluter pays” principle).

For the principle of liability to be effective:

  • polluters must be identifiable;
  • the damage must be quantifiable;
  • there must be a link between the polluter and the damage.

In addition, the principle of liability cannot be applied for dealing with pollution of a widespread, diffuse character (climate change).

Environmental liability is a way of implementing the main principles enshrined in Article 174 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty), above all the polluter pays principle. Polluters must pay for the damage they have caused. The application of this method will encourage the various parties concerned to take more precautions and will reduce pollution.

In most of the Member States, there are laws on liability for damage caused by activities that are hazardous to the environment, but these laws only apply with respect to damage to human health or property. What is needed is an environmental liability regime which covers damage to natural resources, at least for resources that are already protected by Community legislation (“Wild Birds” and “Habitats” Directives).

Main features of a Community environmental liability regime

The regime must not be retroactive, i.e. it should only work prospectively.’

The scope of the regime has to be defined taking account of:

  • the types of damage to be covered
    – environmental damage: damage to biodiversity and damage resulting in contamination of sites. This distinction seems to be necessary because most Member States do not have administrative rules which cover biodiversity damage, while they do have laws or programmes to deal with liability for contaminated sites;
    – traditional damage: damage to health or property caused by a dangerous activity;
  • the activities which cause such damage.

The scope must be restricted and linked to Community legislation in force (“Wild Birds” and “Habitats”). Site contamination and traditional damage will only be covered if caused by hazardous or potentially hazardous activities which are covered by Community rules. Damage to biodiversity will be covered if it is dealt with in the framework of Natura 2000.

The type of liability is itself a very sensitive matter. There are two options, fault-based liability or strict liability, each of which has its own advantages. Strict liability seems to be more appropriate for damage resulting from activities which are regarded as hazardous, while fault-based liability can be applied to damage to biodiversity caused by a non-hazardous activity. The party liable under an environmental liability regime should be the person performing the activity.

Damage to biodiversity is not generally covered by the Member States’ regulations and it would therefore be possible to start by applying a minimum threshold to Natura 2000 areas. The criteria for this should be derived from the interpretation of the Habitats Directive.

It is difficult to evaluate damage caused to biodiversity and this has to be done taking account of the cost of restoration or the cost of alternative solutions if restoration is not possible. Polluters must be required to pay damages or compensation for depollution or rehabilitation. If the polluter is unable to repair the damage as a whole for economic or technical reasons, the value of the unrestored damage should be spent on comparable projects. Insurability is important to ensure that the objectives of an environmental liability regime are attained. At the moment, there is no widespread coverage of environmental damage risks, but progress has been made in some parts of the financial markets specialising in this area.

There must be improved access to justice in cases of environmental damage. The Community environmental liability regime could contribute to the application of the Aarhus Convention, which includes specific provisions on access to justice that form a basis for different actions by individuals and public interest groups.

Possible options for Community action

Community accession to the Convention on civil liability for damage resulting from activities dangerous to the environment (Lugano Convention) would have numerous advantages. The Convention includes liability schemes which cover all types of damage caused by dangerous activities, but its scope is not exhaustive. It goes much further than several Member States whose schemes are restricted in scope and limited and, lastly, it is in conformity with the principle of international subsidiarity. Its only drawback is a low level of legal security and the fact that it does not demand the restoration of resources in a specific manner. Thus, if the Community decides to accede to the Convention, it will be necessary to supplement it with a Community act clarifying the application of environmental liability for environmental damage.

A transboundary damage regime is considered to be inadequate as it would lead to problems being dealt with in completely different ways within Member States. The persons involved in a case of transboundary damage would be pursued, while others responsible for the same activity within the country would be able to benefit from the shortcomings in the national liability regime.

A sectoral scheme based on the biotechnologies would be very difficult to consider as it would be difficult to explain to one sector why it alone had to comply with regulations but not other sectors taking similar risks.

The most coherent solution seems to be to devise a Community directive, which would be able to provide more legal certainty than the Lugano Convention, while limiting the scope and refining the rules covering damage to biodiversity. However, the Convention could provide a source of inspiration.

Subsidiarity and proportionality

The Member States have not optimally implemented the principles of environmental policy (precaution, correction, the polluter pays, etc.) and do not have measures to deal effectively with transboundary environmental damage.

A Community regime complying with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality could lay down the essential minimal requirements, but leave it to the Member States to chose the ways and means of meeting those requirements.

The overall economic impact of environmental liability at EC level

The impact of a Community liability regime on the EC’s external competitiveness must be limited. The data on existing liability regimes have been examined and these show that their impact on the competitiveness of national industries has not been disproportionate. The effectiveness of any legal liability regime depends on the existence of effective financial security based on transparency and legal certainty with regard to liability. The Community regime should be devised so as to minimise transaction costs.

In conclusion, the Commission believes that the optimum solution would be to have a framework directive, which would invoke strict liability on the part of persons performing an activity and authorise certain defences as regards traditional environmental damage, and provide for fault-based liability in the case of damage caused to biodiversity by non-hazardous activities.

Background

The White Paper was preceded by a Commission Green Paper in 1993, a joint European Parliament and Commission hearing in the same year, a Parliament Resolution asking for an EC directive and an Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee in 1994. Interested parties were consulted throughout the White Paper’s preparation.

Related Acts

Directiveof the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage [Official Journal L 143 of 30.04.2004].

The solution put forward by the Commission in the White Paper was accepted, and the process which started over ten years before finally culminated in the adoption of this Directive, the first piece of Community legislation in which implementing the polluter pays principle is one of the main objectives.

 

Environmental issues of PVC

Environmental issues of PVC

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environmental issues of PVC

Topics

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

Other

Environmental issues of PVC

The Commission assesses the impact of PVC waste on the environment and presents proposals for addressing the problems that may arise in this respect.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 26 July 2000 – Environmental issues of PVC [COM(2000) 469 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

A report on the PVC situation in Europe. Opinions vary on the effects of PVC on human health and the environment, as do the measures taken by some Member States to deal with the problem. PVC is one of today’s most widely used plastics. The European Commission therefore considers that an integrated approach is necessary. This would enable two objectives to be achieved: the proper functioning of the internal market and a high level of protection for human health and the environment.

The Green Paper follows on from the Commission’s commitment, in its draft Directive on end-of-life vehicles, to assess the impact of PVC waste on the environment in an “integrated approach”, i.e. throughout the life cycle of PVC. It is the outcome of a three-year study programme launched by the Commission on the technical, scientific and economic aspects of the PVC life cycle. The adoption of the Green Paper is an important milestone in the development of a global Community strategy on PVC.

The Green Paper tackles two main issues:

  • environmental and health questions concerning the use of certain additives in PVC (particularly lead, cadmium and phtalates);
  • the question of waste management (landfill, incineration, recycling of PVC waste): PVC waste is expected to increase by about 80% over the next twenty years.

The Green Paper also presents a range of policy options for reducing the impact on human health and the environment and for possible measures to form part of a future Community strategy on PVC.

The Commission wishes to organise the broadest possible consultation on the topics dealt with in the Green Paper, involving the general public, environmental and consumer NGOs, producers, processors and users of PVC, and the public authorities of the Member States. A public hearing was held in October 2000. On the basis of the consultation, the Commission will present a communication on the Community strategy on PVC.

Comments by interested parties were collected by the Commission until November 2000.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 21 December 2005 – Taking sustainable use of resources forward: a Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste [– Not published in the Official Journal].
This strategy sets out guidelines and describes measures aimed at reducing the pressure on the environment caused by waste production and management. The main thrust of the strategy is on amending the legislation to improve implementation, and on preventing waste and promoting effective recycling.

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety [Official Journal L 11 of 15 January 2002].
The general safety of products placed on the market is guaranteed by Community legislation, which ensures a consistent, high level of protection for the health and safety of consumers. The European Union (EU) has introduced a rapid alert system for products which pose a serious risk (RAPEX), and provisions for products to be withdrawn from the market if they are likely to put the health and safety of consumers at risk.

of the Commission of 7 December 1999 adopting measures prohibiting the placing on the market of toys and childcare articles intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age, made of soft PVC containing one or more substances containing phthalates.
Toys intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age and containing phthalates are prohibited throughout the European Union. Importing these products is also prohibited. Phthalates are toxic substances which may be found in soft PVC, a type of plastic which is also used in the manufacturing of toys.

Parliament resolution on the Commission’s Green Paper on Environmental Issues of PVC.
In this Resolution, Parliament criticises the Commission for failing to carry out an analysis of the life cycle of PVC products in order to make a comparison with alternative materials. Parliament calls on the Commission to present at the earliest opportunity a draft long-term horizontal strategy for the replacement of PVC. It proposes that the polluter pays principle be applied to PVC waste. It also calls for the necessary measures be taken to ensure the separate collection of PVC. Parliament calls on the Commission to propose banning the use of lead and cadmium in PVC. It suggests introducing a recycling system similar to that for junk automobiles and the compulsory labelling of all plastics.

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Topics

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

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 October 2011 – Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2011-2012 [COM(2011) 666 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The enlargement process has entered a new phase, due in particular to the completion of negotiations with Croatia. The country’s accession to the European Union (EU) is planned for mid-2013. In the light of this success, the European Commission intends to put its experience to use in future negotiations with other States.

The Communication assesses the current state of the EU’s enlargement agenda and sets out priorities for its 2011-2012 strategy, as well as the resources that it intends to employ in order to meet its objectives.

Priorities for the 2011-2012 Enlargement Strategy

In the context of its Enlargement Strategy, the Commission recommends:

  • strengthening the rule of law and public administration reform;
  • ensuring freedom of expression in the media;
  • enhancing regional cooperation and reconciliation in the Western Balkans;
  • supporting the economic recovery of candidate or potential candidate countries and including their economies in the Europe 2020 strategy;
  • developing transport and energy networks.

Progress in the Western Balkan countries

Accession negotiations with
Croatia
were completed in June 2011, at which date the country met the access criteria. The Accession Treaty was signed in December 2011. Provided the necessary ratification procedures have been completed, Croatia should therefore become a member of the EU on 1 July 2013.

The
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
continues to meet the political criteria. The country is currently carrying out reforms of the parliament, the judiciary, and public administration. However, the country needs to make further efforts as regards freedom of expression in the media, and fighting corruption. The Commission reiterates its proposal to open accession negotiations.

Montenegro acquired the status of candidate country in December 2010. Since then, the country has improved its legislative and institutional framework, although it needs to continue to fight corruption and organised crime. The Commission has recommended that accession negotiations be opened.

In Albania, the political stalemate persisted, both before and after the local elections in May 2011. However, dialogue between political forces in Albania was re-established towards the end of the year. The country has made limited progress as regards the political criteria for membership, but has made some progress in fighting organised crime.

Since the October 2010 elections, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been able to form a national government, and as a result, the implementation of reforms which would allow for progress towards EU membership has been delayed. Governance of the country continues to involve an international presence with an executive mandate.

Regarding Serbia, the Commission has recommended the status of candidate country, it being understood that Serbia would reinitiate dialogue with Pristina and rapidly implement, in good faith, the agreements already concluded. It also proposes to open accession negotiations with Serbia, as soon as it has made further progress in normalising its relations with Pristina. The Commission Opinion notes that Serbia has made much progress in fulfilling the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993. Moreover, the country has put in place a functioning market economy and has reached a certain degree of macroeconomic stability. In the long term, the Commission considers that Serbia should be able to take on the obligations of membership, provided that progress continues.

In Kosovo (in accordance with the statute defined by Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council), the period 2010-2011 was marked by early legislative elections, as well as the appointment of a president in April 2011. In this context, the country has made limited progress in its reform agenda, although progress has been made in trade and the establishment of a National Council for EU Integration. Organised crime and corruption nevertheless remain a concern. However, the Commission proposed the implementation of measures, as laid out in its 2009 Communication, particularly in the areas of visas, trade, and participation in EU programmes.

Progress made by Turkey

The present strategy stresses that Turkey is already integrated to a large extent into the EU in terms of trade and foreign investment through the Customs Union. However, the country needs to maintain its efforts in order to meet the political criteria for accession. It is crucial that fundamental rights are respected, such as freedom of expression, women’s rights and freedom of religion.

On the international stage, Turkey played a key role in the events occurring in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. However, its relations with Cyprus are still strained. The Commission intends to implement a new positive agenda in order to foster cooperation and dialogue with that country.

Progress made by Iceland

The period 2008-2009 was marked by economic collapse in Iceland. Little by little, the country has been recovering and has maintained some political stability, which has enabled it to continue the EU accession process. Iceland’s level of integration is quite high. The Communication notes satisfactory progress of negotiations between Iceland and the EU.

Support for the enlargement process

The Commission supports the enlargement process through:

  • financial assistance, mainly coming from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) amounting to EU 11.6 billion for 2007-2013;
  • visa-free travel and mobility which drives countries to implement reforms;
  • information and communication to obtain support from public opinion.

Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries

Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries

Topics

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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement

Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries

1) Objective

To review the progress of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey towards accession to the European Union and to establish the future strategy of the EU for these three candidate countries.

2) Document or Iniciative

Continuing enlargement: Strategy paper and Report of the European Commission on progress towards accession by Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey [COM(2003) 676 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

3) Summary

The Commission states that Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey have made significant progress towards meeting the accession criteria. Accession negotiations are well advanced with Bulgaria and Romania, and will continue on the basis of the same principles that guided the negotiations with the ten acceding countries (Estonia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia). The EU supports Bulgaria and Romania’s ambition to become members in 2007. Turkey needs to make further progress in compliance with the accession criteria. In December 2004 the European Council will take a decision regarding the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey.

Progress achieved by Bulgaria and Romania

Bulgaria and Romania have continued to comply with the Copenhagen political criteria. However, corruption remains a problem in both countries. Further efforts will still be needed to achieve efficient and capable public administrations. Problems with the living conditions of the mentally disabled and children placed in institutions still persist in Bulgaria, as do cases of degrading treatment by the police and trafficking in human beings. In Romania, solutions need to be found for problems relating to cumbersome administrative procedures, lack of transparency and inadequate capacity to apply policies.

In terms of the economic criteria, the report indicates that both candidates have viable market economies. If Bulgaria and Romania continue to apply their reform programmes, their economies will be fit to take on market forces within the EU in the near future.

Bulgaria and Romania have both made good progress with the adoption of the Community acquis. If they continue at the same pace, transposition of the acquis should be completed before the envisaged accession date. However, administrative and judicial capacity need to be further improved to allow proper application of the acquis. The quality of the legislation transposed in Romania has not always been adequate, and revisions are called for.

Pre-accession strategy for Bulgaria and Romania

At the beginning of 2004 the Commission will be presenting a three-year financial framework for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

Institution building in the candidate countries and investment in acquis-related development remain the principal objectives of Community pre-accession assistance, in particular under the Phare programme. Another priority of this assistance is economic and social cohesion.

Completion of negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania

Negotiations on the 31 chapters of the Community acquis have been opened with Bulgaria and Romania. At the date of publication of the report, 26 chapters were provisionally closed with Bulgaria, and 20 with Romania. Progress with the negotiations depends on each country’s progress in transposing and implementing the acquis. For the two countries to be able to join the Union in 2007, the Accession Treaty must be signed by the end of 2005 at the latest, and negotiations must be completed well before that.

Progress achieved by Turkey

Turkey has accelerated legislative reform to comply with the political criteria. However, it is not yet in total compliance. Further efforts are needed to close the gap between legislation and practice. The Commission emphasises that failure to reach an agreement to solve the Cyprus problem could be a serious obstacle to Turkey joining the EU. It considers that an overall settlement of the problem is possible before the accession of Cyprus to the Union on 1 May 2004.

In terms of the economic criteria, the Turkish market economy has made considerable progress. Nevertheless, some macroeconomic imbalances persist.

As regards the criterion of adopting the Community acquis, Turkey has made good progress in certain areas, but further efforts are needed in others. Administrative capacity needs to be significantly increased to improve implementation of the acquis. The independence and operation of the judiciary, the overall framework for the exercise of fundamental freedoms, alignment of civil-military relations with European practice, the situation in the South-East of the country and cultural rights are all areas in which improvement is required.

Pre-accession strategy for Turkey

Financial assistance to Turkey of EUR 1 050 million is planned for the period 2004-2006.

Turkey participates in a number of Community programmes in different fields, and in the European Environment Agency.

Opening of negotiations with Turkey

Before the end of October 2004 the Commission will publish a report on how Turkey has complied with the political accession criteria. In December 2004 the European Council will take account of this document in reaching a decision regarding the possible opening of accession negotiations with Turkey.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans

Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans

Topics

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

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans

The Commission takes stock of the political and economic situation in the candidate countries Croatia and Turkey, and in the potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, and Kosovo)

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 9 November 2005, Enlargement Strategy Paper [COM(2005)561 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

For each country the Commission sums up the progress made and the work that remains to be done. It recalls the terms of the accession and pre-accession strategies.

The Commission’s approach towards enlargement is based on three lines of action:

  • Consolidation of the commitments taken by the Union: the Union has to ensure it can maintain its capacity to act and decide according to a fair balance within its institutions. The Commission stresses that future enlargements will go at the pace dictated by each country’s performance in meeting the standards, to ensure the smooth absorption of new members.
  • Applying fair and rigorous conditionality: the Union has to demand fulfilment of the accession criteria and duly reward countries that make progress. Accession negotiations or any stage in the accession process may be suspended if these criteria are not met.
  • An improvement in the way enlargement policy is being communicated: the Union must make every effort to obtain wide public support for its enlargement policy. It needs to improve its communication about the objectives, challenges and terms of the enlargement process and present a clear strategy for the future. This must be a common and coordinated effort with the Member States. The Commission intends to organise a dialogue with civil society both in the present Member States and in the candidate countries in order to improve the debate.

TURKEY AND CROATIA

Progress made

The Commission sums up the progress made in relation to the Copenhagen criteria:

  • Political criteria: the political transition started in Turkey has slowed down somewhat in 2005. Considerable efforts have to be made in relation to fundamental freedoms and human rights. The reform process must be integrated better into the work of all public authorities. On the whole, Croatia meets the political criteria for accession. However, more needs to be done to reform its judicial system, fight corruption, improve the position of minorities and facilitate the return of refugees.
  • Economic criteria: the Turkish and Croatian economies can be regarded as functioning market systems, capable of dealing with market forces within the Union.
  • Incorporation of the Community acquis: more needs to be done to adopt and implement the acquis. Both countries need to reinforce their administrative and judicial capacity so that Community rules are effectively applied once they are introduced into national legislation.

Accession strategy

The Union started accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia in October 2005. In 2006 it intends to evaluate the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, the signing of which made it possible to start negotiations with Turkey. Negotiations with Croatia are conditional on its full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the action it has taken subsequent to the war in the former Yugoslavia.

The Council sets out the method and guiding principles of the negotiating framework. The negotiations will keep pace with the progress of each country. They can be suspended in case of serious and persistent violations of human rights, fundamental freedoms or the rule of law. The Commission may also propose their suspension if it finds that a candidate country no longer meets its obligations or criteria under the association agreements. It has lent active support to the political reform process in Turkey and Croatia and proposes Accession Partnerships reflecting the main priorities identified in the Progress Reports.

Specific arrangements may be established where the acquis is concerned. The screening of every area of legislation started in October 2005 should be finished in the autumn of 2006. The screening is intended to explain the Union’s rules and to study each country’s plan to adopt and implement the acquis. After each chapter has been screened, the Union decides, on a proposal from the Commission, whether it can be opened or what benchmarks need to be met in advance.

Croatia is already eligible for the financial pre-accession instruments (Phare, ISPA and SAPARD) and, from 2005/2006, will also qualify for the CARDS regional programme. Financial assistance amount to EUR 105 million for 2005 and EUR 140 million for 2006. Croatia can also participate in Community Programmes. Pre-accession financial assistance for Turkey amounts to EUR 300 million in 2005 and EUR 500 million in 2006.

WESTERN BALKANS

Progress made

The Commission examines the situation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro, including Kosovo.

The overall political situation is improving, but considerable challenges remain. The Commission pays particular attention to structural weaknesses. It considers that the functioning of the democratic institutions is generally improving but that the countries need to intensify reform efforts and develop an independent civil service which can manage the Europe integration process.

In spite of the reforms under way, judiciaries generally remain weak and lack independence. Reform of police services needs to continue and the countries’ anti-corruption strategies need to be redefined and updated. The Commission notes clear progress in cooperation with the ICTY by Bosnia and Herzegovina and by Serbia and Montenegro. A significant number of indictees have been transferred. However, full cooperation has still not been achieved.

Increasing regional cooperation is important for further stabilisation and reconciliation. To achieve this, the Commission suggests reforming the Balkans Stability Pact by gradually transferring its main functions to the region.

Macroeconomic stability in the region has increased. However, the current account deficit (movement of goods and services and investment income flows between these countries and third countries) remained too high and structural reforms progressed unevenly. In order to establish functioning market economies, the Western Balkan States need to ensure further liberalisation and privatisation and introduce appropriate regulatory frameworks and structures of corporate governance.

Pre-accession strategy and roadmap

The Commission insists on the principle of conditionality, i.e. the idea that every Western Balkan country may become a member of the Union if it meets the conditions. The negotiations will keep pace with the implementation of reforms in each country.

As potential candidates these countries are already eligible for certain types of EU aid: access to Community programmes, trade preferences for their products and assistance in meeting the Union’s standards.

Accession will proceed according to the roadmap:

  • Negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) cannot be started unless the country involved is sufficiently stable. The Commission will then draw up a feasibility report and recommend that the Council start negotiations.
  • An SAA prepares a State for future accession by introducing Community rules in various fields. The signing of an SAA is proof that a country is capable of deepening its relationship with the Union. Two SAAs have been signed to date: one with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and one with Croatia. Albania is finalising such an agreement, Serbia and Montenegro has entered into negotiations and Bosnia and Herzegovina is preparing to.
  • After concluding an SAA, a country may apply for membership. On the basis of the Commission’s opinion, the Union may decide to grant the applicant country candidate status and politically recognise the close relationship it has entered into with that country.
  • The candidate country needs to reach a sufficient degree of general compliance with the Copenhagen criteria before accession negotiations can be opened. The Commission regularly reports on progress. On the basis of the Commission’s recommendation the European Council decides on the opening of negotiations and lays down the framework to be approved by an intergovernmental conference.

The candidate countries will be guided in their efforts by European partnerships setting the priorities and imposing specific measures to be implemented. They must present their action plans accordingly and integrate these priorities into their internal political programme. EU assistance to the Western Balkans in carrying out the partnership measures amounts to EUR 539 million.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.