Tag Archives: European convention

Building europe through the treaties

Building europe through the treaties

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Building europe through the treaties

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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

Building europe through the treaties

The signing of the Community Treaties (ECSC in 1951, EEC and Euratom in 1957) marked the starting point for over 50 years of European treaties. The ‘founding’ Treaties establishing the European Communities and the European Union, together with the major amending Treaties, constitute the primary legislation; in other words, they are the supreme law of the Union and of the European Communities.
The Treaties, which are agreed by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States, contain the formal and substantive rules on the basis of which the institutions implement the various policies of the Communities and of the Union. They lay down the formal rules, setting out the division of powers between the Union and the Member States, and conferring powers on the institutions. They also determine the substantive rules defining the scope of policies and the activities of the institutions within each policy area.

  • Introduction
  • The Lisbon Treaty: a comprehensive guide

SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENTS: FROM THE SINGLE ACT TO THE TREATY OF NICE

  • The Single European Act
  • Treaty of Maastricht on European Union
  • The Amsterdam treaty: a comprehensive guide

FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

  • Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC Treaty
  • Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, EEC Treaty – original text (non-consolidated version)
  • Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)

Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children

Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children

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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/93/EC of 19 December 2002 authorising the Member States, in the interest of the Community, to sign the 1996 Hague Convention on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, enforcement and cooperation in respect of parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children.

Summary

The Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children was concluded within the framework of The Hague Conference on Private International Law on 19 October 1996. However, only sovereign states may accede to the convention. By way of exception, the Council therefore authorises the European Union (EU) countries to sign the convention.

Nevertheless, the EU retains exclusive competence for the provisions of the convention that fall within the scope of the regulation on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgements in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility (the “Brussels II” Regulation). Consequently, EU countries must make a declaration upon signing the convention, whereby EU law continues to be applied to the recognition and enforcement within the Union of judgments given on matters relating to the convention by an EU country.

Scope

The convention contributes to the protection of children at international level. It applies to children up to 18 years of age, aiming to establish:

  • the country having jurisdiction to take measures to protect a child or his/her property;
  • the law applicable for exercising this jurisdiction;
  • the law applicable to parental responsibility;
  • recognition and enforcement of the protection measures in all signatory countries;
  • cooperation between the signatory countries.

The measures aimed at protecting a child relate to:

  • parental responsibility;
  • the rights of custody;
  • guardianship;
  • the representation of the child;
  • the placement of the child in foster or other care;
  • the supervision of the care provided to the child;
  • the management of the child’s property.

Jurisdiction

In general, the country of the child’s habitual residence has jurisdiction to take measures to protect the child or his/her property. For refugee or internationally displaced children or for children whose habitual residence cannot be established, the country in which they are present has jurisdiction.

In a particular case, if another country appears to be better placed for assessing the best interests of the child, it may be allowed to assume jurisdiction. In cases of emergency, the country on whose territory the child or his/her property is present may exercise jurisdiction to take any necessary protection measures.

Applicable law

The country exercising its jurisdiction does so under the rules of its own law. Under exceptional circumstances, it may apply or take into consideration the law of another country that is closely connected to the situation, provided that this is in the best interest of the child. The application of the law designated by the convention can only be refused for public policy reasons, and provided that it is in the best interest of the child.

Recognition and enforcement

The measures a signatory country takes under this convention to protect a child or his/her property must be recognised in all other signatory countries. Only in a limited number of cases, as specified in the convention, may recognition be refused. When protection measures are declared enforceable in another country, that country must enforce the measures as if it had taken them itself and carry out the enforcement in accordance with its own law.

Cooperation

Each signatory country must designate one or more central authorities to carry out the obligations imposed upon it by the convention. These authorities are to cooperate and exchange information with each other, as well as to promote cooperation among their national authorities.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/93/EC

1.6.2003

OJ L 48 of 21.2.2003

Related Acts

Council Decision 2008/431/EC of 5 June 2008 authorising certain Member States to ratify, or accede to, in the interests of the European Community, the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and authorising certain Member States to make a declaration on the application of the relevant internal rules of Community law [Official Journal L 151 of 11.6.2008].
This decision authorises EU countries that have not yet ratified or acceded to the convention to do so. This concerns Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In view of depositing their instruments of ratification or accession simultaneously, these countries are to exchange information with the Commission and Council on the status of the related procedures. This exchange should take place before 5 December 2009, after which the date of the simultaneous deposit (preferably before 5 June 2010) will be established.
This decision also authorises Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland to make a declaration aimed at ensuring that EU rules on recognition and enforcement of judgements will continue to apply in the Union.

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

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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].

Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

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Environment > Water protection and management

Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

Acts

Council Decision 77/585/EEC of 25 July 1977 concluding the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the Protocol for the prevention of the pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft.

Council Decision 81/420/EEC of 19 May 1981 on the conclusion of the Protocol concerning cooperation in combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency.

Council Decision 83/101/EEC of 28 February 1983 concluding the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources.

Council Decision 84/132/EEC of 1 March 1984 on the conclusion of the Protocol concerning Mediterranean specially protected areas.

Council Decision 2004/575/EC of 29 April 2004 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea.

Council Decision 2010/631/EU of 13 September 2010 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean.

Summary

Decision 77/585/EEC enables the Community to accede to the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution (Barcelona Convention) and the Protocol for the prevention of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft. The purpose of these two instruments, together with the protocols to which the Community has subsequently acceded (by Decisions 81/420/EEC, 83/101/EEC, 84/132/EEC 2004/575/EC and 2010/631/EU), is to limit pollution in the Mediterranean region.

Barcelona Convention

The Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution was adopted in Barcelona on 16 February 1976 and amended on 10 June 1995. Over time, its mandate has been widened to include planning and the integrated management of the coastal region.

The 22 Contracting Parties * to the Convention will individually or jointly take all appropriate measures to protect and improve the Mediterranean marine environment in order to contribute to sustainable development. In order to meet this objective, the Parties undertake to reduce, combat and, as far as possible, eliminate pollution in this area.

The main aims of the Convention consist of:

  • assessing and controlling pollution;
  • carrying out the sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources;
  • integrating the environment into economic and soci al development;
  • protecting the marine environment and coastal regions through action aimed at preventing and reducing pollution and, as far as possible, eliminating it, whether it is due to activities on land or at sea;
  • protecting natural and cultural heritage;
  • strengthening solidarity between countries bordering the Mediterranean; and
  • contributing to improving quality of life.

The Convention encourages the Parties to:

  • introduce a system of cooperation and information to reduce or eliminate pollution resulting from a critical situation in the Mediterranean;
  • establish a continuous pollution monitoring system;
  • cooperate in the fields of science and technology;
  • work out appropriate procedures for the determination of liability and compensation for damage resulting from pollution deriving from violations of the provisions of the Convention;
  • draft procedures enabling them to monitor application of the Convention.

The Convention lays down mechanisms for the settlement of disputes and for arbitration to settle any disputes between the Parties on the interpretation or application of the Convention.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) carries out secretariat functions in the framework of the implementation of the Convention (convening and preparing meetings, coordination, etc.).

The Convention was amended in 1995. The main amendments concerned:

  • the extension of the Convention’s geographical field of application to the coast;
  • the application of the precautionary principle;
  • the application of the “polluter pays” principle;
  • the promotion of impact assessments;
  • the protection and preservation of biological diversity;
  • combating pollution from cross-border movements of dangerous waste;
  • access to information and public participation.

Protocol for the prevention of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft

The Protocol covers only pollution of the region of the Mediterranean Sea caused by ships and aircraft.

Dumping of certain types of waste and matter (toxic organohalogen and organosilicon compounds, mercury, cadmium, plastics, crude oil, etc.) is prohibited.

Dumping of other matter or types of waste (arsenic, lead, copper, zinc, chrome, nickel, containers, scrap metal, certain types of pesticides, etc.) is subject to the prior issue of a permit by the competent national authorities.

Such permits may be issued only after careful consideration of a number of factors (characteristics and composition of the matter, characteristics of dumping site and method of deposit, general considerations and conditions).

Ships and aircraft used for other than governmental and non-commercial purposes are excluded from the scope of the Protocol.

Since 1995, a number of amendments have been added to the Protocol. These amendments concern, in particular, the clarification of terms defined by the Protocol, waste or other matter authorised for dumping subject to the issue of a special permit, the ban on incineration at sea, and the procedure to follow in the event of a critical and exceptional situation.

Protocol concerning cooperation in combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency

This Protocol stipulates that the Parties will cooperate when a huge quantity of oil and/or other harmful substances in the Mediterranean Sea, whether accidental or cumulative, presents a serious and imminent danger to the marine environment, the coast or the economic, health or ecological interests of one or more Parties.

This cooperation focuses on drawing up emergency plans, promoting measures for combating oil pollution in the sea, monitoring and exchanging information regarding the state of the Mediterranean Sea, disseminating information on the organisation of resources and on new methods to prevent and combat pollution, and developing research programmes on the subject.

The Protocol requires all Parties facing a critical situation to carry out the necessary, precise evaluations concerning the nature and the size of the accident, take all measures likely to reduce or eliminate the effects of this pollution, and inform other Parties, either directly or through the Regional Centre for the Mediterranean Sea created by the Barcelona Convention, of these evaluations and actions undertaken.

Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources

The purpose of this Protocol is to combat pollution in the Mediterranean Sea caused by discharges from rivers, outfalls, canals or other watercourses, or pollution emanating from any other source or activity within the territory of the States Party to the Protocol.

The Protocol lists the substances of which discharge is prohibited, and the factors which should be taken into account in order to eliminate pollution from these substances. It also lists substances for which discharge is subject to authorisation by the competent national authorities. This authorisation must take particular account of the characteristics and composition of the waste, the characteristics of the elements in the waste in terms of harmfulness, the characteristics of the place where the waste is discharged and the marine environment it is entering, the techniques available to manage the waste, as well as possible damage to marine ecosystems and its effect on sea water usage.

The Protocol also stipulates cooperation regarding research and information, and the adoption of appropriate programmes, measures and standards aimed at reducing or eliminating the targeted substances.

Since 1996, a number of amendments have been added to the Protocol. These amendments concern, in particular, the application of the precautionary principle, the extension of the scope of the Protocol to airborne pollution of land-based origin, the regulatory system for waste discharge, the continued monitoring of pollution levels, and technical assistance to developing countries.

Protocol concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean

The Protocol concerning specially protected areas in the Mediterranean, to which the Community acceded in 1984, protects natural resources in the Mediterranean region, preserves the diversity of the gene pool and protects certain natural sites by creating a series of specially preserved areas.

The Protocol as amended in 1995 makes a distinction between specially protected areas (already provided for in the former Protocol) and specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance. It stipulates that the Parties develop guidelines for establishing and managing protected areas and lists a certain number of appropriate measures which the Parties must adopt, including:

  • prohibiting the discharge or unloading of waste;
  • regulating shipping operations;
  • regulating the introduction of any non-indigenous or genetically modified species;
  • any other measures protecting the ecological and biological processes and the countryside.

Furthermore, it introduces national or local measures which the Parties must take in order to protect animal and plant species throughout the Mediterranean area.

The Protocol also provides for exemptions to be granted because of traditional activities carried out by local populations. However, these exemptions must not compromise the preservation of the protected ecosystems, nor the biological processes making up these ecosystems, nor must they cause the extinction or a substantial fall in numbers of any species or animal or plant populations included within the protected ecosystems.

The annexes to the new Protocol include a list of common criteria which the Parties must respect when choosing which marine and coastal areas are to be protected under the system of specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance. The annexes also list threatened or endangered species as well as including a list of species whose exploitation is regulated.

Protocol concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea

This Protocol updates the legal mechanisms in the Barcelona Convention by incorporating in it measures concerning cooperation between Parties regarding prevention and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution in the Mediterranean caused by ships. It also endeavours to promote the development and implementation of international regulations adopted in the framework of the International Maritime Organization.

Cooperation focuses on maintaining and promoting emergency plans and other means for preventing and combating pollution from ships, adequate monitoring of the Mediterranean Sea, efforts to recover harmful and potentially dangerous substances, as well as disseminating and exchanging information.

The Protocol also stipulates operational measures which the Parties must take in the event of pollution caused by ships (evaluation, elimination/reduction, information measures), as well as emergency measures which must be taken on board ships, in offshore installations and in ports (in particular the availability of and compliance with emergency plans).

Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean

This Protocol, which aims at establishing a common framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management * (ICZM) in the Mediterranean, entered into force on 24 March 2011. It is the first instrument of international law to be entirely and solely devoted to ICZM.

ICZM has six aims:

  • sustainable development of coastal zones by rational planning of activities;
  • preservation of coastal zones;
  • sustainable use of natural resources;
  • preservation of ecosystems and coastlines;
  • prevention and reduction of natural disasters and climate change;
  • improvement of cooperation.

Furthermore, the Protocol defines the general principles of ICZM, the coordinating procedures required for its implementation, its founding pillars, and the instruments of ICZM.

Key terms of the Act
  • Contracting Parties: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus, the European Community, Croatia, Egypt, Spain, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey.
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management: a dynamic process for the sustainable management and use of coastal zones, taking into account at the same time the fragility of coastal ecosystems and landscapes, the diversity of activities and uses, interactions between the latter, the maritime vocation of some of the latter, and their impact both on land and sea.

References

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

Decision 77/585/EEC

25.7.1977

OJ L 240, 19.9.1977

Decision 81/420/EEC

19.5.1981

OJ L 162, 19.6.1981

Decision 83/101/EEC

28.2.1983

OJ L 67, 12.3.1983

Decision 84/132/EEC

1.3.1984

OJ L 68, 10.3.1984

Decision 2004/575/EC

29.4.2004

OJ L 261, 6.8.2004

Decision 2010/631/EU

13.9.2010

OJ L 279, 23.10.2010