Tag Archives: European cooperation

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common objectives for voluntary activities

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 > Youth

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 30 April 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth – Proposed common objectives for voluntary activities among young people in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 337 final – Official Journal C 122 of 30.4.2004].

Summary

The overall objective of the proposal is to develop, facilitate, promote and recognise voluntary activities at all levels. On the basis of European Union (EU) countries’ replies to the questionnaire on voluntary activities at national level, the Commission has proposed four common objectives:

  • to develop the voluntary activities of young people with the aim of enhancing the transparency of existing opportunities, enlarging their scope and improving their quality;
  • to make it easier for young people to carry out voluntary activities by removing the existing obstacles;
  • to promote voluntary activities with a view to reinforcing young people’s solidarity and engagement as citizens;
  • to recognise voluntary activities of young people with a view to acknowledging their personal skills and their commitment to society.

In order to ensure that these objectives are properly transposed, the Commission proposes measures for each objective. These include the following:

  • strengthening voluntary organisations, stepping up exchanges of information, and extending the European Voluntary Service (EVS) within the Youth programme 2000-06;
  • simplifying legal, administrative, fiscal and social constraints, for example by exchanging information and best practice;
  • encouraging the participation of young people by disseminating information at all appropriate levels (local, regional, national, European), by encouraging closer cooperation between the various groups involved (young people, youth organisations, voluntary organisations, public authorities, private sector, etc.), and by putting an end to the exclusion of certain categories of young people;
  • guaranteeing recognition of voluntary activities by means of certificates, reward schemes and awards, by introducing at national level concepts such as National Volunteers Day and European Youth Week, and by consolidating projects such as Europass.

For the sake of clarity, the report also makes a distinction between the following concepts:

  • voluntary activity: includes all kinds of voluntary engagement;
  • voluntary service: voluntary activity characterised by the following aspects: fixed period; clear objectives, content, tasks, structure and framework; appropriate support; and legal and social protection;
  • civic service: voluntary service managed by or on behalf of the State, e.g. in the social field or in civil protection;
  • civilian service: an alternative to compulsory military service in some countries, but not voluntary.

The first European conference on civic service and youth was held in Rome on 28-29 November 2003. The conference was designed to allow an exchange of views, activities and national practices on the civic service of young people. Another objective of the conference was to identify ways of achieving closer cooperation between civic services at European level, including the EVS.

Under the open method of coordination, the Commission proposes that EU countries undertake to achieve all the objectives and submit reports on their national contributions by the end of 2006.

Background

Following the new framework for cooperation, which identified voluntary activities as a priority issue, the Commission sent a questionnaire to EU countries in order to ascertain their situations and their expectations at European level. It consulted the European Youth Forum and called on EU countries to ask for the opinions of young volunteers, youth organisations and volunteer organisations.

Related Acts

Council Recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 14 February 2002 on the added value of voluntary activity for young people in the context of the development of Community action on youth [Official Journal C 50 of 23.2.2002].

European Commission White Paper of 21 November 2001 – A new impetus for European youth [COM(2001) 681 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers [Official Journal L 215 of 9.8.2001].

Priorities for vocational education and training

Priorities for vocational education and training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Priorities for vocational education and training

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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

Priorities for vocational education and training (2011-2020)

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training for the period 2011-2020 [OJ C 324 of 1.12.2010].

Summary

The Council sets the priorities of the Copenhagen process for the period 2011-2020. The Copenhagen process aims to improve the quality and attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training (VET) by strengthening cooperation at European level.

These updated objectives will help to achieve the priorities and initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. VET is crucial in achieving two of the strategy’s objectives: by 2020, to increase the percentage of 30-34 year olds graduating from tertiary education to at least 40 %, and to reduce the proportion of early school leavers to below 10 %.

A global vision

The Council estimates that, to be completely effective, VET policies must opt for a global approach taking into account social and employment policies.

By 2020, VET systems should be more attractive and accessible to all, providing quality education with high labour market relevance. They must be flexible enough to allow permeability between the different education systems (school education, higher education, etc.). Continuing VET must be easily accessible and more career-oriented. Options for undertaking part of one’s vocational education or training abroad must be increased.

2011-2020 objectives

Several strategic objectives to be achieved by 2020 are defined. Each of them is accompanied by short-term deliverables (2011-2014) to be pursued at national level, together with details of the support provided by the European Union (EU) to achieve them. Six strategic objectives have been identified, namely:

  • making initial VET an attractive learning option. In the short term, national authorities are requested to promote the attractiveness of VET, but also to support activities which enable students to become acquainted with the different vocational trades and career possibilities available.
  • fostering the excellence, quality and relevance of VET to the labour market. Between 2011 and 2014, progress must be made in establishing national quality assurance frameworks. Cooperation between VET institutions and enterprises must also be strengthened, particularly by organising traineeships for teachers in enterprises. VET institutions should receive feedback on the employability of their graduates.
  • enabling flexible access to training and qualifications. At national level and in the short term, it will be necessary to review the use of incentives for participating in VET and the rights and obligations of the stakeholders involved. National authorities should also take appropriate measures to encourage participation in continuing VET. Referencing between the levels of the European Qualifications Framework and those of the national frameworks should be established by 2012.
  • encouraging international mobility in VET. To do so, Member States should specifically encourage students and professionals to participate in a mobility programme, and also encourage local and regional authorities and VET institutions to develop internationalisation strategies. Language learning should be integrated into curricula.
  • promoting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, and the use of new technologies. At national level, partnerships between VET institutions, higher education establishments, and design, art, research and innovation centres should be encouraged. VET institutions should be provided with the necessary equipment in terms of new technologies. Promoting practical experience should also encourage entrepreneurship.
  • making VET accessible to all, in particular by improving its contribution to tackling early school leaving. The participation of low-skilled and other ‘at risk’ groups should be encouraged through the use of appropriate guidance and support services, new technologies, and existing monitoring systems.

The Council also defines four transversal objectives:

  • increasing the involvement of VET stakeholders and making the results obtained through European cooperation better known;
  • coordinating the governance of European and national instruments in the areas of transparency, recognition, quality assurance and mobility;
  • intensifying cooperation between VET policy and other relevant policy areas;
  • improving the quality and comparability of data for EU policy-making in VET;
  • making good use of EU support.

Context

The objectives defined in the conclusions have been endorsed by the Bruges Communiquéof 7 December 2010 adopted by the Education Ministers of thirty-three European countries, social partners and the European Commission. This Communiqué constitutes the last update of the Copenhagen process.

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

Cooperation in vocational education and training

Cooperation in vocational education and training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation in vocational education and training

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

Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 24 January 2009, meeting within the Council, on the future priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) [Official Journal C 18 of 24.1.2009].

Summary

These conclusions provide for voluntary measures whereby Member States may cooperate in order to enhance the quality and efficiency of vocational education and training (VET). They identify four priority areas for the period 2008-10 that need to be dealt with, in addition to the priorities and guidelines set out in the Copenhagen process.

Implementing common European tools and schemes to promote cooperation in VET

National qualifications systems and frameworks that are based on learning outcomes should be set up in line with the European Qualifications Framework. It is essential that these as well as the future European Credit system for VET (ECVET) and European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) be implemented. To this end, pilot projects, coherent methods and tools, including tools to validate informal and non-formal learning outcomes, as well as quality assurance instruments should be developed.

Promoting the quality and attractiveness of VET systems

The attractiveness of VET should be promoted to all target groups, in particular among students, adults and enterprises. At the same time, it should be ensured that access to and participation in VET is open to all, with due regard given to people or groups at risk of exclusion. Similarly, information, lifelong guidance and counselling services should be made more accessible. Paths enabling the progress from one qualifications level to another should also be made easier.

Common tools should be created to promote the quality of VET systems. In particular, quality assurance mechanisms should be developed through the future EQARF. VET policies should be based on consistent data, the collection of which must be improved. In addition, more should be invested in the training of VET trainers, language learning adapted to VET should be developed, innovation and creativity in VET should be promoted, and the permeability and continuity of learning paths between different levels of education should be enhanced.

Developing the links between VET and the labour market

In order to improve the links between VET and the labour market, it is essential to continue developing forward-planning mechanisms that centre on jobs and skills, recognising possible skill shortages. Simultaneously, the participation of social partners and economic stakeholders in developing VET policies needs to be ensured.

Guidance and counselling services should be improved, so that the transition from training to employment may occur more smoothly. The mechanisms that promote adult training should also be improved to further career opportunities as well as business competitiveness. Furthermore, efforts should be made to proceed with the validation and recognition of informal and non-formal learning outcomes. The mobility of people in work-related training should also be given a boost, in particular by strengthening the appropriate Community programmes. Finally, the role of higher education in VET and in relation to labour market integration should be strengthened.

Enhancing European cooperation

Peer learning activities should be made more effective and their results used to form national policies in VET. It should also be ensured that priorities linked to VET are well integrated and visible within the future strategic framework for European cooperation in the field of education and training. VET should be better linked to policies concerning other education levels, multilingualism and youth. In addition, collaboration with third countries and international organisations needs to be strengthened.

The Commission and Member States are encouraged to implement, within the limits of their respective competences, the measures established under these four priority areas. They should use appropriate means of funding, both private and public, in order to further national level reforms and implement Community tools. They should also continue enhancing the scope and quality of VET statistics as well as developing a clearer VET element for the coherent framework of indicators and benchmarks. In addition, they should continue developing activities concerning future skills needs.

The Commission and Member States should exchange information and collaborate on VET with third countries. Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are also closely involved in supporting the Commission on VET-related issues.

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

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

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

Document or Iniciative

Declaration of the European Ministers of Vocational Education and Training, and the European Commission, convened in Copenhagen on 29 and 30 November 2002, on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training – “The Copenhagen Declaration ” [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Copenhagen Declaration set the priorities of the Copenhagen process on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET). This process aims to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of VET in Europe. It seeks to encourage the use of the various vocational training opportunities within the lifelong learning (LLL) context and with the help of the LLL tools.

The Copenhagen process consists of:

  • a political dimension, aiming to establish common European objectives and reform national VET systems;
  • the development of common European frameworks and tools that increase the transparency and quality of competences and qualifications and facilitate mobility;
  • cooperation to foster mutual learning at European level and to involve all relevant stakeholders at national level.

The priorities set by the Copenhagen Declaration provide the basis for voluntary cooperation in VET. With the target of 2010, they aim at:

  • reinforcing the European dimension in VET;
  • increasing information, guidance and counselling on, as well as the transparency of, VET;
  • developing tools for the mutual recognition and validation of competences and qualifications;
  • improving quality assurance in VET.

Maastricht Communiquéof 14 December 2004 on the future priorities of enhanced European cooperation in VET

The Maastricht Communiqué confirms the success of the Copenhagen process in raising the visibility and profile of VET at the European level. At the same time, it develops the priorities set by the Copenhagen Declaration. In addition, and for the first time, specific priorities for national level work on VET are provided:

  • application of common instruments and references in reforming and developing VET systems and practices;
  • increasing public/private investment in VET;
  • drawing support from European funds (such as social and regional development) to develop VET;
  • development of VET systems to cater for the needs of disadvantaged people and groups;
  • establishment of open learning approaches as well as flexible and open VET frameworks to enable mobility between different educational levels and contexts;
  • improving the relevance and quality of VET in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders;
  • development of learning-conducive environments both in educational institutions and in the workplace;
  • promotion of VET teachers’ and trainers’ continuous competence development.

Helsinki Communiquéof 5 December 2006 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Helsinki Communiqué evaluates the Copenhagen process, as well as reviews its priorities and strategies. Since the adoption of the Maastricht Communiqué, progress has been achieved on the common European frameworks and tools for VET. The EUROPASS single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competencies was adopted and work is underway on the European Qualifications Framework, the European Credit System for VET (ECVET) and the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET. Strengthened action is now needed on the following priorities:

  • improving the image, status, attractiveness and quality of VET;
  • developing, testing and implementing common European tools for VET, so that they will be in place by 2010;
  • taking a systematic approach to strengthening mutual learning and cooperation, in particular with the use of consistent and comparable data and indicators;
  • involving all stakeholders in the implementation of the Copenhagen process.

Bordeaux Communiquéof 26 November 2008 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training

The Bordeaux Communiqué reviews the priorities and strategies of the Copenhagen process in light of a future education and training programme post-2010. The process has proved to be effective in promoting the image of VET, while maintaining the diversity of national VET systems. Nevertheless, new impetus is needed, in particular regarding the:

  • implementation of VET tools and schemes to promote cooperation at the European and national levels;
  • further improvement of the quality of VET systems and promotion of the attractiveness of VET to all target groups;
  • creation of better links between VET and the labour market;
  • consolidation of European cooperation arrangements.

Bruges Communiquéof 7 December 2010 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training for the period 2011-20

The Bruges Communiqué provides long-term strategic objectives for European cooperation in VET for the period 2011-20. These objectives draw from past achievements and aim to respond to current and future challenges, while taking into account the underlying principles of the Copenhagen process.

The Copenhagen process has significantly helped raise awareness of VET at the European and national levels, in particular through the implementation of the common European VET tools, principles and guidelines. It has triggered profound reforms which have lead to a shift to a learning outcomes approach. Nevertheless, there is a need to improve communication in order to better involve all relevant stakeholders, as well as to better link VET to other policies in order to address socio-economic challenges and make mobility and LLL a reality.

For VET to respond to current and future challenges, European education and training systems must:

  • be flexible and of high quality;
  • adapt to labour market evolutions and understand emerging sectors and skills;
  • ensure the provision of tailored and easily accessible continuing training;
  • ensure the sustainability and excellence of VET through a common approach to quality assurance;
  • empower people to adapt to and manage change by enabling them to acquire key competences;
  • be inclusive;
  • facilitate and encourage VET learners’ and teachers’ transnational mobility;
  • secure sustainable funding for VET and ensure the efficient and equitable use of this funding.

The Copenhagen process forms an integral part of the “Education and Training 2020” (ET2020) strategic framework and will contribute to achieving the education-related targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. With these in mind, the global vision for VET calls for European VET systems that are more attractive, inclusive, relevant, accessible, career-oriented, flexible and innovative by 2020. Based on this vision, the 11 long-term strategic objectives for European cooperation in VET for the period 2011-20, together with the 22 short-term deliverables for the period 2011-14 that provide concrete actions at national level for achieving the strategic objectives, call in particular for:

  • the strengthening of the quality and efficiency as well as the attractiveness and relevance of VET;
  • the realisation of LLL and mobility;
  • the development of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.

Background

The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 recognised the importance of developing high quality VET to promote social inclusion, cohesion, mobility, employability and competitiveness.

The Barcelona European Council of March 2002 called for the creation of a process specific to VET, which would contribute to making European education and training systems a world quality reference by 2010. As a result, the Council adopted in November 2002 a resolution on enhanced cooperation in VET.

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Rare diseases: Europe’s challenges

The Commission proposes a strategic approach to improving the recognition of rare diseases and patient access to suitable treatment. It supports cooperation between the European Union (EU) Member States and the development of a network of experts made up of health professionals.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 November 2008 on Rare Diseases – Europe’s challenges [COM(2008) 679 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Rare diseases, 80% being genetic in origin, are defined as those diseases which affect not more than 5 per 10 000 persons in Europe. The limited number of patients accounts for the current low level of medical knowledge and expertise, even though these diseases can lead to the death or disability of the people affected.

This communication presents a comprehensive Community strategy aimed at supporting the recognition, prevention, management and treatment of rare diseases. The Commission encourages Member States to share their knowledge and resources in this field. The Commission will be assisted by the European Union Advisory Committee on Rare Diseases (EUACRD).

Identification and visibility

The Commission is contributing to the development of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to the classification and codification of rare diseases in the new version of this classification. The Commission also supports the development of an evolving European database aimed at professionals and patients.

Information networks and European Reference Networks for rare diseases are essential means for exchanging best practice and epidemiological expertise.

Screening, diagnosis and prevention

Member States should be able to use comparable data with regard to the screening and primary prevention of rare diseases. Early diagnosis of diseases can be made using biological tests. The design and validation of these tests can be facilitated through the establishment of European reference networks of expert diagnostic laboratories.

Access to care

Member States are undertaking concrete measures to ensure the quality of and universal access to care, in particular by establishing centres of expertise at national and regional levels. Their activity could be extended to providing social services in order to improve the quality of life of patients.

Access to medication

National authorities should proceed with a joint scientific assessment of orphan medicinal products. Member States should adapt their pricing and reimbursement systems on the basis of this assessment.

The Commission requests that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) encourage a common approach to improving access to compassionate use programmes. These programmes allow the provision of new medicines before they have been approved and/or reimbursed.

Regulations applicable to medical devices should be adapted to the market for orphan medicinal products. The Commission should also provide for incentive measures to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments.

e-Health

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) contribute to facilitating the exchange of scientific data. The telemedicine systems and services can enable professionals to share their expertise and to gain specialist knowledge.

Scientific research is supported by the 7th Framework Programme, which funds the development of computer assisted modelling, in particular, with the aim of increasing knowledge of the physiological and pathological processes of rare diseases.

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Council recommendation of 11 November 2008 on a European action in the field of rare diseases[COM(2008) 726 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Proposal is based on the conclusions of the communication of 11 November 2008 which promotes a European strategic approach to rare diseases. In this context, the Council invites Member States to:

  • establish strategies and national plans before 2013 in order to ensure universal access to and the high quality of care;
  • adopt a European definition of rare diseases so that they can be referenced and coded more easily in care and reimbursement systems;
  • identify research priorities and ongoing projects, with particular regard to basic, clinical and translational research and enable patients to benefit from new therapeutic advances;
  • encourage the development of national and regional centres of expertise, cross-border care and expert networks;
  • adopt common methods in terms of screening, treatment and monitoring therapeutic techniques;
  • support the activities of parent associations;
  • ensure the viability of research infrastructures at national and European levels.

The Commission is invited to inform the Council on the progress of actions undertaken by Member States as part of the comprehensive strategy on rare diseases.

Rare diseases

Rare diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rare diseases

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Rare diseases

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation 2009/C 151/02 of 8 June 2009 on an action in the field of rare diseases.

Summary

This Recommendation aims at introducing measures at European level to increase level of knowledge on rare diseases, as well as improve the quality of life and care of patients.

Plans and strategies

The European Commission recommends that Member States introduce plans or strategies to combat rare diseases. The aim is provide patients suffering from these diseases with high quality care, diagnosis, treatment and effective orphan drugs.

In this regard, Member States are encouraged to adopt a plan or strategy under their respective social and health schemes by 2013. These plans or strategies should integrate all current and future initiatives at local, regional and national levels in the field of rare diseases.

These national initiatives should form part of the framework of the European Project for Rare Diseases National Plans Development (EUROPLAN), which itself belongs to the Community action programme in the field of public health for 2008-2013.

Definitions, codification and inventorying

At present, a rare disease is defined as such if it does not affect more than 5 in 10 000 persons. The Commission considers this definition needs expanding and encourages Member States to work together on a definition which takes into account the parameters of incidence.

The Commission action aims to facilitate the coding and traceability of rare diseases in all health information systems, and particularly in the future version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). An inventory could be established on the basis of the Orphanet network or other networks.

Member States are called upon to support specific information networks, registers and databases relating to diseases.

Research

Current knowledge in research on rare diseases should be updated.

Needs and priorities should be determined in the field of basic, clinical, translational and social research before encouraging national researchers to participate in this kind of programme.

The European Commission is responsible for establishing cooperation with third countries and fostering the exchange of information and the sharing of expertise.

Centres of expertise and European Reference Networks

The Commission invites Member States to identify qualified centres of expertise by the end of 2013 and ensure that these centres benefit from support measures. These centres are to be encouraged to participate in European Reference Networks and to develop a multidisciplinary approach.

Healthcare pathways for patients suffering from a rare disease should be created through cooperation between experts and professionals in this field. Experts should be mobile in order to facilitate the treatment of patients in their own environment.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as telemedicine should be integrated, ensuring distant access to specific healthcare.

Gathering expertise at European level

The Commission considers it crucial to gather different national experts in the field of rare diseases together in order to support:

  • the exchange of best practice in terms of diagnostic tools and medical care as well as education and social care;
  • teaching and training for healthcare professionals;
  • medical training in the diagnosis of diseases and aspects related to genetics, immunology, neurology, oncology or paediatrics;
  • guidelines on population screening;
  • exchange of information between Member States.

Empowerment of patient organisations

The creation and development of associations for patients suffering from rare diseases are encouraged insofar as this facilitates access for patients to up-to-date information.

Context

A first Community action programme on rare diseases covering the period 1999 to 2003 defined a rare disease as a disease affecting less than 5 in 10 000 persons. Its aim was to improve knowledge in this field. This Recommendation forms part of this perspective and aims to enhance cooperation and knowledge in order to improve cover and treatment for rare diseases.

Related Act

Commission Decision No (EC) 2009/872 of 30 November 2009 establishing a European Union Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases

This Decision establishes an EU committee of experts on rare diseases. The committee is tasked with:

  • implementing Community action programmes;
  • preparing Commission reports;
  • providing opinions and recommendations;
  • assisting the Commission in disseminating the measures taken at Community level, as well drawing up guidelines.

The Committee comprises 51 members and their alternates. The Committee shall be convened by the Commission and shall meet on its premises three times a year.

Internet governance: the next steps

Internet governance: the next steps

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internet governance: the next steps

Topics

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

Information society > Internet Online activities and ICT standards

Internet governance: the next steps

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 18 June 2009 – Internet governance: the next steps [COM(2009) 277 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication gives details of existing Internet governance systems and future action in this field.

Internet: architecture and operation

Internet stems from the world of academia and research. Originally, governance was established on a closed model, carried out by engineers and scientists.

Over time, the architecture has gradually opened up, to the benefit of new stakeholders and individual users.

The Internet is now based on an open architecture which is neutral and distributed. This structure constitutes an advantage in terms of security since any localised failure is less likely to interfere with traffic elsewhere.

The private sector has been in the forefront since the Internet began. It provides the investment, expertise and entrepreneurial initiative which foster innovation. The private sector operates most of the international backbone infrastructure, the national cable networks, and provides services that facilitate and manage traffic.

The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), a private body, has developed certain technical rules for the functioning of the Internet. RIPE NCC, another private entity, is responsible for assigning IP addresses at regional level.

The role of governments

Given the increasing role of the Internet in society, it is important that governments play a more active role in its development process.

The financial crisis of October 2008 has also changed public attitudes towards the concept of self-regulation. The public now aspires to more involvement on the part of public authorities in promoting the public interest.

However, the private sector must continue to play its role with regard to the daily management and development of the Internet.

The role of the European Union (EU)

The EU has been at the forefront of the discussions on Internet governance, particularly at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) between 2003 and 2005.

The EU was also a leading actor in the international discussions which contributed to setting up the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The EU also highlights the importance of bridging the ‘digital divide’ and taking into account the interests of users in developing countries in Internet governance arrangements.

The EU puts forward the following key principles concerning Internet governance:

  • the core architecture should be respected;
  • the private sector should retain a leading role;
  • there should be multi-stakeholder participation;
  • governments should participate more actively;
  • inclusion should be a basic principle.

Assigning Internet names and addresses

The coordination of resources with regard to names and addresses is a key element in the functioning of the Internet. Originally, the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) was responsible for assigning Internet names and addresses.

Given the development of the Internet, the American government decided, in the late 1990s, to contract some of the services provided by IANA from ICANN. This organisation operates according to the principle of self-regulation, whilst being responsible to the international community.

The American government agreement with ICANN ended in 2006, replaced by the JPA (Joint Project Agreement (pdf ).

ICANN succeeded in maintaining the stability of the Domain Name System for ten years and encouraged a participative decision-making process. However, some criticisms were made concerning its lack of representativeness and its monopolistic tendencies.

The next steps

The Commission encourages international partners to promote intergovernmental cooperation and dialogue in order to implement public policy principles in cooperation with the EU.

ICANN is also encouraged to complete its internal reforms in order to improve its transparency. It is, moreover, necessary that multilateral accountability should apply to ICANN.

Context

Internet governance is an absolute priority in terms of public policy. The EU has a leading role to play since it includes nearly 19 % of the world’s Internet users.

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

International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about International Criminal Court

Topics

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

Human rights > Human rights in non-EU countries

International Criminal Court

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2011/168/CFSP of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP.

Summary

The objective of this Council Decision is to advance universal support for the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to preserve its integrity, independence and smooth functioning. The European Union (EU) intends to support cooperation with the ICC and the implementation of the principle of complementarity. Pursuant to this principle, the Court only prosecutes if Member States do not have the willingness or capacity to do so.

The ICC is an independent international organisation based in The Hague (Netherlands). Its task is to try the perpetrators of genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is governed by a treaty, the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002 and has been ratified by all EU Member States.

Advancing universal support

The Union and its Member States undertake to increase participation in the Rome Statute. They may advance this process through negotiations and political dialogue with third countries or regional organisations. In addition, they may adopt initiatives to promote the values, principles and provisions of the Statute. In order to meet this objective, the EU and its Member States are to cooperate with other States, international institutions and certain non-governmental organisations.

The Member States shall share their experience with the countries in question as regards the implementation of the Rome Statute. They and the EU may contribute technical or financial assistance to such countries. The assistance provided should facilitate participation in the Statute and its implementation.

Guaranteeing independence

In order to ensure the independence of the ICC, the Union and its Member States shall:

  • encourage States Parties to pay their contribution to the budget of the Court;
  • support the development of training and assistance for judges, prosecutors, officials and counsel in work related to the ICC;
  • encourage accession to and ratification of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Court.

Supporting efficient functioning

The Union and the Member States may enter into specific arrangements or agreements to support the efficient functioning of the ICC.

Several States Parties to the Rome Statute have concluded bilateral agreements with the United States guaranteeing that American citizens are not transferred to appear before the Court. The Council refers to its conclusions of 30 September 2002 establishing guidelines for Member States that are considering signing such agreements:

  • existing international agreements between a State Party to the Court and the United States should be taken into account;
  • in their current form, the conclusion of such agreements are inconsistent with the obligations of the Member States of the Court;
  • arrangements adopted must ensure that persons who have committed crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court do not enjoy impunity;
  • arrangements relating to the nationality of persons not to be surrendered should only cover persons who are not nationals of an ICC State Party;
  • State and diplomatic immunity should be respected;
  • agreements should only cover persons present in a State because they have been sent there by their country of origin;
  • agreements may be limited in time;
  • agreements must be ratified in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each Member State.

The Council also proposes to develop broader political dialogue with the United States, which would cover, in particular:

  • any returns to the United States under Court process;
  • the development of cooperation between the United States and the Court in specific cases;
  • the application of waivers of United States legislation on the protection of members of the American administration (ASPA legislation).

Context

In February 2004, the Council adopted an action plan defining a framework for Union activities aimed at supporting the International Criminal Court. Currently being re-examined, it covers three areas: the coordination of Union activities, the universal nature and integrity of the Rome Statue, and the independence and smooth functioning of the Court.

References

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

Decision 2011/168/CFSP

21.3.2011

OJ L 76, 22.3.2011

Related Acts

Agreement on cooperation and assistance between the International Criminal Court and the European Union [Official Journal L 115 of 28.4.2006].

This agreement covers the terms of cooperation and assistance between the International Criminal Court and the European Union, by means, inter alia, of consultation on issues of mutual interest and the regular exchange of information and documents of mutual interest.

Action against Cancer: European Partnership

Action against Cancer: European Partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action against Cancer: European Partnership

Topics

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

Public health > European health strategy

Action against Cancer: European Partnership (2009-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 June 2009 on Action against Cancer: European Partnership [COM(2009) 291 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication sets out the objectives of the European Partnership for Action against Cancer.

Cancer in Europe: a major challenge

Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality in the European Union (EU). Although the legal basis for action in the field of health largely falls on the Member States, to combat this disease effectively it is necessary to act at European level in order to avoid duplication of efforts throughout the European Union, to reduce inequalities between countries and to improve the use of limited resources.

It is essential to put in place preventive measures to extend individuals’ life-spans. It has been estimated, for example, that if all women were to undergo cervical cancer screening, life years lost could be reduced by 94 %.

Action against cancer should be carried out collectively in order to facilitate the identification and sharing of information, capacity and expertise in prevention and treatment. This action carried out collectively in partnership should enable all Member States to have integrated cancer plans.

Areas covered by the Partnership

Prevention and early detection

One third of cancers could be avoided by acting on certain risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. European strategies already exist in relation to obesity, alcoholism and smoking. A horizontal approach combining all of these aspects is encouraged under the European Partnership for Action against Cancer.

The individual’s environment, in particular indoor and outdoor air quality, and over-exposure to the sun, may be at the root of certain cancers.

The European Code Against Cancer is a specific anti-cancer tool: it contains a list of recommendations enabling citizens to take preventive measures linked to lifestyle.

Cancer can be treated successfully thanks to early screening and treatment strategies. In 2003 the Health Ministers of the Member States of the European Union (EU) unanimously adopted the Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening, leading to the implementation of screening campaigns for cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer throughout the European Union. According to the first Report from the Commission on the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 2 December 2003 on cancer screening (EN ), however, it is necessary to go even further in screening for these cancers by aiming for 100 % coverage of the population concerned.

Identification and dissemination of good practice

Patients should be offered integrated cancer care giving consideration to psychosocial wellbeing and support. In addition to curative care, high-quality care must be provided to a rising number of chronic cancer patients in order to stabilise their illness for a number of years and to provide them with a good quality of life in the absence of a cure. The Partnership will permit the exchange of good practices between Member States in all fields of health care, including palliative care, in order to reduce inequalities between countries.

Cooperation and coordination in cancer research

Cancer research covers research into prevention, clinical research and translational research. Euro 750 million has been devoted to cancer research through the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development.

It is important to coordinate all sectors of research in order to avoid fragmentation of efforts throughout the EU. Forms of cooperation already exist such as the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

Benchmarking process – providing the comparable information necessary for policy and action

The European Commission considers it necessary to have a cancer information system for the collection of data and identification of good practices.

The collection of data would make it possible to establish a common set of core indicators.

Working together in partnership

The Partnership brings together Member States, experts, health care professionals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), patient groups, civil society representatives and industry.

The work should be undertaken in working groups each specialising in one of the four areas referred to above, coordinated by a steering group

The Partnership started in the third quarter of 2009. It will be funded by joint action, a financial instrument existing until the end of the current financial framework, i.e. 2013.

Background

In 2006 cancer accounted for two out of ten deaths in women and three out of ten deaths in men. 3.2 million cancers are diagnosed every year in Europe. Faced with the extent of this phenomenon, the European Union must respond collectively in order to reduce the number of deaths and to improve public health. The Partnership set up for the period 2009-2013 is a response to combat the spread of this scourge in Europe.

See also:

Programme for mutual learning in employment

Programme for mutual learning in employment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Programme for mutual learning in employment

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 and employment situation in europe

Programme for mutual learning in employment

The Programme aims to improve and develop cooperation between Member Sates, whether at a national, regional or local level. Cooperation actions are carried out in the key areas of the European Employment Strategy (EES), which forms an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

The Programme contributes to the objectives to be met by the European Union (EU) before 2020 on matters of employment and social inclusion, so that:

  • 75 % of people between the ages of 20 and 64 are employed;
  • the rate of school leavers is less than 10 %, and that 40 % of young people have a higher education diploma;
  • the number of people affected by poverty is reduced by 20 million.

In addition, the Mutual Learning Programme participates in the general objectives of the open method of coordination (OMC), for converging employment policies.

Implementing the Programme

The Programme provides for three types of actions:

  • thematic seminars on the priorities of employment policies, during which policy-makers, social partners and other stakeholders can debate the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy;
  • peer review meetings, bringing together representatives of national governments and independent experts on issues relating to specific policies, in order to facilitate the transfer of good practice between Member States;
  • follow-up and dissemination activities on the results of actions taken by a larger group of stakeholders at national level.

The programme is open to participation by EU Member States, candidate countries and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Funding

The Progress Programme for employment and solidarity finances mutual learning activities. In particular, this Programme supports cooperation between EU Member States on matters of policy and innovative approaches in the field of employment.

Context

The Mutual Learning Programme was launched in 2004 following the conclusions of the European Employment Task Force which highlighted the importance of the exchange of good practice in the field of employment.