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Fourth progress report on cohesion: The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy

Fourth progress report on cohesion: The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fourth progress report on cohesion: The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy

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Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

Fourth progress report on cohesion: The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 12 June 2006 – The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy – Fourth progress report on cohesion [COM(2006) 281 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This fourth progress report on economic and social cohesion follows on from the publication of the third progress report in May 2005. It concerns inter alia:

  • the cohesion programmes implemented in the new EU Member States following the May 2004 enlargement;
  • preparations for the 2007-2013 programming period, in particular the Interinstitutional Agreement signed in May 2006 by Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the Financial Perspectives for 2007-2013;
  • the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2005.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DISPARITIES

In 2005 the EU economy was characterised by continued moderate growth. In the period 2000-2004, the average growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 25 EU Member States (EU-25) was little more than 1.5% per year. However, the Commission anticipates that growth will pick up and exceed 2% across the EU between 2005 and 2007.

Disparities

With regard to disparities between Member States in terms of GDP, the report notes that the new Member States are growing faster than most of the EU-15 countries. However, convergence is still a long-term perspective.

In 2004, the average overall employment rate reached 63.3% (64.7% in the EU-15 and 56.0% in the EU-10). In order to reach the Lisbon Strategy’s employment rate target of 70% by 2010, 24 million new jobs would be needed in the EU-27 (EU-25 plus Romania and Bulgaria), which represents an increase of almost 12% on current employment levels.

Trends in disparities

This Communication gives an overview of the disparities between objectives and the disparities within each objective for the regions to be targeted by cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013 .

Disparities between objectives

The 100 Convergence regions (regions where GDP per capita is less than 75% of the EU average, 2000-2002) are characterised by low levels of GDP and employment, as well as high unemployment. Their total share in EU-27 GDP in 2002 was only 12.5%, although they account for 35% of the population.

Disparities within each objective

Under the Convergence objective, there are several regions with GDP per capita below 25% of the EU average in 2002, all of which are in Romania and Bulgaria.

The employment rate in the 155 regions covered by the new Regional Competitiveness and Employment (RCE) objective is 10 percentage points higher than in the Convergence regions.

In 2002, 10% of the EU-27 population living in the most prosperous regions accounted for over 19% of total GDP for the EU-27, compared with only 1.5% for the 10% of the population living in the least wealthy regions.

Research and development (R&D) and Information and communication technologies (ICT)

R&D is a key factor in determining a region’s innovative capacity. 35 regions, which account for 46% of total R&D expenditure in the EU-27, have R&D intensities exceeding the Lisbon target for an EU-wide average of 3% of GDP. In 47 regions (3.5% of GDP in the EU-27) R&D expenditure is below 0.5% of GDP.

Across the EU as a whole, almost half of all households had Internet access in 2005. There are marked differences between Member States, with penetration rates exceeding 70% in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, whereas they are around 20% in Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Greece. In today’s Objective 1 regions, only around one third of all households have Internet access.

POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Financial resources

With regard to the execution of the budget in 2005, a total of 27.1 billion was committed under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund and the pre-accession fund designated for candidate countries (ISPA), and 11.2 billion for the European Social Fund (ESF). For the four Structural Funds, Cohesion Fund and ISPA taken together, payments made in 2005 reached more than 33 billion.

Based on the conclusions of the European Council in December 2005 and the adoption of the Interinstitutional Agreement of May 2006, the cohesion policy budget for the period 2007-2013 will amount to 308 billion (0.37% of the gross national investment (GNI) of the EU-27). The new Member States would receive 51.3% of total cohesion policy resources (an increase of almost 165% compared with the period 2004-2006).

Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 and the Growth and Jobs Strategy

In July 2005 the Commission published a Communication on the Community Strategic Guidelines for cohesion policy in 2007-2013, which:

  • provide a framework for the new programmes to be supported by the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund;
  • reflect the role of cohesion policy as the principal instrument for contributing to growth and employment, in accordance with the renewed Lisbon agenda.

Cohesion policy is a key instrument in contributing to the Growth and Jobs Strategy, as:

  • cohesion policy represents one third of the Community budget;
  • strategies designed at local and regional levels must also form an integral part of the effort to promote growth and jobs;
  • the December 2005 European Council proposed that quantitative expenditure targets should be set for the new cohesion policy programmes for 2007-2013 so that a certain percentage of the funds will be used for purposes clearly linked to the Growth and Jobs Strategy (“earmarking” – 60% for the Convergence objective and 75% for the RCE objective).

Innovations in the new programmes

For the new programmes, specific initiatives have been launched to promote financial engineering for start-ups and micro-enterprises, combining technical assistance and grants with other instruments. There are three such initiatives:

JASPERS (Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions), a new technical assistance partnership between the Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD);

JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises), a new initiative in partnership with the European Investment Fund (EIF) in order to improve access to finance for business development;

JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas), enhanced cooperation between the Commission, the EIB, the CEDB (Council of Europe Development Bank) and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) on financial engineering for sustainable urban development.

As a complement to the Strategic Guidelines, the Commission will present a Communication on the contribution of urban areas to growth and jobs in the regions.

Related Acts

Council Decision 2006/702/EC of 6 October 2006 on Community strategic guidelines on cohesion [Official Journal L 291 of 21.10.2006].

Communication from the Commission of 25 January 2006 to the Spring European Council – Time to move up a gear: The new partnership for growth and jobs [COM(2006) 30 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. 
This annual activity report (AAR) contains several recommendations regarding cohesion policy.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) [Official Journal L 277 of 21.10.2005].

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Taxation

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Taxation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Taxation

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

Taxation

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Taxation

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislativeacquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia received the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU) in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations for its future accession and the aligning of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, negotiations for accession had not yet started since some progress still needed to be made with regard to the objectives and conditions defined within the framework of the Partnership.

The 2011 Report notes improvements concerning the operational capacities of the tax authority. However, improvements to combat tax fraud are required.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The acquis on taxation essentially covers the area of indirect taxation, which comprises VAT (value-added tax) and excise duties. It lays down scope, definitions and principles for VAT. Excise duties on energy products, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages are regulated by EU legislation. With regard to direct taxation, the acquis covers some aspects of the taxation of individuals’ savings and corporate taxes. Furthermore, Member States are required to comply with the principles of the code of conduct relating to corporate taxes, which seeks to abolish harmful tax measures. Administrative cooperation and mutual assistance between Member States aims at ensuring the smooth running of the internal market in the field of taxation and provides instruments for preventing intra-Community fraud and tax evasion. Member States must ensure that they have the necessary implementation capacities, specifically connectivity with the EU’s IT taxation systems.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Limited progress can be reported in the field of harmonisation of taxation legislation
with the acquis. Operational capacity for the administration of taxes continued to improve. Effective means to combat tax fraud have yet to be introduced and a code of conduct for business taxation is not yet in place.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final –SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].

In its 2010 Report, the Commission regrets the low level of harmonisation made with regard to direct and indirect taxation. However, the operational capacities of the tax authority have been strengthened.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The November 2008 report
notes progress made in terms of the administrative capacity of the Public Revenue Office. However, no improvements have been seen with regard to legislative alignment, particularly in the area of direct taxation.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Transport

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Transport

Topics

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

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Transport

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia received the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU) in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations for its future accession and the aligning of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, negotiations for accession had not yet started since some progress still needed to be made with regard to the objectives and conditions defined within the framework of the Partnership.

The 2011 Report from the European Commission notes some progress on matters relating to the country’s transport policy. However, the administrative capacities remain inadequate.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

EU transport legislation aims at improving the functioning of the internal market by promoting safe, efficient and environment- and user-friendly transport services. The transport acquis covers the sectors of road transport, railways, aviation, maritime transport and inland waterways. It covers technical and safety standards, social conditions, the monitoring of state aid and market liberalisation in the context of the internal transport market.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

In the area of transport policy, progress was noted in particular regarding use of tachographs. Remaining challenges are related in particular to the still insufficient administrative capacity of the regulatory and safety transport authorities. The safety certification procedures need to be introduced.

In the area of trans-European networks further progress was made. The country continues developing its transport, energy and telecommunications networks and participates actively in the South East Europe Transport Observatory and the Energy Community. The implementation of corridor X remains delayed as additional time was needed to establish the financial framework.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].

In its 2010 Report, the Commission presents the progress made by the country to improve the functioning of the railway sector, and of the supervisory and administrative authorities responsible for the transport sector.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 report highlights progress made in terms of transport policy. However, administrative capacity remains insufficient.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

Topics

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

Enterprise > International dimension and enlargement

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate country status for European Union (EU) membership in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations in view of its future membership and the alignment of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, the accession negotiations had not yet been opened, as some progress still needed to be made on the objectives and conditions set out in the partnership.

The 2011 Report from the European Commission outlines satisfactory, but uneven progress in the area of enterprise and industrial policy.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

EU industrial policy seeks to promote industrial strategies which strengthen competitiveness by accelerating adaptation to structural changes and encouraging a framework conducive to the creation and development of enterprises across the EU and to national and foreign investment. It also seeks to improve the overall business environment in which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate. It presupposes a process of privatisation and restructuring (see also Chapter 8 – Competition policy). The European strategy in this area essentially involves defining fundamental principles and drawing up industrial policy declarations. The implementation of enterprise policy and industrial policy requires an adequate administrative capacity at national, regional and local level.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Progress was good but uneven in the field of enterprise and industrial policy. There have been some achievements in simplification of the legislation and administrative procedures for business operation and reduction of business costs. Enterprise support measures remain scattered within several programmes.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report presents the reforms and strategies which have enabled improvements to the business environment and support measures for the sector, in particular for the benefit of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 report states that alignment with the acquis is relatively satisfactory, particularly with respect to the regulatory framework and sector policy. However, it highlights the necessity for further efforts in improving the business environment.


Another Normative about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

Topics

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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Enterprise

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate country status for European Union (EU) membership in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations in view of its future membership and the alignment of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, the accession negotiations had not yet been opened, as some progress still needed to be made on the objectives and conditions set out in the partnership.

The 2011 Report from the European Commission outlines satisfactory, but uneven progress in the area of enterprise and industrial policy.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

EU industrial policy seeks to promote industrial strategies which strengthen competitiveness by accelerating adaptation to structural changes and encouraging a framework conducive to the creation and development of enterprises across the EU and to national and foreign investment. It also seeks to improve the overall business environment in which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate. It presupposes a process of privatisation and restructuring (see also Chapter 8 – Competition policy). The European strategy in this area essentially involves defining fundamental principles and drawing up industrial policy declarations. The implementation of enterprise policy and industrial policy requires an adequate administrative capacity at national, regional and local level.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Progress was good but uneven in the field of enterprise and industrial policy. There have been some achievements in simplification of the legislation and administrative procedures for business operation and reduction of business costs. Enterprise support measures remain scattered within several programmes.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report presents the reforms and strategies which have enabled improvements to the business environment and support measures for the sector, in particular for the benefit of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 report states that alignment with the acquis is relatively satisfactory, particularly with respect to the regulatory framework and sector policy. However, it highlights the necessity for further efforts in improving the business environment.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Competition

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Competition

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Competition

Topics

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

Competition > Competition: international dimension and enlargement

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Competition

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU) in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations for its future accession and the aligning of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, negotiations for accession had not yet started since some progress still needed to be made with regard to the objectives and conditions defined within the framework of the Partnership.

The 2011 Report highlights the substantial progress made on matters of competition. However, in certain areas such as cartels, anti-trust and mergers, improvements still need to be made.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The legislation on competition covers both anti-trust and state aid control policies. It includes rules and procedures for fighting anti-competitive behaviour by companies (restrictive agreements between undertakings and abuse of dominant position), monitoring mergers and for preventing governments from granting state aid which distorts competition in the internal market. Generally, the competition rules are directly applicable throughout the Union, and Member States must cooperate fully with the Commission in the enforcement of these rules.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Some progress was made in the area of competition. The enforcement record has quantitatively improved in the field of mergers and State aid, but remains weak in the field of cartels. The quality of the decisions in the area of State aid needs to be further improved. The Commission for Protection of Competition does not have adequate budgetary resources and staff in the area of anti-trust and mergers.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
In its 2010 Report, the Commission noted insufficient reforms in the areas of cartels and mergers. However, progress had been made to align the legislation relating to State aid. The Commission for the Protection of Competition must further increase the personnel resources responsible for ensuring compliance with the competition rules.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 Report highlights good progress in aligning antitrust legislation, concerning mergers and State aid. The report notes however weaknesses in the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) which lacks competent staff and adequate funding.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Health and consumers

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Health and consumers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Health and consumers

Topics

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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Health and consumers

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission – [COM (2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate country status for European Union (EU) membership in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations in view of its future membership and the alignment of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, the accession negotiations had not yet been opened, as some progress still needed to be made on the objectives and conditions set out in the partnership.

The 2011 Report from the European Commission signals certain progress in the area of consumer protection and health. However, alignment with the acquis in certain areas still remains quite limited.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The acquis in this area covers protection of the economic interests of consumers in a number of specific sectors (misleading and comparative advertising, price indication, consumer credit, unfair contract terms, distance and doorstep selling, package travel, timeshare, injunctions for the protection of consumers’ interests, certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees), as well as general safety of consumer goods (liability for defective products, dangerous imitations and general safety of goods) and distance marketing of consumer financial services. The Member States of the European Union (EU) must transpose the acquis into their national law, and establish administrative structures and independent implementation bodies which ensure real market surveillance and effective application of the acquis. They must also provide appropriate judicial and out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms. Furthermore, they must ensure that consumers are informed and educated and that consumer organisations play an active role. This chapter also covers certain binding rules with regard to public health.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

There was some progress in the area of consumer and health protection. Efforts are still hampered by the limited financial resources and weak operational structures.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report noted insufficient progress in the area of consumer protection and market surveillance. In addition, the Report noted the lack of resources allocated to improving the health sector.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2009 report gives an account of progress concerning consumer protection, but the State is still lacking an effective and transparent system of market surveillance.

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 report presents the progress achieved by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with a view to complete alignment with the Community acquis in the field of consumer protection. The main progress concerns the development of administrative capacity to ensure consumer protection. A new, more transparent and effective market surveillance system is not yet in place.