Tag Archives: Financial aid

Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

Topics

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

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2686/94 of 31 October 1994 establishing a special system of assistance to traditional ACP suppliers of bananas.

Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 of 22 April 1999 establishing a special framework of assistance for traditional ACP suppliers of bananas.

Summary

Traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) suppliers of bananas have benefited from a framework of assistance to improve the competitiveness and diversification of their agricultural production.

The term traditional ACP suppliers of bananas does not refer to all current ACP suppliers of bananas. The countries involved (defined according to historical references) are: Belize, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Somalia and Suriname.

Within the meaning of the Regulation, the term “bananas” means fresh or dried bananas, excepting plantains.

The temporary special framework of assistance (SFA) is established by Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 for a period of ten years with effect from 1 January 1999.

Activities eligible for assistance

The assistance measures aim to:

  • increase productivity and improve product quality, including in the field of plant health;
  • adapt production, distribution or marketing methods, particularly in the context of the standards provided for in Regulation (EEC) No 404/93 and (EC) No 1234/2007;
  • establish producers’ organisations to improve the marketing and competitiveness of their products;
  • develop fair trade, and systems of certifying environmentally-friendly production methods;
  • develop a production and/or marketing strategy to meet the requirements of the market;
  • assist with training, market intelligence and the development of environment-friendly and fair production methods;
  • support the diversification of production where improvement in the competitiveness of the sector is not sustainable.

Financing programmes

The financial assistance provided is designed to complement and reinforce the assistance provided under other instruments of development cooperation. Each year, the Commission fixes the maximum amount available to each supplier on the basis of the competitiveness gap observed and the scale of banana production of the country concerned.

The Regulation provides for mechanisms to reduce Community aid gradually. From 2004, a maximum reduction coefficient of 15 % will be applied each year to the level of assistance made available to each country. When programmes are implemented, this reduction coefficient will be reduced to an extent equivalent to the increase in competitiveness observed.

The projects financed under the “bananas” budget heading were devolved to the Commission delegations in the last quarter of 2005. This devolution has enabled the delegations to manage projects more effectively and to catch up on any commitment or payment backlogs.

Evaluation

The Commission was required to present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the Regulation by 31 December 2000 and every two years thereafter.
It presented its first two-yearly report in February 2001, and the second in December 2002.

Context

Since the common market organisation (CMO) in bananas was established in 1993, ACP states have benefited from a preferential trade regime for exporting bananas to the EU. As such:

  • from 1993 to 2005 imports of bananas from non-ACP states were subject to quotas and customs duties. ACP states were not subject to customs duties within quota and benefited from reduced customs duties for imports above the quota;
  • in 2006 the general imports system was replaced by a system based only on customs duties, except for ACP states which benefited from a quota system exempt from customs duties;
  • since 2008, the ACP states which have negotiated an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) have benefited from access to the market without quotas or customs duties. The EPAs replace the trade provisions of the Cotonou Agreement which expired on 31 December 2007;
  • since 15 December 2009 customs duties applicable to imports from third countries (non-ACP states) have been EUR 148/tonne.

The special framework of assistance for ACP suppliers established in 1999 came to an end in 2008; however a number of projects are still underway.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2686/94

5.11.1994

OJ L 286 of 5.11.1994

Regulation (EC) No 856/1999

30.4.1999

OJ L 108 of 27.4.1999

Related Acts

Council Decision 2010/314/EU of 10 May 2010 on the signing and provisional application of the Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas between the European Union and Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela and of the Agreement on Trade in Bananas between the European Union and the United States of America.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1609/1999 of 22 July 1999 laying down the detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999 [Official Journal L 190 of 23.7.1999].
This Regulation lays down the detailed rules for the implementation of the special framework of assistance, for example the deadlines, the methods for calculating the reference price, the reference quantities and the competitivity gap.
Requests for assistance should be based on a coherent long-term strategy for the banana sector. Programmes submitted should be drawn up on the basis of this strategy and take the form of annual action plans. Funds allocated to countries which have not presented a request for assistance within the specified deadline shall be distributed to other countries.

REPORTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 March 2010 – Biennial Report on the Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP suppliers of Bananas [COM(2010) 103 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The special framework of assistance (SFA) came to an end on 31 December 2008. Its implementation enabled traditional ACP suppliers of bananas to make progress in terms of:

  • competitiveness and adaptation to the needs of the European market and to EU standards and policies with the aim of sustainable economic development;
  • diversifying agricultural production and including it in the planning of the development of the country in a more integrated and strategic way.

However, the majority of these states remain vulnerable to external crises and must still overcome significant challenges to adapt to the constraints of world trade.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament –Special Framework of Assistance for traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission 2006 [COM(2006) 806 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission – 2004 [COM(2004) 823 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The EU trade regime has not changed since the last report and measures have been taken as part of enlargement.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 23 December 2002 – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation (EC) No 856/1999): Biennial Report from the Commission – 2002 [COM(2002) 763 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In April 2001 the Community prepared a new regime in order to comply with WTO rules, putting an end to the “banana conflict” between the United States and the European Community. The amended regime is a compromise and contains major, phased changes to EU banana import arrangements:

  • the quota system should be replaced by a tariff-only system;
  • in the meantime, the EU market in bananas will continue to be managed through a quota system based on historical reference, which has also been discussed with the ACP countries.

In particular, the Commission notes that between 1999 and 2002 the amounts used to boost the productivity of banana plantations have declined, compared with those aimed at supporting diversification. These changes correspond to the Commission’s desire to improve the management of funds, in particular regarding transparency, security and identification of the various stakeholders’ responsibilities.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament of 7 February 2001 – Special Framework of Assistance for Traditional ACP Suppliers of Bananas (Council Regulation No 856/1999) – Biennial Report from the Commission 2000 [COM(2001) 67 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Market conditions were difficult for the traditional ACP suppliers of bananas in 1999 and 2000. The market is dominated by cheaper bananas from Latin America. In addition, banana prices fell in 1999 and plummeted to an exceptional low in 2000. Furthermore, following the WTO’s unfavourable conclusions on the Commission’s import regimes in 1999, the Commission made significant changes to the import regime.

Joint EU resettlement programme

Joint EU resettlement programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Joint EU resettlement programme

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Joint EU resettlement programme

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 2 September 2009 on the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme [COM(2009) 447 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication concerns the resettlement of refugees from outside the European Union (EU) to one of the Member States. Resettlement is one of the durable solutions offered to refugees, whose needs for protection have already been established. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) usually acts as an intermediary in the resettlement process. The communication also addresses solidarity in migration management and EU protection to refugees worldwide.

Currently several Member States participate in resettlement on an annual or on an ad hoc basis. The European Refugee Fund (ERF) provides significant financial support to resettlement-related activities.

Nevertheless, the number of refugees resettled in the EU remains rather low and most Member States lack resettlement programmes. Furthermore, the Member States that are resettlement countries mostly set their priorities at the national level, instead of coordinating resettlement and the related external policy instruments at the EU level. In addition, the current ERF is not adaptable enough to respond to new and changing needs concerning resettlement. Consequently, joint EU action should aim at:

  • involving more Member States and enhancing their cooperation;
  • providing refugees a secure access to protection;
  • expressing solidarity towards third countries;
  • making better use of resettlement at the EU level;
  • integrating resettlement into EU external policies;
  • providing a financial incentive for Member States to resettle based on jointly defined key priorities.

A joint EU resettlement programme should be established to fully integrate resettlement in the external dimension of the EU’s asylum policy and improve its strategic use. The Communication provides the following guiding principles:

  • participation in resettlement should be voluntary for Member States;
  • EU resettlement activities should be extended;
  • the programme should be incremental and adaptable to changing circumstances;
  • all stakeholders should be able to participate (international and local NGOs, local authorities, etc.).

The main components of the programme will be the setting of common annual priorities on the basis of a consultative process and financial assistance by the ERF to Member States that “pledge” to resettle refugees according to these priorities. This will allow the financial assistance to be used more effectively. The existing resettlement expert group that meets on an ad hoc basis will be transformed into a permanent body in which all Member States and stakeholders will participate. It will carry out preparatory work for identifying the common annual priorities for the EU, exchange information on Member States’ quantitative targets and assess the specific resettlement needs. The UNHCR will be closely involved in the preparatory work by providing an assessment of worldwide resettlement needs. The common annual priorities will subsequently be established by a Commission decision using the comitology procedure. They will focus on specific geographic regions, nationalities or categories of refugees, and provide for more flexibility to respond to new or urgent needs. Consequently, financial assistance under the ERF will be available to Member States resettling refugees on the basis of the common priorities.

The programme will provide for enhanced practical cooperation and improve the effectiveness of EU external asylum policies. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which will be established in 2010 to strengthen Member State practical cooperation on asylum, will play an active role in coordinating resettlement activities. The Commission will also continue to support practical cooperation projects relating to resettlement through the ERF. As part of the programme, cooperation with the UNHCR will also be intensified to identify common priorities, maximise the strategic use of resettlement, and develop and carry out practical cooperation activities. Resettlement should form an integral part of EU external asylum policies and be well coordinated with external policies as a whole. In particular, it should be consistent with the EU Global Approach to Migration. The aim is also to integrate resettlement into the future Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs).

With the support of the EASO, the Commission will annually report on resettlement progress in the EU. In addition, a mid-term evaluation will be carried out in 2012 with all relevant stakeholders. In 2014, the joint programme will be evaluated with a view to developing it further.

Background

Resettlement has been identified as an integral element in the establishment of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), as reiterated in the European pact on immigration and asylum. In its policy plan on asylum, the Commission called for the further development of resettlement as an instrument to protect refugees.

Partnership for the accession of Turkey

Partnership for the accession of Turkey

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnership for the accession of Turkey

Topics

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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > Turkey

Partnership for the accession of Turkey

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey and repealing Decision 2006/35/EC.

Summary

The Accession Partnership, which is based on the pre-accession strategy, is the main instrument providing Turkey with guidance in its preparations for accession.

The Helsinki European Council (December 1999) decided to recognise Turkey as an applicant for accession on the basis of criteria equivalent to those applied to the other applicant countries. The accession negotiations were started on 3 October 2005.

The pre-accession strategy combines the frameworks and different instruments relating to the accession process of a new Member State, offering Turkey a coherent accession programme and enabling it to familiarise itself with the European Union’s procedures and policies, notably by giving it the opportunity to participate in Community programmes.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of the Accession Partnership is to incorporate in a single legal framework:

  • the priorities for reform with a view to preparing for accession;
  • guidelines for financial assistance for action in these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions governing implementation of the Partnership.

The Accession Partnership with Turkey was established in 2001 and has been revised three times (in 2003, 2006 and 2008). It evolves as the country progresses and continues its efforts to prepare for accession.

With a view to achieving the objectives identified in the Accession Partnership, Turkey adopted a national programme for transposing the Community acquis (NPAA), in which it sets out procedures and a programme for implementing action in the priority areas.

PRIORITIES

A distinction is made between short-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within one to two years, and medium-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within three to four years. Both are based primarily on Turkey’s ability to comply with:

  • the 1993 Copenhagen Criteria;
  • the negotiation framework adopted on 3 October 2005.

The short and medium-term priorities are:

  • political dialogue, which includes short-term priorities such as: democracy and the rule of law (public service, civilian oversight of security forces, the judicial system and anti-corruption policy), human rights and protection of minorities – which imply that these rights are promoted and respected at national and international level (civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, the situation in the east and southeast, displaced persons) – regional issues and international obligations (Cyprus, peaceful settlement of border disputes, Association Agreement);
  • economic criteria: market liberalisation, the fight against the underground economy, completion of the privatisation programme, improvement of the business climate, competitiveness, sustainability of public finances, budgetary and monetary policies guaranteeing macroeconomic stability, a coordinated economic policy and improvement of health and education levels and infrastructures and the correction of labour market imbalances;
  • ability to assume the obligations of membership, namely the adoption and implementation of the acquis (EU policies and legislation, both primary and secondary).

Evaluation

The Commission regularly evaluates the progress made by Turkey on the priorities set by the Accession Partnership and in the areas in which greater efforts have to be made. Such evaluation covers compliance with the accession criteria, including adoption and enforcement of the acquis. The Accession Partnership is monitored and its implementation evaluated under the Association Agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

Turkey receives financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) for the period 2007?2013. The Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework for the period 2009?2011 (MIIF) sets out the amount of assistance allocated to Turkey under the IPA: approximately EUR 3 037.9 million (including 2007 and 2008).

Community assistance is subject to compliance with the essential elements governing bilateral relations between Turkey and the EU, the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the partnership. If these elements are not complied with, the financial assistance may be suspended by the Council.

Turkey is also eligible for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) under its external lending mandate for the EU’s south-eastern neighbours.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/157/EC 29.2.2008 OJ L 51 of 26.2.2008

Related Acts

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004 (FR ).

The European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005.

BILATERAL RELATIONS

EEC?Turkey Association Agreement (1963) [Official Journal No 217 of 29 December 1964].

Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Economic Community and Turkey following the enlargement of the European Union [Official Journal L 254 of 30 September 2005].

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [OJ L 210 of 31 July 2006].

Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (CFIP) for:

  • 2008?2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • 2009?2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

EVALUATION

are available on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enlargement.

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

Financing SME Growth

Financing SME Growth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Financing SME Growth

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 > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Financing SME Growth

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions of 29 June 2006 – Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: Financing SME Growth – Adding European Value [COM(2006) 349 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The challenge of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Improving access to finance for SMEs, and more specifically initial investment and the ongoing injection of equity, is essential if an SME is to tap into its growth and innovation potential. However, a large number of SMEs in the EU face an equity gap. 2. When their initial funds have been exhausted, entrepreneurs have to obtain external finance to develop their project. Financing SMEs is, however, often considered too risky on account of the low rates of return, particularly during the seed phase. There is thus a serious lack of business angels and venture capital funds that are willing to invest in young innovative SMEs.

The inability to obtain early-stage investment prevents many SMEs reaching a size where they can attract expansion capital, thus stunting their growth.

SMEs, as sources of innovation and job creation, are the engines of European growth, and giving them the opportunity to start up, develop and achieve their potential makes a vital contribution to the Lisbon process.

Boosting SME financing

The European Commission suggests different measures to boost financing for SMEs.

Raising more venture capital investment

Encouraging venture capital investment involves the establishment of an internal market for venture capital. The aim is to overcome the fragmentation of the venture capital market and allow the various operators to invest across borders without incurring unfavourable tax treatment.

More attention should also be paid to the exit strategy (the point at which the venture capitalist can recover his capital by giving up his share). As initial public offerings of stock provide a natural exit route for venture capital investors, it is essential to make European growth stock markets more liquid and efficient.

The EU should also develop a growth and investment culture. Successful entrepreneurs should therefore be encouraged to invest in turn and become business angels.

Developing debt finance for SMEs

The EU should encourage traditional bank finance for innovation. A round table between banks and SMEs will be organised in order to improve the scope for long-term banking relationships, promote microfinance (loans of less than 25 000) and “mezzanine finance” (hybrids of loans and equity), and also evaluate the advantages of tax relief systems for young innovative companies.

Strengthening the EU contribution to SME financing

The EU needs to devote more resources to SME financing.

The main existing Community instruments in this respect are the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013), the JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) initiative, under the EU’s regional policy and the Seventh Research Framework Programme (2007-2013).

The EU has also reviewed its regulations on State aid for risk capital funds, particularly to help innovative SMEs.

Introducing better governance at national level

It is also up to the Member States to ensure that the regulatory and fiscal environment favours SME access to debt finance and venture capital. Some Member States have already been successful in doing so. It is therefore essential to identify and spread good practices.

It is also recommended that the Member States draw up support schemes for entrepreneurs to make them aware of investor concerns and prepare them on how to present their projects better.

Background

This Communication forms part of the Lisbon strategy and its proposals complement the Communication on a modern policy for SMEs.

The European Commission will present a report on the progress made in SME financing in 2009 that will feed into the reporting on progress with the renewed Lisbon strategy.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 November 2005, entitled “Implementing the community Lisbon programme – Modern SME policy for growth and employment” [COM (2005) 551 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises [Official Journal L 124 of 20.05.2003].