Tag Archives: Financial assistance

European financial stabilisation mechanism

European financial stabilisation mechanism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European financial stabilisation mechanism

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Economic and monetary affairs > Stability and growth pact and economic policy coordination

European financial stabilisation mechanism

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No 407/2010 of the Council of 11 May 2010 establishing a European financial stabilisation mechanism.

Summary

The financial crisis that hit the global economy at the end of 2008 has had several harmful consequences for Member States’ economies:

  • the downturn in economic growth;
  • the deterioration in the budget deficits and debt positions of the Member States;
  • the destabilisation of financial markets.

The financial difficulties experienced by a Member State may present a serious threat to the financial stability of the European Union (EU) as a whole. It is therefore necessary to establish a European facility providing financial assistance which is capable of supporting Member States in difficulty and thereby preserving the financial stability of the EU.

Scope

The European financial stabilisation mechanism provides assistance to Member States where:

  • a Member State is experiencing, or is seriously threatened with, a severe financial disturbance;
  • the financial disturbance or threat of financial disturbance is due to events beyond the control of the Member State concerned.

Financial assistance

The European financial stabilisation mechanism may take the form of a loan or credit line granted to Member States. A credit line is an authorisation given to a Member State to draw funds up to a specified ceiling for a given period of time.

Procedure

Before it can benefit from the European financial stabilisation mechanism, a Member State shall submit a request comprising:

  • an assessment of its financial needs;
  • an economic and financial adjustment programme describing the various measures to be taken to restore financial stability.

Thereafter, the Council shall decide whether to grant financial assistance to the Member State. It shall act by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission. If the Council decides to grant financial assistance to the Member State, its decision contains:

  • the procedures for the financial assistance, such as the amount, the number of payments, the availability period of the financial assistance, etc.;
  • the general economic policy conditions: these conditions are established by the Commission. They are attached to the EU financial assistance with a view to re-establishing a sound economic situation in the Member State concerned and to restoring its capacity to finance itself on the financial markets;
  • the economic and financial adjustment programme of the Member State.

Moreover, the general economic policy conditions shall be the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Member State and the Commission. The Commission shall then re-examine compliance with these conditions regularly in collaboration with the European Central Bank. Any changes to these conditions may result in an adjustment of the economic and financial adjustment programme of the Member State.

Granting of financial assistance

The disbursement of loans or the opening of credit lines granted to Member States shall be managed by the Commission. The latter shall verify at regular intervals whether the economic policy of the beneficiary Member State accords with its adjustment programme.

The Commission shall also be authorised to borrow on the capital markets or from financial institutions in order to finance the loans granted to Member States.

Moreover, the Court of Auditors shall have the right to carry out financial controls and audits in order to verify the legality of financial assistance granted by the EU.

Compatibility with other mechanisms providing financial assistance

The European financial stabilisation mechanism is compatible with the facility providing medium-term financial assistance for balances of payments. This financial assistance is for Member States which have not adopted the euro and are experiencing difficulties in their balance of payments.

The European financial stabilisation mechanism also does not exclude recourse to financing outside the EU, in particular by the International Monetary Fund. In that case the Commission shall examine whether the European financial stabilisation mechanism is compatible with the outside financing.

Review of the European financial stabilisation mechanism

Six months after the entry into force of this Regulation, the Commission shall review whether the exceptional circumstances which justified the establishment of the European financial stabilisation mechanism remain. If the European mechanism is maintained, the Commission shall conduct the same review every six months.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 407/2010

12.5.2010

OJ L 118 of 12.5.2010

The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

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Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

In its corporate operational plan the EIB sets out its medium-term policy and identifies its operational priorities in the light of its objectives as laid down by its governors. For the 2011-2013 period, lending activity is geared around the following priorities:

  • cohesion and convergence;
  • support for the knowledge economy;
  • development of trans-European networks (TENs);
  • environmental protection;
  • support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • promotion of sustainable, competitive and secure energy;
  • human capital.

Economic and social cohesion in an enlarged European Union

The EU cohesion policy aims to reduce economic and social disparities between the different EU regions. Moreover, the Commission implements this policy through the Structural Funds which provide grants to the European regions.

The EIB complements the action of the Structural Funds through loans it provides under the framework of the cohesion policy. These loans represent a second source of funding for projects undertaken at local or regional level.



Support for the knowledge economy

The EIB is working towards creating a knowledge economy aimed at stimulating economic growth, employment and social cohesion. Under this aim, the EIB supports investment in three areas:

  • education;
  • research and development;
  • innovation.

Development of trans-European networks

The EIB also provides major support for funding trans-European networks (TENs). These networks are infrastructure networks for transport, energy and communication.

Environmental protection

Projects supported by the EIB in the field of environmental protection concern the following sectors:

  • the urban environment;
  • sustainable transport;
  • water resource management (supply and sanitation);
  • combating climate change;
  • renewable energies and energy efficiency.

In addition, all projects financed by the EIB, whichever kind they may be, must comply with European principles, practices and standards in environmental matters.

Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The EIB provides medium and long-term funding for SMEs through credit lines made available to intermediaries (banks or other financial institutions). Through these credit lines, intermediaries can support limited-size investment projects run by SMEs.

The EIF, for its part, supports SMEs either directly by providing own resources through venture-capital funding, or indirectly by guaranteeing portfolios of loans to SMEs held by financial institutions or public guarantee agencies.

Promotion of sustainable, competitive and secure energy

Supporting the EU’s energy needs is one of the EIBs lending priorities. The EIB therefore focuses its action on five priority areas:

  • renewable energy;
  • energy efficiency;
  • research, development and innovation;
  • diversification and security of internal supply;
  • external energy security and economic development.

Human capital

The EIB contributes human capital by granting loans in the health and education sectors. Loans provided by the EIB may, for example, finance new buildings, equipment or even be invested in university research.

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


Another Normative about The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

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

Institutional affairs > The institutions bodies and agencies of the union

The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

In its corporate operational plan the EIB sets out its medium-term policy and identifies its operational priorities in the light of its objectives as laid down by its governors. For the 2011-2013 period, lending activity is geared around the following priorities:

  • cohesion and convergence;
  • support for the knowledge economy;
  • development of trans-European networks (TENs);
  • environmental protection;
  • support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • promotion of sustainable, competitive and secure energy;
  • human capital.

Economic and social cohesion in an enlarged European Union

The EU cohesion policy aims to reduce economic and social disparities between the different EU regions. Moreover, the Commission implements this policy through the Structural Funds which provide grants to the European regions.

The EIB complements the action of the Structural Funds through loans it provides under the framework of the cohesion policy. These loans represent a second source of funding for projects undertaken at local or regional level.



Support for the knowledge economy

The EIB is working towards creating a knowledge economy aimed at stimulating economic growth, employment and social cohesion. Under this aim, the EIB supports investment in three areas:

  • education;
  • research and development;
  • innovation.

Development of trans-European networks

The EIB also provides major support for funding trans-European networks (TENs). These networks are infrastructure networks for transport, energy and communication.

Environmental protection

Projects supported by the EIB in the field of environmental protection concern the following sectors:

  • the urban environment;
  • sustainable transport;
  • water resource management (supply and sanitation);
  • combating climate change;
  • renewable energies and energy efficiency.

In addition, all projects financed by the EIB, whichever kind they may be, must comply with European principles, practices and standards in environmental matters.

Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The EIB provides medium and long-term funding for SMEs through credit lines made available to intermediaries (banks or other financial institutions). Through these credit lines, intermediaries can support limited-size investment projects run by SMEs.

The EIF, for its part, supports SMEs either directly by providing own resources through venture-capital funding, or indirectly by guaranteeing portfolios of loans to SMEs held by financial institutions or public guarantee agencies.

Promotion of sustainable, competitive and secure energy

Supporting the EU’s energy needs is one of the EIBs lending priorities. The EIB therefore focuses its action on five priority areas:

  • renewable energy;
  • energy efficiency;
  • research, development and innovation;
  • diversification and security of internal supply;
  • external energy security and economic development.

Human capital

The EIB contributes human capital by granting loans in the health and education sectors. Loans provided by the EIB may, for example, finance new buildings, equipment or even be invested in university research.

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

Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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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

Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/212/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and repealing Decision 2006/57/EC.

Summary

The Accession Partnership with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is the main instrument for helping the Government of the FYROM to realise the country’s prospect of joining the European Union (EU). After submitting its application for membership on 22 March 2004, the FYROM was granted candidate-country status by the European Council on 17 December 2005.

The Accession Partnership with the FYROM is an instrument of the stabilisation and association process set up under the Thessaloniki agenda (2003) for the western Balkan countries. The European Partnerships and the Accession Partnerships for the western Balkan countries have Regulation (EC) No 533/2004 as their legal basis.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of the Partnership is to register in a common reference framework:

  • the priority areas where reforms and efforts are required; these are identified according to the country’s requirements and involve the adoption and implementation of appropriate legislation;
  • guidelines for financial assistance for taking action in these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions governing implementation of the Partnership.

The Council of the European Union adopts the Accession Partnership, as well as its subsequent amendments, by a qualified majority on the basis of a proposal from the Commission.

The current Partnership supersedes the Partnership of 2006 and updates it by identifying new priorities. European Partnerships are flexible instruments designed to reflect the progress made by the countries concerned and to highlight the efforts still required in other areas as identified by the Commission’s evaluations.

With a view to achieving the objectives identified in the Accession Partnership, the FYROM must adopt an action plan setting out procedures and a programme for implementing the priorities of the Partnership.

Implementation of the Partnership is monitored within the framework of the stabilisation and association process and its mechanisms, in particular the annual evaluation report presented by the Commission.

PRIORITIES

The Accession Partnership establishes priorities which are both realistic and attainable goals. In this regard, a distinction is made between short-term and medium-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within one to two years and within three to four years respectively.

The priorities identified for the FYROM relate to its capacity to meet:

  • the Copenhague criteria of 1993;
  • the conditions set for the Stabilisation and Association Process (Council conclusions of 27 April 1997 and 21 and 22 June 1999);
  • the Zagreb declaration of 2000;
  • the Thessaloniki agenda of 2003.

The short- and medium-term priorities are classified as follows:

  • the key priorities are short-term priorities. They focus on the application of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the establishment of a constructive political dialogue, the implementation of the police law, the demonstration that sustainable progress has been made in implementing judicial reforms and anti-corruption legislation, the civil service, including the prevention of political interference in the recruitment and the career of officials, the creation of jobs and the consolidation of the rule of law in order to improve the business climate;
  • the requirements relating to the political criteria cover democracy and the rule of law (implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the electoral process, the public authorities, the administration, the judicial system, the fight against corruption); respect for human rights and the protection of minorities (through compliance with international and European standards, such as those of the Council of Europe; the creation of law-enforcement bodies and judicial and prison administrations; the fight against discrimination; the protection of human, women’s and children’s rights; the equitable representation of communities and access to education for minorities); regional questions and international obligations (cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); regional cooperation and dialogue, including the implementation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement; good neighbourly relations, and in particular finding a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution for the country’s name; implementation of cooperation agreements with neighbouring countries, notably on cross-border cooperation, the fight against organised crime, trafficking and smuggling, the management of external borders, readmission and the environment);
  • the requirements relating to the economic criteria for strengthening legal certainty for economic operators (the registration of land and real estate) and the functioning of the market economy; the improvement of public services (creation and modernisation of infrastructures); the viability of the electricity market; the quality of public spending and of education; labour market performance and the reduction of unemployment; the integration of the informal economy into the formal economy and the modernisation of national infrastructures for improving the economy’s competitiveness, particularly with regard to energy and transport;
  • the ability to assume the obligations of membership concerning the adoption and implementation of the Community acquis regarding a certain number of EU policies classified under headings.

FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

The FYROM receives financial assistance to help it fulfil the accession criteria. The Accession Partnership serves as a reference instrument for determining the different areas where funds are allocated (according to identified priorities). The decisions which establish the various financial instruments and programming documents provide the actual legal framework for the financial assistance.

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is the sole financial instrument for candidate countries and potential candidate countries for the period 2007-2013. It replaces the CARDS Programme, the financial instrument of the stabilisation and association process for the countries of the western Balkans covering the period 2000-2006. Over this period, a total of EUR 298.2 million was allocated to the FYROM under CARDS.

Financial assistance for national programmes under the IPA for 2007-2010 should be EUR 401.1 million, in line with the multiannual indicative financial framework (MIFF) for 2009-2011 (including 2007 and 2008) .

Community assistance is conditional on recipient countries abiding by the essential elements which govern their relations with the EU, particularly the effective implementation of reforms. Under the Accession Partnership, the FYROM is required to comply with the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the Partnership. Failure to meet these requirements could result in the Council suspending financial assistance.

The FYROM also receives funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), principally within the framework of the mechanism for granting regional loans to the EU’s south-eastern neighbours. This mandate covers the candidate countries and the countries of the western Balkans. The financing provided by the EIB takes the form of grants and loans.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/212/EC 22.3.2008 OJ L 80 of 19.3.2008

Related Acts

Communication of 5 March 2008 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “Eastern Balkans: Enhancing the European perspective” [COM(2008)127 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Communication of 27 January 2006 entitled “The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity” [COM(2006) 27 – Not published in the Official Journal].

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, of the other part [Official Journal L 84 of 20.3.2004].

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [Official Journal L 210 of 31.7.2006].

Multiannual indicative financial framework (MIFF) for:

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

Multiannual indicative planning document 2007-2009 for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (pdf )
.

EVALUATION

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

Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

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

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

Proposal

Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation of 6 April 2005 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund [COM(2005) 108 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Regulation proposed by the Commission aims to equip the EU to respond appropriately to a range of major disasters, including public health emergencies. Set to enter into force in January 2007, it will replace the legislation governing the current version of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) (Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002).

The fund will now be able to channel emergency financial assistance to Member States and those countries currently negotiating EU membership. The use of the Fund to assist countries that are not (yet) Member States is based on a specific provision in the Treaty of Nice governing economic and financial cooperation with non-EU countries.

Scope of the Fund

The EU will provide financial assistance in cases where the extent of the damage caused by a disaster is such that it hampers a country’s ability to respond effectively.

The current Regulation proposal broadens the scope of EUSF assistance, which has so far been limited to natural disasters. From now on, the EU will also be able to react to industrial and technological disasters, public health emergencies and acts of terrorism.

The extent of a disaster will be determined according to:

  • a quantitative criterion, when the amount of direct damage is estimated to be either 1 billion or more (in 2007) or 0.5 % of the affected country’s gross national income. This new threshold makes more cases eligible for aid from the Fund. Regional and local disasters causing damage at a level below this threshold are the responsibility of the Member State concerned, although they may be eligible for assistance from other Community funds;
  • a political criterion, which will allow the Commission to propose the Fund be used for emergencies in cases where the material damage alone would not normally qualify for assistance. This is particularly useful for dealing with the consequences of acts of terrorism and epidemics.

Having a single fund focussing solely on large-scale disasters will ensure the aid is as effective as possible.

Emergency assistance

EUSF aid will be granted to finance emergency measures by public authorities or bodies in Member States.

These include:

  • restoring essential infrastructure for power generation, water supplies and sewage, telecommunications, transport, health and education;
  • immediate medical assistance and measures to protect against imminent health threats, mainly by providing drugs, medical products and vaccines;
  • providing temporary accommodation and immediate disaster-relief measures for victims;
  • setting up emergency preventive systems;
  • emergency measures to protect the local culture and environment;
  • emergency clean-up operations in the disaster area;
  • medical, psychological and social assistance for direct victims of terrorism and their families

To receive aid, eligible countries must send a request to the Commission within ten weeks of the disaster.

The Commission will determine the appropriate amount of aid, which can never be more than 50 % of the total cost of the eligible operations, and ask the budgetary authority to release these funds. They can be paid as soon as the amounts have been entered in the Community budget and an implementation agreement concluded between the beneficiary country and the Commission.

There is also a new fast-track relief mechanism by which an advance of 5 % of the estimated amount (no more than EUR 5 million) can be paid for the most urgent measures.

Before 1 July every year, the Commission will present a report to the Parliament and the Council setting out the activities of the Solidarity Fund.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure

COM (2005) 108

Codecision COD/2005/0033

Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (Euratom) No 300/2007 of 19 February 2007 establishing an Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation.

Summary

This Regulation establishes a framework for funding measures aimed at providing a high level of nuclear safety and radiological protection, as well as the implementation of effective and efficient safety controls in Non-EU Member Countries. This financial framework covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013 and involves a sum of 524 million for the whole of this period.

The Regulation provides financial support for measures for improving nuclear safety, particularly in terms of regulatory framework or management of nuclear plant safety (design, operation, maintenance, decommissioning), the safe transport, treatment and disposal of radioactive waste, remediation of former nuclear sites, protection against ionising radiation given off by radioactive materials, accident prevention and reaction in the event of an accident, or also the promotion of international cooperation.

The financing may take the form of, among other things, projects or programmes, grants to fund measures, contributions to guarantee funds and national or international funds, or even human or material resources. Furthermore, the action financed may be either entirely funded by the EU or cofinanced with one or more partners.

The assistance is implemented on the basis of multiannual strategy papers adopted by the Commission. These papers cover one or more countries for a maximum of seven years and are restricted to the scope of this Regulation. They contain multiannual indicative programmes which specify in particular the key objectives and indicative financial allocations. On the basis of these documents, the Commission adopts action programmes, generally lasting a year, which set out specific details concerning the implementation of the assistance.

Certain measures may be adopted which are not included in the programming documents: these are special measures, adopted by the Commission in an emergency, and support measures, which include, for example, technical or administrative assistance.

Assistance may be granted to, amongst others, partner countries and regions, their decentralised bodies, public and parastatal bodies, private companies, non-state actors such as non-governmental organisations or professional associations, natural persons, the Joint Research Centre or EU agencies, international organisations, and financial institutions.

Participation in the award of procurement or grant contracts is, in principle, limited to natural persons or legal entities respectively, who are nationals of or established in a Member State, a country that is a beneficiary of this cooperation instrument, the pre-accession instrument or the neighbourhood instrument, or a Member State of the European Economic Area. Participation is also open to natural persons or legal entities from countries which have granted reciprocal access to their external assistance.

The measures financed by way of this Regulation are subject to EU financial regulation and the rules on protection of the EU’s financial interests.

The Commission regularly evaluates the results of the policies and programmes, along with the effectiveness of the programming, and submits to the European Parliament and to the Council an annual report on the implementation of assistance granted under this Regulation.

The Regulation is subsequent to Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 99/2000 relating to the TACIS programme, Council Decision 98/381/EC, Euratom and Council Decision 2001/824/EC, Euratom. This financing instrument also complements other third country support instruments.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (Euratom) No 300/2007 1.1.2007-31.12.2013 OJ L 81, 22.3.2007

Related Acts

Commission Decision of 8 August 2007 approving the Nuclear Safety Strategy 2007-2013 for Community Cooperation Programmes and Indicative Programme 2007-2009 [C(2007) 3758].

Regulation (EC) No 1717/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an
Instrument for Stability
[Official Journal L 327, 24/11/2006].
The instrument for stability has been established to grant financial aid during the period 2007-2013 to actions ensuring stable conditions for human and economic development, and the promotion of human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms within the framework of the EU’s external relations policy.

Commission Decision 2005/510/Euratom of 14 June 2005 concerning the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the “Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management” [Official Journal L 185, 16/7/2005].

Commission Decision 1999/819/Euratom of 16 November 1999 concerning the accession to the
1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety
by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) [Official Journal L 318, 11/12/1999].