Tag Archives: FU

Fundamental rights and non-discrimination.

Fundamental rights and non-discrimination.

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fundamental rights and non-discrimination.

Topics

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

Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Amsterdam treaty: a comprehensive guide

Fundamental rights and non-discrimination.

The founding Treaties contained no specific provisions on fundamental rights. The credit for gradually developing a system of guarantees for fundamental rights throughout the European Union has to go to the Court of Justice.

The rulings given by the Court have been essentially based on:

  • Article 220 (ex Article 164) of the EC Treaty establishing the European Community, which requires the Court to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaty;
  • the political dimension of the Community, which is grounded in a European model of society, including the protection of fundamental rights recognised by all Member States.

By bringing fundamental rights to the fore, those who drafted the Treaty of Amsterdam were endeavouring to give formal recognition to human rights. The provisions of the new Treaty include the following:

  • Article 6 (ex Article F) of the EU Treaty has been amended so as to reaffirm the principle of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • a procedure is laid down for dealing with cases where a Member State has committed a breach of the principles on which the Union is based;
  • more effective action is to be taken to combat not only discrimination based on nationality but also discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation;
  • new provisions on equal treatment for men and women are inserted in the Treaty establishing the European Community;
  • individuals are afforded greater protection with regard to the processing and free movement of personal data;
  • the Final Act was accompanied by declarations on the abolition of the death penalty, respect for the status of churches and philosophical or non-confessional organisations, and on the needs of persons with a disability.

BACKGROUND

The place given to fundamental rights in the Community Treaties has changed considerably since the European venture was first launched. At the outset, fundamental rights were not a central concern of those who drafted the Paris and Rome Treaties, which reflect a sectoral and functionalist approach. The Treaty of Paris, which established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), is concerned solely with the coal and steel industries. This sectoral approach gained strength after the failure, in 1954, of the European Defence Community (EDC) and the concomitant moves towards political union. It thus became a feature of the Rome Treaties establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC). Although the EEC Treaty was wider in scope than the other two, all three Treaties covered well-defined economic spheres.

One consequence of this sectoral approach was to set the founding Treaties apart from any basic law of a constitutional nature which incorporated a solemn declaration on fundamental rights. The Treaties in question were not suited to the inclusion of such a preamble, particularly since the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), signed in 1950, already provided an advanced model for the protection of human rights in Europe.

The situation changed rapidly as the Court of Justice, in the judgments it handed down, began to monitor the respect shown for fundamental rights by the Community institutions and the Member States whenever they took action within the areas covered by Community law. The Court recognised, for example, the right to property and the freedom to engage in economic activity, which are essential to the smooth operation of the internal market. The Court held that fundamental rights ranked as general principles of Community law and that they were based on two:

  • the constitutional traditions of the Member States;
  • the international Treaties to which the Member States belonged (and the ECHR in particular).

In 1977 the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council signed a Joint Declaration in which they undertook to continue respecting the fundamental rights arising from the two sources identified by the Court. In 1986 a further step was taken when the preamble to the Single European Act included a reference to the promotion of democracy on the basis of fundamental rights.

The EU Treaty states that “[t]he Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law” (Article 6(2), ex Article F.2).

At the same time, the idea that the Community as such should accede to the ECHR had begun to circulate. The Council decided to ask the Court’s opinion on whether membership of the Convention would be compatible with the Treaties. In its opinion of 28 March 1996 the Court held that, as Community law stood at that time, the Community was not competent to accede to the Convention.

As European integration has progressed, the European Union has gradually widened its field of action, reflecting the determination of the Member States to act as one in areas which until now have been a strictly national preserve (e.g. internal security or the fight against racism and xenophobia). In view of these changes, which necessarily go beyond the sectoral context of the Community’s early days and impinge on the daily life of European citizens, there is a need for clear legal texts which proclaim respect for fundamental rights as a basic principle of the European Union. The Treaty of Amsterdam meets this need.

PRINCIPLES

The Treaty of Amsterdam clarifies Article 6 (ex Article F) of the Treaty on European Union by stating unequivocally that the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.

It also amends the preamble to the EU Treaty, confirming the Member States’ attachment to fundamental social rights as defined in the European Social Charter of 1961 and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers of 1989.

Before the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force, Article F.2 of the EU Treaty stressed respect for the rights guaranteed by the ECHR and those resulting from the constitutional traditions common to the member states. However, under former Article L (now renumbered Article 46) the powers of the Court of Justice did not extend to Article F, so limiting its impact. Since ensuring respect for the law in the interpretation and application of the Treaty is the Court’s task, the scope of fundamental rights was correspondingly reduced.

By amending Article 46, the Treaty of Amsterdam ensures that Article 6(2) will be applied. The Court now has the power to decide whether the institutions have failed to respect fundamental rights.

BREACH BY A MEMBER STATE OF THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THE UNION IS BASED

The Treaty of Amsterdam proclaims that the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States. At the same time, the new Treaty acknowledges that these principles may be infringed by a Member State and lays down the procedure which the Union should follow in dealing with the Member State concerned.

Establishment of the existence of a breach

On a proposal from the Commission or one third of the member states, the Council – in the shape of the heads of state or government – may determine the existence of a breach by a Member State. The breach must be “serious and persistent”. The European Parliament has to give its assent by a majority of its members and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast. The government of the Member State in question is first invited to submit its observations.

The Council’s decision establishing a breach will be considered unanimous even where a Member State abstains.

Suspension of the Member State concerned

Once a serious and persistent breach has been established, the Council may (but need not necessarily) suspend some of the Member State’s rights under the Treaty. However, the country remains bound by its obligations. The suspension of rights might, for instance, involve withdrawing the Member State’s voting rights in the Council.

At this second stage, the Council acts by a qualified majority, disregarding the votes of the Member State concerned.

Variation or revocation of the suspension

If there is a change in the situation that led to a Member State’s suspension, the Council can decide to vary or revoke the measures taken.

When taking such a decision, the Council acts by a qualified majority, disregarding the votes of the Member State concerned.

THE FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Article 12 (ex Article 6) of the EC Treaty provides that any discrimination on the grounds of nationality is prohibited. At the same time, Article 141 (ex Article 119) lays down the principle of non-discrimination between men and women, though only as far as equal pay is concerned.

The Treaty of Amsterdam restates the principle of non-discrimination in stronger terms, adding two new provisions to the EC Treaty.

The new Article 13

This Article complements Article 12, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of nationality. The new Article enables the Council to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

When the Council acts on the basis of Article 13, it does so unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament.

Declaration regarding persons with a disability

The new Article 13 provides for measures to combat discrimination based on disability. The Intergovernmental Conference that drew up the Treaty of Amsterdam sought to offer an even stronger guarantee by including a declaration in the Final Act, stating that the Community institutions must take account of the needs of persons with a disability when adopting measures to approximate Member States’ legislation..

EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

Article 2 of the Treaty provides that it will be the Community’s task to promote the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, environmentally-friendly growth, a high degree of convergence of economic performance, a high level of employment and social protection, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States. Article 3 lists the various measures which the Community should take to carry out the tasks specified in Article 2.

The Treaty of Amsterdam extends these two Articles to include equality between men and women, which previously figured only in Article 141 (ex Article 119) of the EC Treaty (more restricted in scope since it relates only to equal pay). The two additions made are as follows:

Amendment of Article 2

The list of tasks facing the Commission will include the promotion of equality between men and women.

Amendment of Article 3

A new paragraph has been added, reading as follows:

“In all the other activities referred to in this Article, the Community shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.”

PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA

The main Community measure in this area is the 1995 Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. In the absence of a specific legal basis, this Directive was adopted under Article 95 (ex Article 100a) of the EC Treaty, which concerns the approximation of legislation relating to the single market.

The free movement of persons necessarily entails the establishment of information systems on a European scale. In view of these changes, a new article has been inserted in the EC Treaty, making the rules on the protection of individuals applicable to the Community institutions themselves.

The new Article 286

This Article will consist of two paragraphs which will provide respectively that:

  • from 1 January 1999, Community acts on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data apply to the Community institutions and bodies;

before 1 January 1999, the Council is to establish an independent supervisory body responsible for monitoring the application of those Community acts to Community institutions and bodies.

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Topics

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

Transport > Rail transport

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2004 entitled “Further integration of the European rail system: the third railway package [COM(2004) 140 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 2001 the Commission set out its objectives for the reform of rail transport in the White Paper ” European transport policy for 2010: time to decide “.The present communication announces the third railway package. The Commission proposes the opening-up of services to competition by 2010 and puts forward proposals concerning the certification of drivers and strengthening of passengers’ rights.

This third railway package comprises two directives and two regulations (of which one was rejected by the Parliament):

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 142 final] on the certification of drivers

In its communication the Commission stresses the impact of driver training on safety. It considers that driver skills fall into two categories:

  • general skills relating to the job of driver;
  • more specific skills relating to line knowledge, the rolling stock and the operating procedures of the railway undertaking for which the driver works.

With the opening-up of the rail freight markets, a growing number of drivers will find themselves operating on the network of another Member State. The Commission therefore wishes to establish:

  • a certification system attesting that the driver has sufficient general knowledge, authenticated by a licence issued to the individual driver that is recognised and valid throughout the Community;
  • a series of certificates attesting to specific knowledge (relating to a specific route, rolling stock and railway undertaking) and allowing the driver to operate.

Proposal for a Regulation [COM(2004) 143 final] on passengers’ rights

In order to make the railways more attractive, the Commission also wishes passengers’ rights to be better protected – particularly with regard to reimbursement for train delays. The situation of passengers on international journeys is often less secure. The Commission therefore considers that the current international arrangements, based on the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), are inadequate and do not directly create passengers’ rights.

Access to information and fares, and the option of buying international rail tickets easily, are in the Commission’s view the very least that is needed to make rail services attractive. In addition, the Commission wishes liability to be clearly defined in the event of accidents, incidents or train delays. On this last point, compensation thresholds should be set and the various channels for passengers’ appeals clearly identified. Lastly, the Commission considers that greater account should be taken of the needs of people with reduced mobility.

In the Commission’s view, these arrangements to protect passengers’ rights will be all the more vital once the market is opened up for certain services.

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 139 final] on opening up the passenger transport market

The Commission stresses the contrasts between regional, national and international rail traffic and wishes to take these diverse segments into account by combining two models for opening up to competition:

  • under the first, a competitive procedure can be used to award a public service contract. In the Commission’s view this model would work well for suburban and regional services, which transport the vast majority of passengers. It forms the basis of the Commission’s proposal to modernise Regulation No 1191/69 on public service obligations;
  • the other model consists in opening up access to the infrastructure for operators wishing to provide international services. This model would be better suited to long-distance services and to specific services where commercial innovation is likely to attract new customers.

The competitors will need to have:

  • rolling stock and drivers authorised for service in the Member States in which they plan to operate;
  • a railway undertaking licence in a Member State;
  • a safety certificate issued by the national safety authority of each of the Member States they plan to cross;
  • infrastructure capacity, in order to provide a regular service.

The Commission therefore wishes all international services to be opened up to competition on 1 January 2010. This opening-up also includes cabotage on international services (carriage of passengers between two places within the same Member State).

Interoperability requirements

The Commission also points out that integrating Europe’s railway systems requires technical harmonisation in order to ensure the interoperability of rolling stock and equipment.

A fourth proposal rejected by the Parliament

The Commission had also made a proposal for a regulation aiming to improve the quality of rail services. It was rejected first time round by the Parliament. In particular the text proposed establishing mandatory minimum clauses in transport contracts, among which there was a proposal for a compensation system in case of freight being delayed or damaged. It would have encouraged railway undertakings and their clients to regulate quality management contractually.

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Topics

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

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

1) Objective

To aid the future Member States in the preparation of their programming documents for the period 2004-06.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 12 March 2003 – Further indicative guidelines for the candidate countries [COM(2003) 110 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

In 1999 the Commission published indicative guidelines for the programmes for the period 2000-06 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999. The aim of this document was to help the national and regional authorities of the Member States draw up their programming documents. This communication does not replace the one issued in 1999, which remains the reference document, but supplements it by providing specific guidelines for the future Member States which take account of the institutional framework of enlargement and the special features of each of them.

The 10 future Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) will join the European Union on 1 May 2004. There are at present three financial instruments which are helping them prepare for accession:

  • ISPA, the forerunner of the Cohesion Fund (transport and the environment);
  • SAPARD (adjustment of the agricultural sector and rural areas);
  • the Phare programme (economic and social cohesion, cross-border cooperation).

The European Union is also providing assistance through loans from the European Investment Bank, technical assistance and improved administrative cooperation (twinning). To prepare for the management of the Structural Funds, a road map has identified three successive stages:

  • the designation of the authorities to implement the future programmes by the end of 2001;
  • the submission by the future Member States of development plans and draft programming documents at the time of signing the Treaty of Accession in April 2003;
  • use of the current interval to ratify the Treaties prior to accession to begin negotiations on the programming documents.

The first programming period for the future Member States

The first programming period for the future Member States will be very short (3 years), covering the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006. In addition, these countries’ administrative capacities will still be limited and in almost all their regions development is lagging behind. That means that Community assistance must be concentrated on the most urgent needs.

The approach adopted limits the number of items of Community assistance:

  • the programming documents;
  • transport:
  • environment: 
  • energy: 
  • fisheries: 
  • agriculture and rural development: 
  • employment and human resources: 
  • research and development: 
  • the business and innovation culture: 
  • the information society: 
    There are considerable disparities in the future Member States as regards telecommunications infrastructures. Progress has been made, particularly as regards broad-band access.
    Most countries need to make substantial investments to meet the Community acquis, which requires basic services (fixed lines, fax and Internet access) to be available everywhere at a reasonable price.
    Structural measures will help implement national and regional strategies for the information society through the eEurope action plan for 2005.

For further information, consult the following summary releases:

  • the challenge of enlargement;
  • the second progress report on economic and social cohesion,
  • the preparation of the future Member States to implement regional policy in 2004-06.

See also the press releases on the beginning of programming in the future Member States: (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia).

As well as those on adopting programmes in the new Member States: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Topics

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

Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 25 June 2008 on future relations between the EU and the overseas countries and territories [COM(2008) 383 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The arrangements for association of the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) with the European Community (EC) were established by Council Decision 2001/822/EC, in accordance with Part IV of the European Community Treaty.

The Green Paper should serve as a basis for the development of future relations between the OCTs and the EU. It presents an assessment of the needs and economic, social and cultural development potential of the OCTs.

A new development strategy

The OCTs have specific characteristics in common. They are not part of the Community, however they are constitutionally linked to EU Member States. The majority of them are located in the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), but their level of development is higher than that of their neighbours. However, the micro-island character of their economies makes them dependent on importing goods and energy. These factors make them particularly vulnerable to international economic shocks.

By following a new approach, relations between the EU and OCTs could be better differentiated from Community development cooperation policy.

The implementation of a sustainable development strategy for OCTs could support their competitiveness, as well as stimulate economic and social exchanges on a regional and global level. The Green Paper underlines the specific importance of exchange between the OCTs, and between the OCTs and the ACP States.

A renewed partnership with the EU could have reciprocal institutional, economic, social and cultural advantages, as well as benefits in the fields of security and environmental protection. Cooperation could prove essential in tackling climate change and biodiversity protection.

Trade regimes

The OCTs and the EU have close economic relations. The OCT-EC trade regime consists of a non-reciprocal preferential trade regime, established in accordance with tariff conditions which are amongst the most generous that have been granted by the Community. However, in view of progressive global and regional trade liberalisation, a reform of the system proves necessary.

Furthermore, in order to maximise the potential of the preferential regime, the rules of origin and cumulation of origin should be modernised. The OCTs should also improve their ability to comply with Community export standards.

Context

Due to Decision 2001/822/EC expiring at the end of 2013, there will be a review of the OCT-EC association before this date. The Green Paper aims to open the debate on the modernisation of OCT-EC relations, the results of which will be taken into account as part of the review. Furthermore, the funding of cooperation must also be reviewed during the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework for the period 2013 to 2020 and on the budgetisation of the European Development Fund (EDF).

Future networks and the internet

Future networks and the internet

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Future networks and the internet

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

Future networks and the internet

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 29 September 2008: Future networks and the internet [COM(2008) 594 final– Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The internet is constantly evolving. Not only will it become much faster due to the development of very high speed broadband networks, it will also become much more pervasive and available anytime, anywhere. This Communication can be seen as a preparatory step towards this internet of the future.

Emerging trends will challenge the digital economy

The widespread use of broadband has changed the way people use the internet. While it merely provided information in the mid-1990s, the new ‘Web 2.0’ is increasingly participative and interactive due to fundamental advances in user-friendly services.

It is possible to discern four main trends:

  • There will be an evolution of social business networking which will also generate collaboration tools for businesses, Enterprise 2.0. Together with the development of software as a service, this will result in a new generation of computer services easily available on demand and with much reduced overheads, known as the Internet of Services;
  • There will be the emergence of the Internet of Things, which is the seamless connection of devices, sensors, objects, etc. through fixed and wireless networks;
  • Nomadic use through portable devices will transform work organisation patterns;
  • An increase in bandwidth will be required due to the massive projected increase of data traffic.

Challenges and responses

Competitive pressure constitutes the most effective means to encourage the migration to broadband. However, it will be crucial to keep the internet open and e-communications markets competitive. Stimulating investment in high-speed broadband access will be necessary due to the challenges of high investment costs of the necessary civil engineering works, which represent up to 80% of the total costs, and the uncertainty as to whether consumers are willing to pay a sufficient amount for the broadband services for these investments to be profitable.

It will become a policy priority to provide Broadband for all at an affordable price bothin rural and in urban areas. In this line, the Commission proposed a ‘Broadband Performance Index’ in its Annual Progress Report on the Lisbon Strategy. The index is a composite indicator which reflects the need for speed, coverage, affordable prices, innovation, high-quality services and a favourable socio-economic context.

There is also the issue of competition and convergence. Whereas convergence is blurring the market boundaries between telecoms, consumer electronics, media services and internet companies, it is important to ensure that the internet remains open to competition and innovation. It is important that consumers have real choices and do not get locked to services and products.

The existing internet architecture is insufficient to deal with the challenges arising from nomadic computing and the Internet of Things. It is therefore necessary to launch a debate on the design and development of the internet of the future, as it must meet the rising demands of scalability, mobility, flexibility, security, trust and robustness.

It is fundamental to preserve the Privacy and security of the internet of the future at an early stage. To this end, the Commission will provide clear guidelines on the implementation of existing rules on data protection and a coherent strategy for a secure internet of the future.

In all these developments, the crucial role played by international policy, regulatory dialogue and research cooperation should be taken into account. To this end, the Commission is expected to adopt a Communication on the external dimension of information society policies in late 2008.

Background

The aim of promoting access for all to a good-quality internet connection at an affordable price was introduced by the EU policy to ‘Bridge the Broadband Gap’. As part of this policy, the Commission will update and summarise the state-aid rules applicable to broadband projects and launch a debate on the role of Universal Service in providing broadband for all in autumn 2008.

This Communication falls within the context of the Lisbon Agenda post-2010. The internet of the future is a valuable source of economic growth for the EU and it is therefore important that this growth is encouraged by a sound regulatory framework.

Further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes

Further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes

Topics

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

Transport > Intelligent transport and navigation by satellite

Further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on the further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The EGNOS and Galileo programmes cover all the activities needed to define, develop, validate, construct, operate, renew and improve the two European satellite navigation systems, namely the EGNOS system and the system established under the Galileo programme.

EGNOS system

The EGNOS system monitors and improves the quality of signals from existing global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), whereas the Galileo programme established an independent GNSS infrastructure.

The operation of the EGNOS system will predominantly involve infrastructure management, maintenance, improvement and renewal of the system, marketing, and the certification and standardisation operations relating to the programme. The EU will contribute to the financing of the EGNOS system operation.

Galileo programme

The Galileo programme consists of four phases:

  • a definition phase which ended in 2001;
  • a development and validation phase which will end in 2010;
  • a deployment phase which runs from 2008 to 2013;
  • an exploitation phase which will begin by the conclusion of the deployment phase.

The development and validation phase will be funded by the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA). The EU will finance the deployment phase regardless of additional funding from EU countries, non-EU countries and international organisations.

Ownership of the systems

The EU will own all tangible and intangible assets created or developed under the programmes, to which effect agreements will be concluded with third parties, wherever appropriate, with regard to existing ownership rights.

Budgetary contribution and mechanisms

Within the programmes concerned by this regulation, the EU can allocate funding to:

  • activities relating to the completion of the development and validation phase of the Galileo programme;
  • activities relating to the deployment phase of the Galileo programme;
  • activities relating to the operation of EGNOS and actions preceding the exploitation phase of the programmes.

The budget for the implementation of the above-listed activities between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2013 is EUR 3 405 million.

Public governance of the programmes

Public governance of the programmes is based on the principle of strict division of responsibilities between the EU (represented by the Commission), the European GNSS Agency and the ESA.

The Commission is responsible for:

  • the management of the programmes;
  • all questions regarding the security of the systems;
  • the management of the funds allocated to the programmes under this regulation.

The European GNSS Agency is responsible for the following tasks, in accordance with Commission guidelines:

  • ensure the security of the programmes;
  • contribute to the preparation of the commercialisation of the systems;
  • undertake other tasks given to it by the Commission relating to the programmes.

The EU’s public procurement rules will apply to the deployment phase of the Galileo programme, without prejudice to measures required to protect the essential interests of the security of the EU or public security or to comply with EU export control requirements.

The Commission shall conclude a multi-annual delegation agreement with the ESA relating to the delegated tasks and budget implementation of the Galileo programme. This delegation agreement will cover the general conditions for the management of the funds entrusted to ESA, in particular:

  • actions to be implemented;
  • relevant financing;
  • management procedures;
  • monitoring and inspection measures;
  • measures applicable in case of inadequate performance of contracts;
  • rules relating to ownership of tangible and intangible assets.

Mid-term review

In 2010, the Commission will, when appropriate, submit to the European Parliament and the Council, together with its mid-term review, a proposal concerning the public funds and commitments required for the financing programming period starting in 2014.

Attached to this regulation, a joint declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission provides for the creation of a Galileo Interinstitutional Panel (GIP) which will be responsible for facilitating the EU institutions exercising its respective responsibility. The GIP, which will be composed of three representatives from the Council, three from the European Parliament, and one from the Commission, will meet on a regular basis.

This regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No 876/2002 of 24 May 2002 setting up the Galileo Joint Undertaking.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 683/2008

25.7.2008

OJ L 196 of 24.7.2008

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EU) No 912/2010

9.11.2010

OJ L276 of 20.10.2010

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Action Plan on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Applications [COM/2010/0308 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Decision 2009/846/EC of 20 October 2009 on the conclusion of an administrative Agreement between the European Commission and the European GNSS Supervisory Authority on the security and exchange of classified information [Official Journal L 306 of 20.11.2009].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the GNSS programmes and on future challenges pursuant to Article 22 of Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 [COM/2009/0302 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Decision 2009/334/EC of 20 April 2009 establishing an expert group on the security of the European GNSS systems [Official Journal L 101 of 21.4.2009].

Fundamental rights within the European Union

Fundamental rights within the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fundamental rights within the European Union

Topics

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

Human rights > Fundamental rights within the European Union

Fundamental rights within the European Union

The European Union (EU) attaches great importance internally to respect for human rights. Its human rights principles are set out in the Treaty on European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Based on initiatives and programmes such as Daphne and PROGRESS, the Union’s action focuses on combating discrimination, racism and xenophobia and on protecting vulnerable groups, such as children, women and minorities. The European Fundamental Rights Agency monitors respect for the Union’s core values. In particular, it provides assistance and expertise to Member States and the Union bodies implementing EU law on fundamental rights.

GENERAL FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS FRAMEWORK

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Putting the Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice
  • Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
  • The EU’s 2009 Annual Report on Human Rights
  • Annual Report on Human Rights 2008
  • Action plan on unaccompanied minors (2010-14)
  • Civil Justice specific programme (2007-2013)
  • Combating violence towards children, adolescents and women: Daphne III programme (2007-2013)
  • Action to prevent violence against children, young people and women: the DAPHNE II programme (2004-08)
  • Action to combat violence against children, young persons and women: the Daphne programme
  • Respect for and promotion of the values of the Union
  • The Stockholm Programme
  • Action plan on the Stockholm Programme
  • The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

DIGNITY

  • Ban on trade in instruments of torture

FREEDOMS

  • Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers

EQUALITY

  • Renewed commitment for non-discrimination and equal opportunities
  • A framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all
  • Equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin
  • The principle of equal treatment between persons
  • Agenda for the Rights of the Child
  • Towards a Strategy on the Rights of the Child

CITIZENS’ RIGHTS

  • Fundamental rights and citizenship (2007-13)

JUSTICE

  • Recognition of decisions in criminal matters: strengthening mutual trust
  • Green Paper on criminal proceedings
  • Green Paper on mutual recognition of non-custodial pre-trial supervision measures

Fund mergers and master-feeder structures relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities

Fund mergers and master-feeder structures relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fund mergers and master-feeder structures relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities

Topics

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

Internal market > Financial services: transactions in securities

Fund mergers and master-feeder structures relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS)

Document or Iniciative

Commission Directive 2010/44/EU of 1 July 2010 implementing Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain provisions concerning fund mergers, master-feeder structures and notification procedure (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive lays down provisions relating to the mergers of undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and master-feeder structures within the framework of the Directive on the rules applying to UCITS. It forms part of the implementing measures of the latter instrument, which include Directive 2010/43/EU, Regulation (EU) No 583/2010 and Regulation (EU) No 584/2010.

UCITS mergers

In the case of a merger of a UCITS, the unit-holders * must be informed of the conditions of the merger and of its potential influence on the receiving UCITS. The unit-holders shall receive other information including in particular:

  • their rights before and after the proposed merger takes effect;
  • a comparison of charges, fees and expenses for both UCITS;
  • whether the management or investment company of the merging UCITS intends to undertake any rebalancing of the portfolio * before the merger takes effect;
  • details concerning any accrued income in the respective UCITS.

The merging and receiving UCITS shall provide unit-holders with information on the approval procedure for the proposed merger and the date at which the merger is to take effect.

Key investor information of the receiving UCITS shall be provided to the unit-holders of the merging and receiving UCITS.

Master-feeder structures

Agreements and internal conduct of business rules between feeder UCITS and master UCITS

The master UCITS shall provide the feeder UCITS with:

  • a copy of its fund rules or instruments of incorporation and key investor information;
  • information on the delegation of investment management and risk management functions to third parties;
  • internal operational documents.

In addition, the master UCITS shall provide certain information with regard to the basis of investment and divestment:

  • a statement of which share classes of the master UCITS are available for investment by the feeder UCITS;
  • the amount of charges and expenses to be borne by the feeder UCITS;
  • the terms on which any initial or subsequent transfer of assets in kind may be made from the feeder UCITS to the master UCITS.

Procedures in the case of liquidation of the master UCITS

Where the feeder UCITS intends to invest at least 85% of its assets in units of another master UCITS, it shall provide:

  • its application for approval of that investment;
  • its application for approval of the proposed amendments to its fund rules;
  • the amendments made to its key investor information.

Where a feeder UCITS intends to convert into a non-feeder UCITS, it shall provide:

  • its application for approval of the proposed amendments to its fund rules;
  • the proposed amendments to its key investor information.

Where a feeder UCITS wishes to be liquidated, it shall provide notification of this intention.

The competent authorities shall be responsible for informing the feeder UCITS if it intends to invest at least 85% of its assets in units of another master UCITS or if it intends to convert into a non-feeder UCITS. This should take place 15 days after receipt of the documents. Once the feeder UCITS has obtained approval from the competent authorities, it shall inform the master UCITS.

Procedures in the case of merger or division of the master UCITS

The feeder UCITS shall provide the competent authorities with its application for approval in the following cases:

  • where it intends to continue to be a feeder UCITS of the same master UCITS;
  • where it intends to become a feeder UCITS of another master UCITS;
  • where it intends to convert into a non-feeder UCITS;
  • where it intends to be liquidated.

As with the liquidation procedure, the competent authorities shall inform the feeder UCITS 15 days after the documents have been received. Once the feeder UCITS has obtained approval from the competent authorities, it shall inform the master UCITS.

The law of the Member State applying in the case of liquidation, merger or division shall also apply to information sharing between the two depositaries.

Key terms of the Act
  • Unit-holder: any natural or legal person holding one or several shares in a UCITS.
  • Rebalancing of the portfolio: a significant modification of the composition of the portfolio of a UCITS.

Reference

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

Directive 2010/44/EU

30.7.2010

30.6.2011

OJ L 176 of 10.7.2010

Fundamental Rights Agency

Fundamental Rights Agency

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fundamental Rights Agency

Topics

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

Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Summary

The objective of the Agency is to provide Community institutions and bodies and Member States of the European Union (EU) with assistance and expertise on fundamental rights when implementing Community law. The Agency aims to help the institutions, bodies and Member States fully respect these rights.

The Agency collects data on fundamental rights in the areas of Community competence listed in its Multi-annual Framework Programme. The Agency is open to participation by candidate countries. The Council may also decide to invite countries that have a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU to participate in the work of the Agency. Thus, the gradual alignment of these countries’ legislation with Community law is facilitated, and their efforts towards European integration supported.

The Multi-annual Framework, covering a period of five years, identifies the Agency’s thematic areas of activity. These areas must include the fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The tasks of the Agency must be carried out within the confines of the thematic areas of activity and include:

  • independent collection, analysis, dissemination and evaluation of relevant, objective, reliable and comparable information and data on the specific effects on fundamental rights of action taken by the EU, and on good practice in terms of respect for and promotion of these rights;
  • development, in cooperation with the Commission and the Member States, of standards to improve the comparability, objectivity and reliability of data at European level;
  • scientific research and surveys, preparatory studies and feasibility studies;
  • formulation and publication of conclusions and opinions on specific thematic topics and on the development of fundamental rights in implementing policies, aimed at the European institutions and the Member States when implementing Community law;
  • publication of an annual report on fundamental rights issues covered by the areas of the Agency’s activity;
  • publication of thematic reports based on its analyses;
  • publication of an annual activity report;
  • development of a communication strategy, and promotion of dialogue with civil society in order to raise public awareness of fundamental rights.

The Agency must coordinate its activity and establish a cooperation network with civil society (‘Fundamental Rights Platform’) involving various fundamental rights players. The idea is to exchange information, pool knowledge and ensure cooperation between the Agency and the relevant stakeholders.

The Agency must also establish close institutional relations at international, European and national levels, particularly with the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the competent Community agencies, and governmental agencies and public bodies, including national institutions for the protection of human rights. The aim is to cooperate and avoid duplication of work.

The Agency’s bodies are structured as follows:

  • the Management Board (planning and monitoring body) comprises one independent person appointed by each Member State, one independent person appointed by the Council of Europe, and two representatives of the Commission. The term of office of Management Board members is five years and not renewable. The Management Board adopts the annual work programme and an annual activity report. It appoints and, if necessary, dismisses the Agency’s Director. It draws up the annual draft and final budgets;
  • the Executive Board is made up of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the Management Board, two other members of the Management Board elected by the Management Board, and one of the Commission representatives on the Management Board. The Management Board member appointed by the Council of Europe may also participate in the meetings of the Executive Board. The task of the Executive Board is to assist the Management Board;
  • the Scientific Committee is composed of 11 independent persons who are highly qualified in the field of fundamental rights. The members of the Scientific Committee are appointed by the Agency’s Management Board following a selection procedure and after consulting the competent committee of the European Parliament. Their term of office is five years and not renewable. The Scientific Committee is the guarantor of the scientific quality of the Agency’s work.

The Director of the Agency is appointed by the Management Board, taking into account the opinions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, from a list of candidates drawn up by the Commission. The Director is responsible in particular for the day-to-day administration, the performance of the Agency’s tasks and the implementation of its budget.

The Agency’s staff and Director are subject to the regulations and rules applicable to officials and other servants of the European Communities. The Agency must develop good administrative practices in order to ensure the highest possible level of transparency concerning its activities.

The Agency’s budget, €15 million in 2008, is scheduled to reach up to €22 million by 2013. It is proposed that the Agency should have a total staff of around 80 by 2013. The budget will be covered by a Community subsidy, payments received for services rendered, and possible financial contributions from organisations with which the Agency cooperates, candidate countries and countries with which the EU has concluded a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The Agency’s expenditure includes operating expenses, staff remunerations, and administrative and infrastructure costs.

Background

The Agency has been operational since 1 March 2007. It is the legal successor to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), having taken over its legal rights and obligations and its financial commitments. Regulation (EC) No 1035/97 establishing the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has been repealed with effect from 1 March 2007. The Agency is based in Vienna.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 168/2007

23.2.2007

OJ L 53 of 22.2.2007

Related Acts

Agreement between the European Community and the Council of Europe on cooperation between the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe [Official Journal L 186 of 15.7.2008].
This Agreement sets up a framework for the cooperation between the FRA and the Council of Europe. The purpose is first of all to avoid duplication, and secondly, to complement and provide added value to their work. The cooperation is based on regular contacts. To this end, a contact person is appointed in both organisations. In addition, representatives of each will be allowed to attend the other’s meetings as observers. The FRA and Council of Europe must ensure the exchange of all relevant, non-confidential data and information, and the wide dissemination of the results of their activities. To further promote complementarity, regular consultations are to be held between the two to coordinate the FRA’s activities. These consultations may also lead to the development of joint and/or complementary activities on the basis of their common interests.

Council Decision 2008/203/EC of 28 February 2008 implementing Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 as regards the adoption of a Multi-annual Framework for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for 2007-2012 [Official Journal L 63 of 7.3.2008].
This Decision establishes a Multi-annual Framework stipulating the Agency’s thematic action areas for the period 2007-12. The Framework contains nine thematic areas: racism, xenophobia and intolerance; discrimination; compensation of victims; the rights of the child; asylum, immigration and integration of migrants; visas and border control; participation of EU citizens in the EU’s democratic functioning; information society; and access to efficient and independent justice. The Agency can work outside these thematic areas at the request of the European Parliament, Council or Commission.

Fundamental rights and citizenship

Fundamental rights and citizenship

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fundamental rights and citizenship

Topics

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

Human rights > Fundamental rights within the European Union

Fundamental rights and citizenship (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/252/EC of 19 April 2007 establishing for the period 2007-2013 the specific programme “Fundamental rights and citizenship” as part of the General programme “Fundamental Rights and Justice”.

Summary

This decision establishes the programme “Fundamental rights and citizenship”, which is intended to promote the development of a European society based on respect for fundamental rights. To this end, the programme provides for actions conducted by the European Commission, European Union (EU) countries and non-governmental organisations.

A European society based on respect for fundamental rights

The programme supports the development of a European society based on respect for the fundamental rights recognised in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, including the rights resulting from citizenship of the Union. For this purpose, the programme aims to:

  • strengthen civil society and encourage an open, transparent and regular dialogue on fundamental rights;
  • combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism;
  • promote better understanding between religions and cultures;
  • promote increased tolerance in the whole of the EU;
  • strengthen contacts, exchanges of information and networks between the judicial and administrative authorities and the legal professions;
  • encourage judicial training in order to improve mutual understanding between the abovementioned authorities and professions.

Furthermore, the specific objectives of the programme are to:

  • promote fundamental rights and inform all citizens about their rights, including those resulting from EU citizenship;
  • encourage EU citizens to participate actively in the democratic life of the Union;
  • examine respect for fundamental rights in the EU and its countries when Union law is implemented;
  • support non-governmental organisations and other bodies of civil society so that they can actively promote fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy;
  • create the relevant structures to promote inter-faith and multicultural dialogue at EU level.

Specific actions to achieve the objectives of the programme

The programme provides for actions conducted by the Commission, the authorities of EU countries and non-governmental organisations. It also provides for grants following requests for proposals.

The types of actions comprise the following:

  • specific actions conducted by the Commission (studies and research work, polls and investigations, conferences and meetings of experts, organising actions and public events, creating and running websites, developing and distributing information media, etc.);
  • transnational projects of EU interest presented by an authority or a body of an EU country or an international or non-governmental organisation. At least two EU countries or at least one EU country and a candidate country or an acceding country must participate in these projects;
  • support for non-governmental organisations or other bodies pursuing objectives of general European interest that are covered by the programme;
  • operating subsidies for the joint financing of the expenses connected with the permanent working programme of the Conference of the European Constitutional Courts and of the Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union. These bodies manage a number of databases that gather together national decisions relating to the implementation of Union law. The expenses must be incurred for an objective of general European interest.

A programme for citizens

The programme is addressed to EU nationals and nationals of non-EU countries who are lawfully resident within the territory of the Union. It is also addressed to citizens of the participating countries (acceding countries, candidate countries and the countries of the Western Balkans participating in the stabilisation and association process). Other target groups are organisations of civil society and other groups that defend the objectives of the programme.

Provided that they are established in the EU or in one of the non-EU countries participating in the programme, access to the programme is open to the following entities:

  • public or private institutions and bodies;
  • universities;
  • research institutes;
  • non-governmental organisations;
  • national, regional or local authorities;
  • international organisations;
  • other non-profit-making organisations.

The programme makes possible joint activities with competent international organisations in the field of fundamental rights, such as the Council of Europe.

Monitoring and implementing the programme

Every year, the Commission publishes a list of the actions financed under this programme. The available budgetary resources are entered annually in the general budget of the EU. The available annual credits are authorised by the budgetary authority (the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union) within the limits of the financial framework.

The Commission shall ensure that the beneficiary presents technical and financial reports on the state of progress of the work in respect of any action financed by the programme, as well as a final report within three months of the end of the action. Furthermore, the Commission ensures that the EU’s financial interests are protected by applying preventive measures against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity.

The Commission will present an annual stocktaking of the implementation of the programme, an intermediate report assessing the results obtained (by 31 March 2011 at the latest), a communication on the continuation of the programme (by 30 August 2012 at the latest) and an assessment report after the programme finishes (by 31 December 2014 at the latest).

Complementarity with other EU programmes

This programme seeks to complement and establish synergies with other EU programmes, in particular the framework programmes “Security and Safeguarding Liberties” and “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows”, as well as with the PROGRESS programme.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/252/EC

28.4.2007

OJ L 110 of 27.4.2007