Tag Archives: GU

Guidelines on State aid for developing regional airports

Guidelines on State aid for developing regional airports

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines on State aid for developing regional airports


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

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Guidelines on State aid for developing regional airports

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 9 December 2005 “Community guidelines on financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports” [PDF ] [Official Journal C 312 of 09.12.2005].


The purpose of these guidelines is to clarify how the competition rules apply to the financing of airports and to start-up aid granted to airlines by the State. The Commission’s aim is to tackle air transport congestion in the main European airports and make it easier for the European public to travel, while ensuring that the competition rules are complied with. It also takes the view that developing the regional airports also helps to develop the regional economies concerned.

Financing of airports

The Commission makes it clear that the financing and provision of airport infrastructure by the public authorities must comply with the Community rules on State aid. Aid may be justified and declared compatible provided it meets an objective of general interest, such as regional development or accessibility. Additional conditions are that the aid must be in proportion to the objective set and must not adversely affect the development of trade within the EU.

Addressing the issue of subsidies for the operation of airport infrastructure, the Commission makes a distinction according to airport size since, while funding granted to airports with fewer than one million passengers a year is unlikely to distort competition or affect trade to an extent contrary to the common interest, an operating subsidy for an airport with more than one million passengers a year may constitute State aid and must therefore be notified to the Commission, which will examine its impact on competition and trade between Member States and, where appropriate, its compatibility. On the other hand, the Commission has decided that public service compensation constituting State aid granted to airports with fewer than one million passengers entrusted with a mission of general economic interest should be exempted from the notification obligation and declared compatible.

Start-up aid for airlines

Start-up aid granted to airlines operating from regional airports is a way of attracting airlines to new destinations. Operating aid of this kind is justifiable, temporarily, only in the case of small airports that do not yet have the critical mass needed to reach break-even point. In addition, the aid must provide airlines with the necessary incentive to create new routes or new schedules operated from the regional airports in question.

Large airports, on the other hand, benefit from economies of scale and are able to attract connections. This results in air traffic being concentrated on a small number of hubs which are then faced with major congestion problems. Encouraging the development of regional airports will help to make air traffic in Europe less congested and provide scope for economic development in the regions concerned.

Consequently, the Commission considers that start-up aid for the operation of new routes should be allowed for a maximum of three years (five years in the case of the outermost regions). The duration of start-up aid is clearly a sensitive issue. A balance needs to be found between facilitating the development of regional airports in their formative years and open and fair competition between European airports. The Commission takes the view that a period of three years (five years in the case of the outermost regions) meets the objectives of regional development while satisfying the requirements of fair competition.

This type of State aid may be granted to airlines either by a public authority (central, regional or local government) or through the airports that receive public subsidies. The Commission emphasises the fact that subsidies must be granted only for new routes or new schedules.

In addition, it will not be acceptable to grant start-up aid for a new air route corresponding to an existing high-speed rail link. This concern to ensure that the different modes of transport are mutually complementary is a reflection of the intermodal approach that the Commission is seeking to promote, e.g. by encouraging cooperation between the rail and air transport sectors in an effort to deal more effectively with the effects of saturation and pollution around urban areas.

The State aid guidelines apply equally to both private and public airports. The term “State aid” refers to the origin of the funds not the status of the airport. For example, a public airport may act as a private investor by granting subsidies to airlines from its own resources on the basis of commercial profitability considerations. Conversely, if a private airport uses public resources, granted by a regional or local authority for example, this constitutes State aid.

The Commission recognises the role of airlines and airports in the process of opening up European airspace and certain regions. The exponential growth of low-cost carriers in Europe has done much to help the establishment of a network of interregional air routes, making it easier for the general public to travel and promoting the growth of the local economies and job creation.


These guidelines set out a legal framework for the financing of airports and for State start-up aid used by regional airports for the benefit of airlines. They thus spell out the principles underlying Commission Decision 2004/393/EC of 12 February 2004 in the Ryanair/Charleroi case. These new guidelines add to rather than replace the 1994 guidelines. They are the outcome of extensive consultation of the various parties involved in air transport and its effects on regional development.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2004/393/EC of 12 February 2004 concerning advantages granted by the Walloon Region and Brussels South Charleroi Airport to the airline Ryanair in connection with its establishment at Charleroi [OJ L 137 of 30.04.2004].

Community guidelines on the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EC Treaty and Article 61 of the EEA Agreement to State aids in the aviation sector [OJ C 350 of 10.12.1994].


Guarantee Fund for external actions

Guarantee Fund for external actions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guarantee Fund for external actions


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


Guarantee Fund for external actions

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009 of 25 May 2009 establishing a Guarantee Fund for external actions (Codified version).


As a result of its loans to third countries and guarantees covering loans to finance investment operations in these countries, the European Union (EU) is exposed to considerable financial risks. It was with the aim of protecting against such risks that the EU adopted this Regulation establishing a Guarantee Fund for external actions.

This Regulation describes how the Fund operates and lays down the procedure for endowing the Fund and the rules for its management. The main aim of the Fund is to protect European budget appropriations and to contribute to compliance with budgetary discipline.


The mission of the Guarantee Fund for external actions is to pay the EU’s creditors in the event of default by the beneficiary in respect of:

  • a loan granted or guaranteed by the EU;
  • a guaranteed loan granted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for which the EU acts as guarantor.

Moreover, the Guarantee Fund can cover only loans and guarantees carried out for the benefit of a third country or for the purpose of financing projects in a third country.

Management and financial endowment

The Commission entrusts the financial management of the Fund to the EIB under a mandate from the EU. The Guarantee Fund is endowed by:

  • direct payments from the general budget of the EU;
  • interest on Fund resources invested;
  • amounts recovered from defaulting debtors.

Pursuant to the interinstitutional agreement of May 2006, which contains the Community financial framework for 2007-2013, financing of the Fund is guaranteed as compulsory expenditure from the general budget of the EU.

Target amount and annual transfer

The target amount refers to the amount of resources required by the Fund in order to fulfil its mission. The Fund’s target amount is set at 9 % of the EU’s total outstanding capital liabilities arising from each loan or guarantee operation, increased by unpaid interest due. The annual transfer from the EU budget to the Fund is calculated by applying the target amount to the outstanding amount of loans granted and guaranteed. The difference between the target amount and the actual value of the Fund’s assets is paid from the general budget of the EU into the Fund, or to the budget in the event of a resulting surplus in the Fund.

The provisioning amount is calculated during financial year “n” on the basis of loans granted and guaranteed during the previous financial year (“n-1”). There is therefore a delay of approximately one year between the time when the amounts become outstanding and the actual provisioning of the Fund.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009


OJ L 145 of 10.6.2009

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 2 July 2010 – Annual Report from the Commission on the Guarantee Fund and the management thereof in 2009 [COM(2010) 805 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 1934/2006 of 21 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories [Official Journal L 405 of 30.12.2006].

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 of 24.11.2006].
This Regulation establishes an instrument for stability which includes development cooperation measures and measures for financial, economic and technical cooperation with third countries.

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

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks


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

Regional policy > Management of regional policy > Trans-european networks

Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1336/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1997 on a series of guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks [Official Journal L 183 of 11.07.1997]. [See amending acts].


In this Decision, the European Parliament and the Council establish guidelines covering the objectives, priorities and broad lines of action proposed for trans-European networks. These guidelines set out the areas selected for projects of common interest and establish a procedure for the identification of specific projects of common interest in these areas.

The following priorities are established for the achievement of the objectives set out in point 1 above:

  • study and validation of technical and commercial feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications supporting the development of a European information society, in particular applications of collective interest;
  • study and validation of feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications contributing to economic and social cohesion, by improving access to information across the whole Union, building on European cultural diversity;
  • stimulation of trans-boundary interregional initiatives and of initiatives involving regions, in particular the less favoured ones, for the launch of trans-European telecommunications services and applications;
  • study and validation of feasibility, followed by the deployment of applications and services contributing to the strengthening of the internal market and job creation, in particular those offering to SMEs means to improve their competitiveness in the Community and at world level;
  • identification, study and validation of technical and commercial feasibility, followed by the deployment of trans-European generic services providing seamless access to all kinds of information, including in rural and peripheral areas, and interoperable with equivalent services at world level;
  • study and validation of the feasibility of new integrated broadband communication (IBC) networks, where required for such applications and services, and the promotion of such networks;
  • identification and removal of gaps and missing links for effective interconnection and interoperability of all components of telecommunications networks in Europe and at world level, with particular emphasis on IBC networks.

The broad lines of measures to be implemented for achieving the objectives defined in point 1 will cover:

  • identification of projects of common interest by the establishment of a work programme;
  • action aiming at increasing the awareness of citizens, economic operators and administrations about the benefits they can draw from the new advanced trans-European telecommunications services and applications;
  • action aiming at the stimulation of combined initiatives from users and providers for the launch of projects in the field of trans-European telecommunications networks, in particular IBC networks;
  • support, within the framework of the methods laid down by the Treaty, for action to study and validate the feasibility, followed by the deployment, of applications, in particular applications of collective interest, and encouragement of the establishment of public/private collaboration, in particular through partnerships;
  • stimulation of the supply and use of services and applications for SMEs and professional users;
  • promotion of the interconnectivity of networks, the interoperability of broadband services and applications and the infrastructure they require, in particular for multimedia applications, and interoperability between existing services and applications and their broadband counterparts.

The projects designated are eligible for Community support in accordance with the provisions of the Council Regulation laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks.

Member States shall take all measures required at national, regional or local level to facilitate and accelerate the implementation of the projects of common interest in accordance with Community rules.

The Commission shall report every three years on the application of this Decision to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Annex 1 to the Decision defines the three-layer model which is the most appropriate way of describing trans-European telecommunications networks:

  • The “applications” level caters for user needs, taking into account cultural and linguistic differences and, in particular, the accessibility requirements of disabled people. These applications also seek to cater for the specific needs of less developed or less populated regions.
    The areas concerned are the following: a) e-government and e-administration: (e.g. e-procurement activities, personal security, environment and tourism, business support for SMEs and participation in the democratic decision-making process); b) improved access to health services and improvements in the quality of care (e.g. networking of health care institutions, actions on disease prevention and health promotion); c) education and culture (e.g. new ways of presenting educational and cultural information, life-long learning and participation of older people and people with disabilities in the information society).
  • The “generic services” level provides common tools for the development and implementation of new applications based on interoperable standards.
    The areas concerned are the following: a) the mobile services (e.g. for the 2.5-3G mobile networks: guidance and navigation, security, invoicing, emergency services, health, teleworking, learning and culture); b) services in the public interest aimed at all aspects of security (e.g. networking of the national CERT systems).
  • The “interconnection and interoperability of networks” level promotes the interconnection, interoperability and security of networks underpinning the operation of specific public interest applications and services.

The Community is taking additional back-up and coordinating measures with a view to creating the appropriate environment for the realisation of these projects. The actions will contribute to programme awareness, and to consensus development centred on European, national, regional and local activities designed to stimulate and promote the new services and applications. They will necessitate consultation with European standardisation and planning bodies, involving essentially:

  • strategic studies on the formulation of target specifications and the transition towards their application, in order to help players in the sector to make sound economic investment decisions;
  • definition of means of accessing broadband networks;
  • establishment of common specifications based on European and world standards;
  • intensification of public and private partnerships (PPP);
  • coordination of these activities with related Community and national programmes.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 1336/97/EC 31.7.1997 OJ L of 11.7.1997
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1375/2002/EC 19.8.2002 OJ L 200 of 30.7.2002

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006


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

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

This communication sets out the Commission guidelines to help Member States draft their programming documents for financial assistance from the Structural Funds and coordinate them with the Cohesion Fund for the 2000-06 period.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 1 July 1999 concerning the Structural Funds and their coordination with the Cohesion Fund: Guidelines for the programmes in the period 2000-2006 [COM(1999) 344 final – Official Journal C 267 of 22.09.1999].


The objective of the European Union’s structural and cohesion policies is to reduce economic and social disparities within the Community. These policies support national and regional policy in regions facing difficulties and on the labour market. While the Member States are responsible for setting their own development priorities, the Community lays down guidelines that they must take into account since the European Union, as part-financier of their programmes, has a right to examine assistance and wishes to promote the Community dimension of economic and social cohesion.

These general indicative guidelines are provided for by the Regulation laying down general rules on the Structural Funds and their purpose is to help the national and regional authorities define and prepare programming strategies under Objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the Structural Funds and their links with the Cohesion Fund. These development and conversion strategies will be “integrated” in the sense that they will pursue a coherent vision and create a decentralised, effective and broad partnership so as to involve the largest possible number of national, regional and local actors.

The following guidelines are based on three main priorities:

  • regional competitiveness;
  • economic and social cohesion;
  • the development of urban and rural areas (including specific measures for areas dependent on fisheries).


Creating the basic conditions for regional competitiveness

To achieve the objective of improved regional competitiveness, adequate all-round conditions and an environment conducive to developing entrepreneurial activity must be promoted in the regions. Firms must have access to a broad range of indirect support in conformity with Community competition rules in areas such as transport, energy, telecommunications, environmental technology and research, development and technological innovation. When assistance is granted to these sectors of activity, account must be taken of the trans-European networks, the operations of the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) must be coordinated and public/private partnerships encouraged.

Improving transport networks and systems

Transport networks and systems play a vital role in aid for economic development. This is why future regional development programmes must include investment in transport to mitigate factors undermining competitiveness (transport costs, saturation, long journey times) and increase the quality of infrastructure service (ancillary services, safety).

Programmes will have to take account of the following priorities to establish a balance between different modes of transport, accessibility and sustainability:

  • improving the effectiveness of transport systems by modernising and repairing infrastructure, fostering better management and encouraging measures to enhance interoperability;
  • seeking a balance between the different modes of transport by investing more in modes other than road transport, developing coherent intermodal and combined transport systems and creating transfer hubs;
  • improving access to the regions by connecting the main networks to local small-scale transport systems;
  • reducing the harmful effects of transport by complying with environmental protection rules.

In the eligible Member States, the Cohesion Fund will concentrate its transport operations on implementing the trans-European networks The ERDF, in coordination with the EIB where necessary, should focus more on regional accessibility, interoperability of infrastructure, creating transfer hubs and supporting urban and regional public transport systems.

Energy: networks, efficiency and renewable resources

Sustainable regional development requires an effective and competitive energy sector in order to increase the security, flexibility and quality of energy supplies and reduce their cost. In the less-developed regions, Structural Fund investments should cover:

  • providing efficient infrastructure for gas and electricity distribution to reduce dependence on external suppliers and the effects of isolation;
  • more effective use of energy by small and medium-sized firms, households and public buildings by means of technologies that will cut costs and consumption;
  • renewable energy resources which create local employment, reduce external dependence and bring down pollution (investment in this field should account for at least 12% of the overall budget of the energy sub-programmes).

Towards the information society

The rapid development of the information society is opening up new possibilities for economic development. However, access to the information society requires an efficient basic telecommunications infrastructure. Telecommunications operators will generally make investments in this field themselves, using their own resources, by borrowing and, if needed, in collaboration with the EIB. Where state aid nevertheless proves necessary, all assistance must comply with Community competition rules.

Information society measures included in the development programmes will aim:

  • to promote new services and innovative applications, particularly in electronic commerce, distance working and public services;
  • to equip and train potential users in order to increase their skill level.

For a highquality environment

Europe’s environment continues to face threats, primarily from water, air and soil pollution. Moreover, preventive measures are needed in natural areas exposed to disasters like flooding. Assistance from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should guarantee compliance with environmental standards laid down in the relevant European directives (e.g. the polluter-pays principle).

The following specific priorities have been set for the different sectors:

  • Water: guaranteeing supplies of adequate quality and quantity and collecting, treating and disposing of urban waste water (disposal points, sludge elimination);
  • Waste management: the compulsory waste management plans covering the entire territory of a Member State must improve the management and disposal of solid urban, industrial and hazardous waste and encourage the safe and definitive recycling, re-use or disposal of waste.

Research, technological development and innovation (RTD)

Structural assistance must give an increasing priority to promoting RTD and innovation activities because of their impact on regional dynamism and the partnership they create between public sector, businesses, higher and further education and business support organisations.

Priority will be given to investment in RTD activities in the following fields:

  • promoting innovation through the use, in particular, of new forms of financing such as venture capital in order to broaden the range of targeted activities and encourage start-ups, spin-offs and specialised services to firms;
  • industrial networking and cooperation to foster technology transfer and the creation of industrial and commercial clusters;
  • developing of human resources by encouraging interaction between firms, higher education/research institutes, lifelong learning and the continuous upgrading of skills and abilities.

Competitive firms that stimulate job creation

Competitive firms help create employment and contribute to regional economic development. The services sector is an expanding source of jobs which must be taken into account in Community programmes. The financial assistance and other benefits granted to firms must comply with Community rules.

Support for firms: priority to SMEs

Without neglecting large firms, structural assistance to stimulate the productive sector must focus rather on small and medium-sized enterprises, in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • shifting the traditional emphasis from capital grants towards alternative financing mechanisms such as repayable advances, venture capital, loan capital, revolving funds and mutual guarantee schemes;
  • improving the quality and organisational aspects of assistance by targeting the specific needs of SMEs, improving access to business support services, training and information, improving the specialised skills of staff, setting up networks and exchanging experiences;
  • involving the private sector in defining strategies through partnership.

Business support services

Business support services not only enable firms to increase their competitiveness and move into new markets but also represent an important source of jobs (10% of total employment in the European Union). Structural Fund assistance to these services should improve support for technology transfer, internationalisation, organisational and management innovation, and the creation of financial tools (seed capital, mutual guarantee companies).

The priorities in this field are as follows:

  • identifying the needs of firms in order better to meet their requirements;
  • exploiting the synergies between service centres, technology transfer centres, science parks, universities and research centres, in particular by disseminating best practice;
  • strengthening international cooperation between firms;
  • improving the geographical distribution of the supply of business services.

Three areas with particular potential

Environment, tourism and culture and the social economy are sectors with high job-creation potential which remains under-exploited:

  • Environment: Structural Fund assistance must give priority to investments which follow a preventive approach to environmental hazards, use clean technologies and sound management and encourage the restoration of derelict industrial sites and training;
  • Tourism and culture: since these two sectors are closely associated and rich in job-creation potential, Structural Fund assistance must seek to modernise infrastructure, improve workers’ skills by training them to exploit the possibilities offered by the new information technologies, promote public/private partnerships and safeguard local heritage and identity;
  • Social economy: there are many different types of organisations active in the social economy (cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations, firms), all working in wide variety of fields (competitive markets, health services, neighbourhood services, sports activities, entertainment, youth employment and combating social exclusion). They account for some 5% of total employment in the European Union. Priority assistance in this sector should be given to active support for the creation and development of service suppliers, by means of information, training, advice, financial and technical assistance and support to ensure the longer-term survival of newly-created activities.


The European Social Fund (ESF) is the chief financial instrument working to improve the skills and adaptability of human resources. The priorities set out below apply throughout the territory of the European Union, although specific regional features are also taken into account. The Commission is proposing that Objective 3 of the Structural Funds, which supports the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment, should act, firstly, as a frame of reference for all human resource measures throughout each Member State and, secondly, as a programming instrument through which the European Social Fund will provide financial assistance throughout the Community.

Frame of reference for human resource development

The European Social Fund is the main financial instrument at European Union level for helping the Member States to implement the employment guidelines under the European employment strategy. Coherence between the strategy in the national plans and the priorities of the European Social Fund in this area is clearly crucial.

In the activities of the European Social Fund, three aspects are of particular importance:

  • mainstreaming equal opportunities between men and women;
  • harnessing the employment potential of the information society
  • promoting local development through the territorial employment pacts.

Active labour market policies to promote employment

The Member States will have to show how they translate the active or preventive strategies recommended in the employment guidelines into specific measures. The first step is to identify the individuals at risk. The planned measures will include diagnostic interviews, training, career counselling and job search assistance, and must enable the unemployed to get training and young people to demonstrate their employability, in particular through apprenticeships. The unemployed and young people must also be helped to adapt to technological and economic change.

Local and regional employment services have a key role to play in adapting human resources to structural change, by auditing the skills available and the levels of young people’s professional qualifications, as well as training and re-skilling needs. They will then be in a position to adapt the provision of training to the needs of local and regional firms.

An inclusive society, open to all

A labour market open to all is a priority for Member States in the European employment strategy. When designing preventive and active policies, close attention must be paid to the needs of the disabled, the ethnic minorities and other categories of the population who may be at a disadvantage.

Promoting employability, skills and mobility through lifelong learning

To develop a skilled workforce, it is crucial to improve the quality of education and training, so education and training systems must have more resources, with absolute priority being given to young people with learning difficulties. Opportunities for lifelong learning, particularly in the fields of information and communication technologies, should also be improved.

Developing capacity for change and entrepreneurial spirit

In collaboration with the social partners, the Member States will endeavour to modernise work organisation and forms of work and enable the workforce to adapt better to economic change. Two major prerequisites for achieving this objective are supporting entrepreneurship and expanding training opportunities.

In regions undergoing structural conversion, synergy will have to be sought between measures aiming at integration, professional training and re-skilling and activities supporting economic development and conversion.

In order to promote entrepreneurship, a combination of demand-side measures (support for creating new activity) and supply-side measures (targeted information, training and tutoring) should be implemented.

Particular attention to women

After analysing the disparities between men and women, targets should be set to correct imbalances, together with indicators to monitor the implementation of programmes. The objective of balanced participation of men and of women at all levels of society can be achieved by measures to improve professional career profiles, give women greater access to responsible jobs and foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

Specific measures in Objective 1 and 2 regions

The local authorities play a growing role in implementing the employment guidelines within their own sphere of competence. There is therefore room for the regions to take a high profile in implementing the guidelines, this should be reflected in the regional programmes for Objectives 1 and 2.

The main features of such programming will be:

  • a “bottom-up” approach based on a local and regional evaluation of needs;
  • in the context of structural conversion, training geared to keeping pace with the changing requirements of local and regional firms;
  • an innovative approach to developing new activities, products and methods.


Harmonious territorial development is taking place against a background of greater economic and monetary integration, increasingly global markets and the integrated approach of Structural Fund assistance. In addition, the guidelines on the long-term development of the European territory (European Spatial Development Perspective, or ESDP) are designed to encourage the emergence of multiple zones of economic integration more evenly distributed across the Union, and progressive evolution towards a multi-centred European area.

Urban development within an integrated regional policy

Urban areas play a vital role in the European economy. Medium-sized towns in particular exert a powerful influence on rural areas. Integrated strategies for development and conversion should have four main aims:

  • greater prosperity and increased employment in urban areas;
  • support for social integration;
  • protection of the environment, urban ecosystems and public health;
  • a drive toward better urban and local management (transport, energy, living conditions).

Programming documents for Objective 1 and 2 regions should include urban development measures that embody these objectives. The restoration of disadvantaged urban areas could receive special integrated support similar to that developed by the Urban II Community Initiative. Measures supported by the European Social Fund under Objective 3 should have a major impact in terms of economic and social cohesion even in areas not covered by Objectives 1 and 2.

Rural development for modernisation, diversification and environmental protection

Many rural areas are experiencing problems caused by structural changes such as the shrinking job market in the agricultural sector (nowadays about three-quarters of Europe’s farmers work part-time and need additional sources of income).

The multi-functional role of agriculture is increasingly recognised. Indeed, the function of farming, forestry and other productive activities is not only economic but also social (the provision of quality products and the supply of leisure opportunities to town dwellers), environmental (protection of the landscape and ecosystems) and cultural (heritage and identity). As the second pillar of the common agricultural policy (CAP), rural development serves to ensure the sustainability of the European model of agriculture.

In the areas eligible under Objectives 1 and 2, the Structural Funds and the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) should support the diversification of a rural economic structure based on encouraging new activities, giving priority to:

  • strengthening the competitiveness of agriculture by granting aid for investments for modernisation, cost-cutting, improved product quality and the maintenance of farms;
  • enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of rural areas by making them more accessible and helping them diversify towards new activities (tourism), supporting SMEs and innovative sectors like renewable energy sources;
  • safeguarding the environment and European rural heritage by protecting the landscape, natural resources and traditional rural areas and promoting farm tourism and the renovation of villages.

The new Leader+ Initiative for rural development will provide additional structural assistance with a view to finding all-round solutions to the problems facing rural areas and helping to define new models of rural development, in particular by networking and cooperation between local actors.

Synergies between urban and rural areas

If the Union is to enjoy the best possible conditions for development, progress in towns and rural areas must be complementary. Exploiting synergies could result in a multi-centred and hence more balanced territorial development of the Community. Moreover, developing the role of medium-sized urban centres is of special importance in thinly populated areas.

The regions covered by Objectives 1 and 2 are of a size which provides an adequate framework for an overall approach in which urban and rural areas are complementary, as they need to be. An integrated approach to programming should help create areas of dynamic integration on an international scale, mainly through highly effective trans-national, national and regional infrastructure. The Interreg III Initiative should supplement this mechanism by supporting trans-European cooperation, particularly across borders.

Specific measures for areas dependent on fisheries

Structural policy in the fisheries sector (including aquaculture and the processing and marketing of products) is a vital component of the common fisheries policy. It seeks to provide a response to the socio-economic difficulties of coastal areas by steering and speeding up restructuring of the sector through rationalisation and modernisation of production.

Programmes will give priority to:

  • the guidelines contained in the multi-annual guidance programmes (MGP IV until 2001 and MGP V thereafter) as the basic frame of reference;
  • avoiding possible undesirable effects caused by assistance or lack of it (ageing of the fleet, exhaustion of fishery resources);
  • greater selectivity of fishing gear and methods;
  • improving product quality, working conditions and safety.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 12 March 2003, “Further indicative guidelines for the candidate countries” [COM(2003) 110 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This communication seeks to lay down a set of additional strategic guidelines for the candidate countries to help them with their first attempt to devise a structural funding programme.

In view of the particular situation of the regions in the ten new Member States, the Commission has decided to simply publish a set of additional indicative guidelines. For these countries, the first programming period will be very short, covering at most 2004-2006, as opposed to the seven years enjoyed by existing Member States. Thus, as a first stage of a development strategy, the goal of these countries should not be to tackle and solve all their problems within these three years but rather to establish clear priorities so funding can be concentrated on their most pressing needs.

Furthermore, despite substantial progress, the new Member States still have only limited capacity as regards administration, programming, management and monitoring. Adhering to Community rules, particularly as regards public procurement and the environment, still poses enormous difficulties.

Virtually all regions in the ten Member States are on the list of the 25% of regions with the lowest per-capita GDP. The main challenge is thus to promote the growth-enhancing conditions and factors that will help them all enjoy substantial real progress towards convergence with the EU average, and to ensure the strategy focuses on developing the type of investment likely to increase competitiveness while paving the way for greater job creation and sustainable development.

Meeting the challenge of the first programming in 2004-06 in the new Member States therefore depends on three vital conditions:

  • anticipation – wherever possible, preparing and negotiating the programming documents with the Commission before accession to give as long an implementing period as possible;
  • a quest for simplification – this has seen the Commission and Member States calling on the new countries to take a realistic, pragmatic approach to the implementation of structural funding in their initial programming period.
  • limiting the number of projects, priorities and measures – by making hard choices to target structural funding on the areas it is most needed. This should make the financial management of future programmes easier and allow a more flexible response to problems of funding take-up which may be experienced by certain measures.

Guidelines on vertical restraints

Guidelines on vertical restraints

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines on vertical restraints


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


Guidelines on vertical restraints

1) Objective

To help companies make a case-by-case assessment of the compatibility of agreements with the competition rules by providing a framework of analysis for vertical restraints.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission notice of 13 October 2000: Guidelines on vertical restraints
[COM(2000/C 291/01) – Official Journal C 291 of 13.10.2000].

3) Summary


Vertical restraints are agreements or concerted practices entered into between two or more companies each of which operates, for the purposes of the agreement, at a different level of the production or distribution chain, and relating to the conditions under which the parties may purchase, sell or resell certain goods or services. These guidelines set out the principles for the assessment of vertical agreements with a view to determining whether they affect competition between Member States.


The guidelines describe the vertical agreements that generally do not fall within Article 81(1): agreements of minor importance, agreements between small and medium-sized firms and agency agreements


The guidelines on vertical restraints also describe the general framework of analysis and the policy which the Commission plans to follow in the field.

Analysis of the effects on the market of vertical restraints

The negative effects on the market that may result from vertical restraints which EC competition law aims to prevent are as follows:

  • foreclosure of other suppliers or other buyers by raising barriers to entry;
  • reduction of inter-brand competition between the companies operating on a market;
  • reduction of inter-brand competition between distributors;
  • limitations on the freedom of consumers to purchase goods or services in a Member State.

However, vertical restraints often have positive effects, in particular by promoting non-price competition and improved quality of services. Consequently, the application of certain vertical restraints may be justifiable for a limited period where:

  • one distributor may “free-ride” on the promotion efforts of another distributor;
  • a manufacturer wants to enter a new geographic market, for instance by exporting to another country for the first time. This may involve certain “first-time investments” by the distributor to establish the brand in the market;
  • certain retailers in some sectors have a reputation for stocking only “quality” products;
  • client-specific investments have to be made by either the supplier or the buyer, such as in special equipment or training;
  • know-how, once provided, cannot be taken back, and the provider of the know-how may not want it to be used for or by his competitors;
  • in order to exploit economies of scale and thereby see a lower retail price for his product, the manufacturer may want to concentrate the resale of his product on a limited number of distributors;
  • the usual providers of capital (banks, equity markets) provide capital sub-optimally when they have imperfect information on the quality of the borrower or there is an inadequate basis to secure the loan;
  • a manufacturer increases sales by imposing a certain measure of uniformity and quality standardisation on his distributors. This may enable him to create a brand image and thereby attract consumers. This can be found, for instance, in selective distribution and franchising.

Method of analysis for vertical restraints

In general, the assessment of a vertical restraint involves the following four steps:

  • the companies involved need to define the relevant market in order to establish the market share of the supplier or the buyer, depending on the agreement. In order to calculate the market share, the relevant product market (which comprises any goods or services which are regarded by the buyer as interchangeable) and the relevant geographic market (which comprises the area in which the companies concerned are involved in the supply and demand of the relevant goods and services) are taken into account;
  • If the relevant market share does not exceed the 30% threshold, the vertical agreement is covered by the Block Exemption Regulation, subject to the conditions set out in Regulation No 2790/1999;
  • If the relevant market share is above the 30% threshold, it is necessary to assess whether the vertical agreement distorts competition. The following factors to be taken into consideration are: the market position of the supplier, competitors and the buyer, entry barriers, the nature of the product, etc;
  • If the vertical agreement falls within Article 81(1), it is necessary to examine whether it fulfils the conditions for exemption. In that case, the vertical agreement must contribute to improving production or distribution or to promoting technical or economic progress and must allow consumers a fair share of those benefits. At the same time, the vertical agreement must not impose on the companies concerned restraints which are not indispensable to the attainment of those benefits or to eliminate competition.

The most common vertical restraints

The most common vertical restraints are:

  • Single branding

Single branding results from an obligation or incentive which makes the buyer purchase practically all his requirements on a particular market from only one supplier. It does not mean that the buyer can only buy directly from the supplier but that he will not buy and resell or incorporate competing goods or services. The possible competition risks are foreclosure of the market to competing and potential suppliers, facilitation of collusion between suppliers in cases of cumulative use and, where the buyer is a retailer selling to final consumers, a loss of in-store inter-brand competition.

  • Exclusive distribution

In an exclusive distribution agreement, the supplier agrees to sell his products only to one distributor for resale in a particular territory. At the same time, the distributor is usually limited in his active selling into other exclusively allocated territories. The possible competition risks are mainly reduced intra-brand competition and market partitioning, which may in particular facilitate price discrimination. When most or all of the suppliers apply exclusive distribution, this may facilitate collusion, both at the suppliers’ and the distributors’ level.

  • Exclusive customer allocation

In an exclusive customer allocation agreement, the supplier agrees to sell his products only to one distributor for resale to a particular class of customer. At the same time, the distributor is usually limited in his active selling into other exclusively allocated classes of customer. The possible competition risks are mainly reduced intra-brand competition and market partitioning, which may in particular facilitate price discrimination. When most or all of the suppliers apply exclusive customer allocation, this may facilitate collusion, both at the suppliers’ and the distributors’ level.

  • Selective distribution

Selective distribution agreements, like exclusive distribution agreements, restrict the number of authorised distributors, on the one hand, and the possibilities of resale on the other. The difference vis-à-vis exclusive distribution is that the restriction of the number of dealers does not depend on the number of territories but on selection criteria linked in the first place to the nature of the product. Another difference vis-à-vis exclusive distribution is that the restriction on resale is not a restriction on active selling to a territory but a restriction on any sales to non-authorised distributors, leaving only appointed dealers and final customers as possible buyers. Selective distribution is almost always used to distribute branded final products. The possible competition risks are a reduction in intra-brand competition and, especially in cases of cumulative effect, foreclosure of a certain type or types of distributor and facilitation of collusion between suppliers or buyers.

  • Franchising

Franchise agreements contain licences of intellectual property rights relating in particular to trade marks or signs and know-how for the use and distribution of goods or services. In addition to the licence of IPRs, the franchiser usually provides the franchisee during the life of the agreement with commercial or technical assistance. The licence and the assistance are integral components of the business method being franchised. The franchiser is in general paid a franchise fee by the franchisee for the use of the particular business method. Franchising may enable the franchiser to establish, with limited investments, a uniform network for the distribution of his products. From the competition viewpoint, in addition to provision of the business method, franchise agreements usually contain a combination of different vertical restraints concerning the products being distributed, in particular selective distribution and/or non-compete and/or exclusive distribution or weaker forms thereof.

  • Exclusive supply

Exclusive supply means that there is only one buyer inside the Community to which the supplier may sell a particular final product. For intermediate goods or services, exclusive supply means that there is only one buyer inside the Community or that there is only one buyer inside the Community for the purposes of a specific use. For intermediate goods or services, exclusive supply is often referred to as industrial supply. The main competition risk of exclusive supply is the foreclosure of other buyers.

  • Tying

Tying exists when the supplier makes the sale of one product conditional upon the purchase of another distinct product from the supplier or someone designated by the latter. The first product is referred to as the tying product and the second is referred to as the tied product. If the tying is not objectively justified by the nature of the products or commercial usage, such practice may constitute an abuse of a dominant position. Agreements of this type, which are designed to make the sale of one product conditional upon the purchase of another distinct product, may be incompatible with the competition rules.

  • Recommended and maximum resale prices

The practice consists in recommending a resale price to a reseller or requiring the reseller to respect a maximum resale price. The possible competition risk of maximum and recommended prices is that they will work as a focal point for the resellers and might be followed by most or all of them. They may then facilitate collusion between suppliers.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

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

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for developing national maritime policies


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

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 June 2008 on “Guidelines for an Integrated Approach to Maritime Policy: Towards best practice in integrated maritime governance and stakeholder consultation” [COM(2008) 395 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) has proposed guidelines for the development of an integrated maritime policy, which constitutes one of the Commission’s strategic objectives for the period 2005-2009. This new approach at the European level is at the heart of the EU’s integrated maritime policy proposed by the Commission in October 2007. The guidelines set out the policy’s overarching vision and encompass the actions of Member States and maritime stakeholders towards an integrated approach to maritime affairs at the national level.

Member States are encouraged to establish their own integrated maritime policies in close collaboration with their national and regional maritime stakeholders. Due to the many interactions between different maritime policies, efficient coordination of every action developed by government organisations will be required. To achieve this it is advised that Member States improve and facilitate cooperation at all levels of maritime governance, including at the European level.

Member States should consider creating internal coordinating structures within their government frameworks (government departments, national parliaments, etc.). Such a structure could provide a government framework to facilitate decision-making at the national level. A post responsible for the coordination of maritime affairs could be created. The role would consist specifically of structuring the dialogue between the different sectoral interests.

Coastal regions and other local decision-makers should be allowed to play a role in the development of integrated maritime policies, taking into account their experience of Integrated Coastal Zone Management and regulating the spatial deployment of their activities.

All maritime stakeholders should participate in integrated maritime policy-making. These include economic partners (industries and services), social partners, NGOs, universities and research institutions. Their participation at the national, regional and local levels is recommended. Member States should authorise the participation of these stakeholders in the governance of maritime affairs whilst ensuring the transparency of the decision-making process.

It is essential to develop cross-border coordination at regional sea basin level, to ensure the dissemination of good practices and to develop improved cooperation between Member States in certain areas, such as those relating to the protection of the marine environment, to the safety, security, and surveillance of Europe’s maritime areas and to marine and maritime research. To this end, the European Commission is developing regional strategies and is currently preparing strategies for the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Commission invites Member States to share information on the steps they are taking towards integrated maritime governance. The Commission shall publish the collated information on the Internet in table form. The information could be used as a model for sharing good practice.

The Commission will report on progress towards an integrated approach to maritime affairs by the end of 2009, as stated in the Blue Paper on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU.


These guidelines form a central part of the Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (Blue Paper) adopted by the Commission in October 2007 and approved by the European Council in December 2007.

These guidelines also form part of the United Nations’ 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013

Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013


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

Regional policy > Management of regional policy

Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013

Document or Iniciative

Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013 [Official Journal C 54 of 4.3.2006].


In order to assist the economic development of Europe’s most disadvantaged regions during the period 2007-2013, national regional aid is designed to support investment and job creation and encourage firms to set up new establishments.

National regional aid consists of investment aid * granted to large companies and to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and operating aid (in certain limited circumstances). As a general rule, aid should be granted under a multi-sectoral aid scheme which forms an integral part of a regional development strategy.

Legal background

These guidelines contain the criteria applied by the Commission when examining the compatibility of national regional aid with the internal market under Article 87(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty establishing the EC.

The permissible aid ceilings vary according to the relative seriousness of the problems affecting the development of the regions concerned in order to mitigate the distortionary effect of state aid on competition in the internal market. These guidelines include an aid instrument to encourage small business start-ups in the regions.


Activities in the following sectors are excluded from the scope of these guidelines:

  • fisheries and the coal industry;
  • the production of agricultural products referred to in Annex I to the EC Treaty;
  • transport and shipbuilding;
  • steel and synthetic fibres.

Demarcation of regions

The limit for the overall population coverage in assisted areas in the EU-25 has been set at 42 %. However, no Member State loses more than 50 % of the coverage of its population during the period 2000-2006.

Article 87(3)(a)

The guidelines stipulate that the conditions laid down in Article 87(3)(a) are fulfilled if the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of a NUTS II region is less than 75 % of the Community average.

The conditions laid down in Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty are also fulfilled in the case of:

  • regional aid for the outermost regions;
  • certain regions where per capita GDP exceeds 75 % of the EU-25 average because of the statistical effect of the 2004 enlargement. Their GDP per capita was less than 75 % of the EU-15 average. These regions remain eligible on a transitional basis until 31 December 2010. The situation of these regions will be reviewed in 2010. If it has deteriorated, they will continue to be eligible under Article 87(3)(a). Otherwise, they will be eligible under Article 87(3)(c) for an aid rate of 20 %, as of 1 January 2011.

Article 87(3)(c)

As the regional aid subject to the exception in Article 87(3)(c) of the EC Treaty is intended for regions which are less disadvantaged than those referred to in paragraph (a), the geographic scope of the exception and the aid intensity allowed must be strictly limited in accordance with the principle of geographical concentration.

The regions eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(c) are:

  • the regions in which per capita GDP was less than 75 % of the EU-15 average in 1998 but which no longer fulfil this condition for the period 2007-2013 (the ‘economic development regions’) ;
  • regions with a population density of fewer than 8 inhabitants per km2 at NUTS II level or fewer than 12 inhabitants per km2 at NUTS III level;
  • regions with a population of more than 100 000 inhabitants and which have either a per capita GDP lower than the EU-25 average or an unemployment rate higher than 115 % of the national average;
  • islands with fewer than 5 000 inhabitants;
  • NUTS III regions which are adjacent to a region that is eligible for support under Article 87(3)(a) or which share a border with a third country;
  • regions which have a population of more than 50 000 inhabitants and are in serious relative decline or are undergoing major structural change;
  • regions with a population of more than 20 000 inhabitants which suffer from very localised regional disparities, below the NUTS III level, and wish to make use of regional aid for SMEs.


Ceilings for regional investment aid €“ large companies

Article 87(3)(a)

The maximum aid intensities (ceilings) for large companies in regions falling within the scope of Article 87(3)(a) must not exceed:

  • 30 % for regions with a per capita GDP less than 75 % of the EU-25 average;
  • 30 % for the outermost regions. These regions are eligible for a further bonus of 20 % if their GDP per capita is below 75 % of the EU-25 average and a bonus of 10 % in other cases;
  • 30 % for statistical effect regions until 1 January 2011;
  • 40 % for regions with a per capita GDP less than 60 % of the EU-25 average;
  • 50 % for regions with a per capita GDP less than 45 % of the EU-25 average;

Article 87(3)(c)

The aid ceilings for large companies in regions falling within the scope of Article 87(3)(c) must not exceed:

  • 15 % as a rule;
  • 20 % or 30 % for statistical effect regions as of 1 January 2011;
  • 10 % for regions with a GDP per capita that is more than 100 % of the EU-25 average and an unemployment rate lower than the EU-25 average measured at NUTS III level;

Ceilings for regional investment aid €“ SMEs

Aid ceilings may be increased by 20 % for aid granted to small enterprises and by 10 % for aid granted to medium-sized enterprises.

Large investment projects

For a ‘large investment project’ with an eligible expenditure above EUR 50 million, the aid ceiling is 50 % of the regional ceiling for investments between EUR 50 million and EUR 100 million. The aid ceiling is 34 % of the regional ceiling for investments of over EUR 100 million.

Member States are required to notify the Commission of any aid awarded to an investment project with expenditure of more than EUR 100 million if the aid exceeds the maximum allowable amount. The notification thresholds for different regions with the most commonly encountered aid intensities are summarised below:

  • EUR 7.5 million if the aid intensity is 10 %;
  • EUR 11.25 million if the aid intensity is 15 %;
  • EUR 15.0 million if the aid intensity is 20 %;
  • EUR 22.5 million if the aid intensity is 30 %;
  • EUR 30.0 million if the aid intensity is 40 %;
  • EUR 37.5 million if the aid intensity is 50 %.


Although operating aid * is normally prohibited, it may exceptionally be granted on a temporary basis in regions eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(a). It must be justified in terms of its contribution to regional development and its nature, and its level must be proportional to the handicaps it seeks to alleviate.

Aid for newly created small enterprises

In order to encourage start-up and early development of small enterprises in the regions which qualify for national regional aid, these guidelines authorise aid of up to:

  • EUR 2 million per small enterprise in regions eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(a). The aid ceiling is 35 % of eligible expenses incurred in the first three years after the creation of the enterprise and 25 % in the two years thereafter;
  • EUR 1 million per small enterprise in regions eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(c). The aid ceiling is 25 % of eligible expenses incurred in the first three years after the creation of the enterprise and 15 % in the two years thereafter.

The annual amounts of aid awarded must not exceed 33 % of the abovementioned total amounts of aid per enterprise.

Final provisions

These guidelines apply from 1 January 2007 until 31 December 2013.

Key terms in the Act
  • Investment aid: aid awarded for investment in material and immaterial assets relating to the setting up of a new establishment, the extension of an existing establishment, diversification of the output of an establishment into new, additional products, or a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment (‘initial investment project’);
  • Operating aid: regional aid intended to reduce a firm’s current expenses, for example in the form of tax exemptions or reductions in social security contributions which are not linked to eligible investment costs.

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1628/2006 of 24 October 2006 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty to national regional investment aid [Official Journal L 302 of 1 November 2006].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1627/2006 of 24 October 2006 amending Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 as regards the standard forms for notification of aid [Official Journal L 302 of 1 November 2006].
This Regulation amends Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 implementing Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 (now Article 88) of the EC Treaty. It modifies the standard forms for notification of state aid following the adoption of new guidelines on national regional aid for the period 2007-2013.

Regional aid maps (1.1.2007 €“ 31.12.2013)

– Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland: Official Journal C 256, 24.10.2006

– Malta: Official Journal C 275, 11.11.2006

– Czech Republic, Luxembourg: Official Journal C 280, 18.11.2006

– Greece, Estonia, Lithuania: Official Journal C 286, 23.11.2006

– Latvia: Official Journal C 287, 24.11.2006

– Ireland: Official Journal C 292, 1.12.2006

– Germany: Official Journal C 295, 5.12.2006

– Finland, Sweden, Austria: Official Journal C 34, 16.02.2007

– Spain: Official Journal C 35, 17.02.2007

– United Kingdom: Official Journal C 55, 10.03.2007

– Portugal, Cyprus: Official Journal C 68, 24.03.2007

– Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania: Official Journal C 73, 30.03.2007

– France: Official Journal C 94, 28.04.2007

– Denmark: Official Journal C 141, 26.06.2007

– Netherlands: Official Journal C 176, 28.07.2007

– Italy: Official Journal C 90, 11.04.2008.

The regional aid maps determine not only the regions eligible for regional investment aid but also the maximum aid intensities (ceilings) for each Member State during the period 2007-2013.

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

Guidelines for employment policies

Guidelines for employment policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for employment policies


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

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth

Guidelines for employment policies

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L of 24.11.2010].


The European Union (EU) Member States take the guidelines for employment policies into account when drafting their policies. They thus set their national targets on the basis of the present recommendations.

The guidelines for employment policies are associated with the broad guidelines for economic policies; together they form integrated guidelines for the Europe 2020 strategy.

Increasing labour market participation

The EU has set itself the target of increasing the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 to 75 % by 2020. In order to meet this objective, Member States are to promote the labour market participation of young people, older workers, low-skilled workers and legal migrants.

To this end, national policies must in particular promote the principles of flexicurity, worker mobility and work-life balance.

Member States must establish forward-looking measures to integrate young people and vulnerable groups into the labour market. They must also make employment more attractive, particularly for the low-skilled, whilst ensuring that labour costs are consistent with price stability and productivity trends.

Lastly, Member States must promote self-employment and entrepreneurship. They must foster job creation, including in the areas of care and green employment.

Developing a skilled workforce

Developing new skills that correspond to labour market needs should enable productivity and employability of workers to be increased. Member States must extend the capacity of education and training systems and foster their adaptation to societal trends towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.

In this perspective, measures taken must ensure quality of initial education and lifelong training opportunities. Training must be open to low-skilled or highly skilled workers, and be organised in cooperation with social partners and enterprises.

Member States should also encourage labour mobility, namely through systems for recognising acquired competencies.

Improving education and training systems

By 2020, early school leaving is to be reduced to less than 10 % and at least 40 % of 30-34 year-olds are to have completed tertiary or equivalent education.

This target means investing in the quality of education and training systems, by adapting teaching methods to societal trends and making employability a priority. Member States must also promote lifelong learning, including through non-formal methods.

They must also foster the international mobility of teachers and learners, the development of qualification frameworks enabling flexible learning pathways, and partnerships with enterprises.

Combating social exclusion

The Europe 2020 strategy promotes social inclusion and combats poverty, in order that 20 million people will no longer be confronted with the risk of poverty and exclusion in the next 10 years.

Thus, Member States should pay particular attention to the employment of those furthest away from the labour market. Measures taken must empower people, but must also combat in-work poverty.

National policies must provide guarantees of access to affordable, sustainable and high quality services, including in the social sector. Furthermore, they should aim to ensure that social protection and pension systems are modernised and viable.

Lastly, Member States shall support the social economy and social innovation, fostering equal opportunities and combating discrimination.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2010/707/EU


OJ L 308 of 24.11.2010