Tag Archives: IM

Impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises

Impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises


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

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

Impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises

This communication analyses the impact of information and communication technologies on European companies and the European market. The objective is to support the full introduction of the e-Economy in Europe.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises: economic analysis and policy implications [COM(2001) 711 final – not published in the Official Journal].



Information and communication technologies (ICT) are having a profound impact on the potential for economic growth and have become one of the main sources of competitiveness and increases in incomes. As a result, they have moved to the centre of the policy debate. When in March 2000, in Lisbon, the European Union (EU) set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s “most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy” within ten years, it recognised that attaining this goal depended on making the best possible use of ICT. The Lisbon strategy placed greater emphasis on the knowledge-based society within existing policy processes and launched the eEurope 2002 Action Plan as a roadmap to modernise the European economy.

The emergence of the e-Economy: macro and microeconomic issues

It is generally accepted that, atmacroeconomic level, the increased use of ICT leads to productivity gains and hence improves the competitiveness of enterprises and the economy as a whole. ICT-induced productivity gains are also a source of job creation in certain sectors – whereas jobs may be destroyed in others. ICT use does away with repetitive jobs often carried out by workers with low-level skills. The overall dynamism resulting from ICT use leads to job creation in other areas to an extent that more than offsets the losses.

In this context, the matching of skills poses a major challenge for the design and conduct of the labour market. The ICT skills gap is a major risk hampering further growth in Europe. The situation is particularly sensitive in Europe due to declining demographic trends and the decreasing level of interest of young Europeans in scientific studies.

Atmicroeconomic level, the e-Economy is leading to important changes in organisational market structures. The faster pace of technological change is having a major impact on the structure and lifecycle of enterprises. Firstly, ICT reduces the economic impact of distance and the cost of access to information, thus increasing the scope for competition within markets. Secondly, ICT often tends to lower the cost of setting up small enterprises thus, potentially, providing for additional competition. Thirdly, ICT creates the opportunity for new cooperative means of product and service delivery, which can lead to improved quality and cost efficiency. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ICT gives rise to many new products and services.

The process of creating new enterprises and of adapting or replacing traditional enterprises is indicative of the way the economy adapts to new market conditions. This process has accelerated considerably since the late 1990s. Products are increasingly becoming “extended products” which include an important service component. Internet-oriented enterprises are starting to acquire the characteristics of traditional enterprises, such as warehouses and chains of shops. Conversely, traditional retailers are starting to move part of their activities on-line, adding new distribution channels and new sourcing strategies.

The impact of ICT varies, however, from sector to sector. Information-rich sectors (digital goods, information services, financial and business services, etc.) witness the emergence of new business models and increased market competition. In industries where entry barriers are higher, such as construction and heavy engineering, the impact is likely to be more gradual. Digital interactions between administrations and business are key components of the e-Economy. By offering online access to public services, administrations can add concrete, direct incentives for enterprises to go digital themselves.

One characteristic of the e-Economy is the emergence of new business models. A substantial number of these have failed, along with many “dotcoms”. Others however, have proved to be viable, notably in the business-to-business (B2B) area. Entering the e-Economy at a more mature stage may constitute an opportunity rather than a disadvantage for EU enterprises which have learnt from the mistakes of pioneers. Enterprises can now use tried and tested technologies, as well as viable business models – more specifically B2C (business-to-consumer) whose potential has still to be tapped.

E-Economy enterprises increasingly need to define and manage the risks associated with extended and dynamic enterprise configuration – not just the risks associated with the information infrastructure but also, and especially, those relating to access to adequate financial resources. Although the situation is improving, the EU venture capital market remains only a fraction of that of the US, where pension funds play a major role. Early stage investments in 2000 were five times higher in the US than in Europe. The financial environment in Europe is still insufficiently conducive to innovation, both technological and organisational. In this respect, the European Investment Bank with its “Innovation 2000” initiative and the Commission under the Action Plan on financial services and the multiannual programme for enterprises and entrepreneurship (2001-2006) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) have takenn initiatives to contribute to the supply of risk capital for innovative businesses.

Maximising the benefits of the e-Economy: the next steps

This Communication highlights the steps that will have to be taken to maximise the benefits arising to European enterprises from the e-Economy. These steps encompass:

  • the fostering of a culture of entrepreneurship;
  • enhancing the ICT skills levels needed to participate effectively in the e-Economy;
  • raising the ability of European enterprises to compete in a modern global economy;
  • further improving the functioning of the internal market.

Skills underpin entrepreneurship. Both issues are tightly interrelated. The problem of the skills gap (entrepreneurial skills and technical ICT skills) has been addressed through a number of initiatives, notably in the European Employment Strategy and in the eLearning Action Plan (2001-2004). Taking into account these challenges, there is a need to:

  • accelerate the development of focused skills programmes and e-learning solutions;
  • strengthen research efforts not only in the area of technology, but also with regard to related socio-economic issues and to the effects on human resources;
  • strengthen on-going initiatives at all levels to help enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), acquire ICT and e-business skills;
  • monitor the demand for ICT and e-business skills in Europe, benchmark national policies, and strengthen co-operation and co-ordination at the European level;
  • launch focused projects in 2002, in close co-operation with Member States and the private sector, which aim to address the specific needs of enterprises, particularly SMEs.

The simplification and harmonisation activities undertaken at European level up to now should be continued in order to enable rapid development of pan-European businesses and fair trade in both the B2B and B2C environments. On the other hand, it is necessary to continue to review existing product legislation, in particular certification requirements and procedures to ensure that they are neutral between different means of product and service delivery.

Not all problems, however, can be resolved by legislation alone. Self-regulation should play an important role in promoting trust between partners in electronic transactions. Public policy should be aimed at raising credibility for self-regulation and at ensuring that codes of conduct are respected, through the availability, if needs be, of legal remedies.

In Europe, the e-Economy depends to a significant extent on the full participation of SMEs. The eEurope Go Digital initiative provided a first response to this challenge. It aimed to ensure that European enterprises, and in particular SMEs, fully embraced e-business and became active participants in the e-Economy. It is therefore necessary to:

  • foster open standards and certification procedures;
  • reinforce the security of networks and of information;
  • contribute to reinforcing legal certainty for SMEs engaging in cross border e-business;
  • optimise the use of existing resources, such as structural funds and research and technological development (RTD) budgets.

Exchanges between business and public administrations are a potentially powerful driving force for the e-Economy. This communication encourages public administrations to be at the leading edge of on-line service delivery, and to provide incentives for enterprises to access such services. Public administrations are also urged to continue these efforts to modernise their internal structure, by fostering, for example, the delivery of online services. The aim is to ensure broad interoperability both across borders and between administrations and business.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 13 March 2001 – eEurope 2002: Impact and Priorities

[COM(2001) 140 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 13 March 2001 – Helping SMEs to “Go Digital” [COM(2001) 136 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Councilof 20 December 2000 on a multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (2001-2005) [Official Journal L 333 of 29.12.2000].


Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs

Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs


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

Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs (first report)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 25 January 2006 to the Spring European Council – Time to move up a gear – Part 1: The new partnership for growth and jobs [COM(2006) 30 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The partnership for growth and jobs needs to be converted into a genuine reform with the help of the Community Lisbon Programme and the national reform programmes (NRPs). The Commission reviews their progress here.

Community Lisbon Programme

The Commission has already adopted two-thirds of the planned measures. However, certain measures have yet to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council or rely for funding on an agreement on the financial framework (2007-2013). Some noteworthy measures have been added to those already planned:

  • a communication on research and innovation;
  • the development of an integrated industrial policy;
  • initiatives to improve the tax and customs environment;
  • investigations into more competitive markets in energy and financial services;
  • a proposal to create a single payment area in Europe;
  • new Community funding available for SMEs to improve energy supply and demand.

National reform programmes

All Member States have drawn up NRPs and appointed national Lisbon coordinators. Some have streamlined internal coordination in order to improve policy coherence. The Commission does not consider it necessary at this stage to adapt the integrated guidelines and feels it is too early to propose formal, country-specific recommendations. The emphasis at this stage must be on implementing the partnership and the specific measures proposed at Community and national levels. The Commission draws the Member States’ attention to the individual evaluations of each NRP, drawing conclusions on the macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment aspects, and on specific points which will require particular attention (weaknesses).

Macroeconomic aspects

Analysis of the NRPs from a macroeconomic point of view shows that:

  • many factors complicate short-term and long-term budgetary discipline, making the macroeconomic problem more serious for Member States;
  • Member States are trying to cut spending rather than increase taxes. However, it has yet to be clearly defined where and how savings can be made;
  • the measures proposed in the “euro zone” are geared mainly towards future public finances but do not aim to support labour market adjustments or to create more competitive internal markets;
  • despite recognition of the problem of ageing populations in Europe, NRP measures appear to be piecemeal or insufficient;
  • only some Member States have taken an integrated approach in planning their NRP.

Microeconomic aspects

The following conclusions may be drawn with regard to microeconomic issues:

  • the NRPs reflect the need to increase investment in research and promote innovation;
  • 18 of the 25 Member States have set investment targets relative to GDP which at EU level will equate to 2.6% by 2010, falling short of the overall target of 3%. This figure is currently 1.9% for the EU;
  • initiatives relating to transport infrastructure and communication technologies could receive support from the cohesion and rural development funds;
  • access to internal markets (energy and services) deserve greater attention. The application of Community Directives in this area is a beginning;
  • initiatives to foster a more positive attitude towards entrepreneurship do not go far enough. Education can help to reduce the stigma of failure;
  • Member States need to adopt a more integrated approach in order to improve the rule-making which affects business and at the same time supplement action at Community level;
  • comprehensive and coordinated implementation of the different microeconomic policies may achieve much greater benefits than the sum of the individual policies put together.


The Commission draws the following conclusions with regard to employment:

  • the proposed employment objectives are inspired by Community objectives but are often piecemeal and do not take the life cycle approach;
  • greater attention should be given to “flexicurity”, facilitating the transition from one job to another with adequate social protection and a reliable lifelong learning system;
  • the reform of education systems concentrates mainly on the quality and transparency of qualifications, as well as access to them. Investment needs to be stepped up.

Overall conclusions

The NRPs are a good basis for implementing the partnership for growth and jobs, but not all are of equal quality:

  • some have set clear targets and timetables, with specific measures and budget details. Others lack such information;
  • the three dimensions (macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment) could be more closely integrated so that one measure would benefit several sectors;
  • only some Member States provide for measures to remove obstacles to market access;
  • the cohesion and rural development funds will be needed to achieve the Lisbon objectives, although the macroeconomic repercussions of using these funds will need to be taken into account. Coordination mechanisms need to be put in place for planning the use of these funds and drafting the NRPs.

Key areas

The Commission calls on the Member States to implement their national reform programmes fully and on time. To correct the shortcomings which emerged from the evaluations, it proposes four integrated actions which it intends to implement by the end of 2007:

Action 1: Investing more in knowledge and innovation

The Lisbon objective was to boost R&D spending to 3% of GDP by 2010 (1% from the public sector, 2% from the private sector). Member States must increase public spending and make it more effective through wider use of fiscal incentives and closer coordination with the other Member States with regard to spending. Public procurement has a part to play in transforming the results of research into innovation. At the same time, more competitive markets encourage businesses to be more innovative.

The private sector must be able to make a greater contribution to funding for higher education, and the link between universities and business must be strengthened. The objective should be to increase investment in higher education to 2% of GDP.

Action 2: Unlocking the business potential of SMEs

By 2007, every Member State should have set up a one-stop shop to assist would-be entrepreneurs to fulfil administrative requirements all in one place – electronically, where possible. They must set up similar one-stop shops for VAT and for the recruitment of a first employee. The time taken to set up a business should be cut in half, and start-up fees should be as low as possible.

By that date they must also adopt a methodology for measuring administrative costs for national rules and regulations. This exercise should facilitate initiatives to reduce these administrative costs. The Commission will propose similar initiatives at Community level.

Action 3: Responding to globalisation and ageing

Member States must help people to work longer, and they need to reform pension schemes, for example by changing the statutory retirement age, enhancing financial incentives for older workers to remain in work, offering more training opportunities to workers over the age of 45 or allowing gradual retirement. Disability schemes, together with health care and long-term care systems, should also be reviewed to make them more effective.

The entry of young people into the labour market, in line with the Youth Pact, is another important factor. By 2007, young people who have left school should be offered a job or additional training within 6 months, or within 100 days by 2010.

The Commission wishes to consult the social partners on better ways to reconcile family and professional life. It also plans to present a report in order to seek agreement on ‘flexicurity’ by the end of 2007, comprising the following elements:

  • reduction of labour market segmentation and undeclared work;
  • Member States to establish lifelong learning strategies to prepare people for change, supported by the European Social Fund and the Globalisation Adjustment Fund;
  • removal of obstacles to worker mobility by reaching a political agreement on the portability of supplementary pension rights.

Action 4: Moving towards an efficient EU energy policy

The Commission is proposing an energy policy designed to ensure that energy is secure, competitive and sustainable. The security of supply will be improved by:

  • strengthening and deepening the internal energy market (in particular completing the energy market by 1 July 2007), by promoting more competition in the electricity and gas markets, and by more integration between the gas pipeline systems of the Member States);
  • exploiting the potential of renewable energy sources and promoting more efficient use of energy;
  • developing a more focused, coherent and integrated approach to ensuring the security of energy.

A Green Paper has been published on ways to achieve these objectives.


The Commission intends to involve national (and regional) parliaments, local authorities and other stakeholders in the implementation of the NRPs, particularly where there has not been sufficient time to do so during the preparation of the programmes. It proposes to involve the social partners by holding an extraordinary Social Summit. The NRPs must be further developed and strengthened by mutual learning among Member States. Those Member States which have not yet set targets with regard to future R&D spending and the employment rate should do so. The Commission and Member States will ensure that the open method of coordination, in the areas of education and training, social protection and social inclusion, also makes a strong contribution to the objectives.

With regard to the implementation of the Community Lisbon Programme, the Commission has proposed a roadmap setting out the major steps required for measures supplementing the NRPs.

The European Union institutions and the Member States need to define a communication strategy to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the new partnership for growth and jobs at local, regional and national levels. This is essential in order to develop a sense of ownership on the part of all involved.


As provided for at the Spring European Council in 2005, the Commission has drawn up the first report on the implementation of the new partnership for growth and jobs. With this report, the 2006 Spring European Council will be able to review progress made and comment on any adjustments to the integrated guidelines, which serve as a basis for the national reform programmes and the Community Lisbon Programme.

IMI Joint Undertaking

IMI Joint Undertaking

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about IMI Joint Undertaking


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

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

IMI Joint Undertaking

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines.


The IMI Joint Undertaking implements the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on Innovative Medicines, with a view to the development of a competitive, innovation-based pharmaceuticals sector. This public-private partnership aims to support investments in this field.

The IMI Joint Undertaking is a Community body possessing legal personality. Its headquarters are in Brussels. This undertaking has been set up for a period up to 31 December 2017. Its founding members are the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

Any legal entity directly or indirectly supporting research and development in a Member State or in a country associated with the 7th Framework Programme (7th FP) may become a member of the IMI Joint Undertaking.


The Joint Undertaking aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the medicine development process so that the pharmaceutical sector produces safer and more effective innovative treatments. The objectives of the Joint Undertaking are thus to contribute to the implementation of the 7th FP and to support pharmaceutical research and development in the Member States and countries associated with the 7th FP. The participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and cooperation with the private sector and the academic world are encouraged.

In addition, the Joint Undertaking aims to ensure complementarity with other activities of the 7th FP and to establish a public-private partnership with a view to increasing research investment and fostering cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Projects and activities

The IMI Joint Undertaking supports prospective research activities, based on projects selected following open and competitive calls for project proposals, independent evaluation and the conclusion of grant agreements and project agreements.

The participating research-based pharmaceutical companies that are members of EFPIA are not eligible to receive financial support from the IMI Joint Undertaking for any activity.


The bodies of the IMI Joint Undertaking are as follows:

  • the Governing Board is composed of representatives of each of the members of the Joint Undertaking. It is responsible for operations and for overseeing the implementation of activities. It meets at least twice a year;
  • the Executive Director represents the IMI Joint Undertaking from a legal point of view. He or she is also the chief executive responsible for the day-to-day management of the Undertaking in accordance with the decisions taken by the Governing Board;
  • the Scientific Committee is the advisory body to the Governing Board, with responsibilities including advising on the scientific priorities for the annual implementation plan proposal.

The IMI Joint Undertaking is supported by two external advisory bodies:

  • the IMI States Representatives Group consists of one representative of each Member State and of each country associated with the Framework Programme. It advises on the annual scientific priorities. Furthermore, it also informs the IMI Joint Undertaking on relevant activities ongoing at national level;
  • the Stakeholder Forum is convened at least once a year by the Executive Director. It is informed on the activities of the IMI Joint Undertaking and provides comments.

The financial resources of the Joint Undertaking include members’ financial contributions, revenue generated by the IMI Joint Undertaking and any other financial contributions, resources and revenues.

The research activities are funded through non-monetary contributions by the research-based pharmaceutical companies that are members of EFPIA, contributions from members and a Community financial contribution under the 7th FP. This financial commitment on the part of the Community is limited to a maximum of EUR 1 000 million.


Under the 7th Community FP, the EU provides for the establishment of long-term public-private partnerships in the form of JTIs. These JTIs result from the work of European Technology Platforms set up under the 6th FP and implemented through Joint Undertakings.

In addition to the IMI, five other JTIs are planned in the sectors of spaceborne computer systems (ARTEMIS), nanotechnologies (ENIAC), aeronautics and air transport (Clean Sky), hydrogen and fuel cells (FUEL CELL) and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).


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

Regulation (EC) No 73/2008


OJ L 30, 4.2.2008

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council


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

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 22 November 1995 on improving relations between the European Union and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) [COM(95) 541 final – Not published in the Official Journal]



The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was set up in 1981 and brings together Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Ever since its creation, it has been keen to establish links with the European Community, including a free trade agreement that has still not been concluded.

A Cooperation Agreement, however, has been in place since 1988, and is aimed at strengthening relations and preparing the free trade negotiations. Since then, the Gulf War and the GCC’s reservations on the text have blocked the conclusion of the free trade agreement. The Cooperation Agreement, for its part, has yielded only limited tangible results.

The importance of the EU-GCC relationship lies in the parties’ extensive interdependence in terms of energy, trade and investment. The EU needs energy supplies from the GCC countries, and the EU Member States in turn represent a major market for the GCC’s exports of refined petroleum products, petrochemical products and aluminium. The EU is also one of the largest investors in the GCC.

Improving relations

The Commission reiterates the recommendations made at the Ministerial meeting in Granada in July 1995 to boost EU-GCC relations. These include:

  • strengthening the political dialogue;
  • increasing economic cooperation and unblocking the ongoing free trade negotiations;
  • developing instruments of cultural and scientific cooperation to promote increased reciprocal knowledge.

The need to strengthen political dialogue arises from current shortcomings, such as the infrequency of ministerial meetings. The dialogue would provide an opportunity for both sides to better appreciate the extent of their shared political and security interests. The Middle East peace process and the Mediterranean policy could benefit from the strengthened dialogue, which would also enable the two sides to discuss the issues of human rights, democracy and the prevention of terrorism.

Given their interdependence, strengthening the framework of energy and economic interests can benefit both regions, since more GCC investment in EU refining and downstream activities would go hand in hand with EU countries’ investment in GCC upstream and downstream energy and energy-related activities. Obtaining a preferential trade agreement benefiting both sides and diversifying its industrial base to prepare for the post-oil age are still major concerns for the GCC. A free trade agreement would enable economic operators on both sides to develop cross-investments, pursue vertical integration and conclude industrial alliances.

The Commission also recommends that action be taken to improve mutual understanding, considering that relations have not produced a degree of contact to assist in the development of official links. It is therefore necessary to find new areas of cooperation and develop existing ones, such as information and communication technologies, scientific cooperation and the environment. For the Commission, a key new area is decentralised cooperation, involving civil society and non-governmental organisations, which could contribute to mutual understanding. It also recommends that a delegation should be opened in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

There is, finally, a need to improve thequality of relations to highlight the role Europe plays in the GCC’s economic security. In the Commission’s view, the EU-GCC relationship is so important that it cannot be left to take care of itself; it also adds regional value to bilateral relations.

Conclusions and recommendations

The Commission concludes by recommending that the Council:

  • reaffirm the strategic importance of a strong GCC;
  • reaffirm its commitment to the development of relations;
  • include the GCC countries in the EU’s strategy for improving relations with other regions, in particular with the Mediterranean area;
  • reaffirm its desire to achieve a qualitative improvement in these relations;
  • reinforce EU-GCC political cooperation at ministerial level.

For its part, the Commission undertakes to identify obstacles to progress in the free trade negotiations and to study the possibility of presenting a complementary mandate for negotiation on services. It must also make proposals for applying the Cooperation Agreement and improving mutual understanding through increased contacts.


Improving information on assistance from the Structural Funds

Improving information on assistance from the Structural Funds

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving information on assistance from the Structural Funds


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

Improving information on assistance from the Structural Funds

A steady flow of information on the European Union’s activities in the Member States is one way of guaranteeing that good use will be made of public money. For the first time the regulations now require a communications action plan to be drawn up for each operation assisted by the Structural Funds. Evaluation of the information measures taken will be mandatory. A wide range of means of communication are envisaged. New technologies in particular will be mobilised to get the message through to potential beneficiaries and the general public. The European Commission is contributing to these measures.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1159/2000 of 30 May 2000 on information and publicity measures to be carried out by the Member States concerning assistance from the Structural Funds.


Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 on the Structural Funds provides for information and publicity measures on each operation assisted by the Structural Funds. These measures are intended to increase public awareness and transparency regarding the activities of the European Union and give a consistent picture of the assistance concerned across all Member States. More specifically, they are designed:

  • to inform potential and final beneficiaries about the opportunities offered by joint assistance from the European Union and the Member States;
    Beneficiaries include regional and local authorities, any other competent public authorities, trade organisations and business circles, economic and social partners, non-governmental organisations and project promoters;
  • to inform the general public about the role played by the European Union and the Member States in the assistance concerned.

Each managing authority putting into action the assistance from the Structural Funds will be responsible for information and publicity. It will act in cooperation with the European Commission. At each annual meeting the managing authority will inform the Commission about the work done.

The information and publicity measures will be set out in a communications action plan for each operational programme and each single programming document (SPD). The operational programme and SPD are multiannual planning documents with a view to implementing a regional development strategy. Each communications action plan must specify:

  • its objectives and target groups;
    Mobilisation of new technologies is a decisive factor to attain the objectives and reach out to the target groups;
  • the content and strategy of the communications and information measures;
  • its indicative budget;
  • the administrative departments or bodies responsible within the managing authority;
  • the criteria to be used to evaluate the measures carried out.

Ensuring transparency for potential beneficiaries and target groups

Throughout the 2000-2006 programming period, the managing authority must keep in place appropriate channels for circulating information in order to ensure transparency for the various potential partners and beneficiaries, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. To this end, it will secure the cooperation of organisations representing businesses, vocational training bodies, bodies concerned with employment, training centres and non-governmental organisations.

The managing authority will circulate all documentation concerning the structural assistance for which it is responsible. It will provide information on the management, monitoring and evaluation of such assistance. Wherever possible, it will give an indication of the Structural Funds involved. The key points which must be included are:

  • a clear outline of the administrative procedures to be followed;
  • a description of the system for managing applications;
  • a description of the criteria used in selection procedures;
  • an explanation of the evaluation mechanisms;
    The managing authority is required to provide evidence of the work done, to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of the action taken, to inform the monitoring committee and the Commission, and to include a separate section on the subject in the annual implementing report;
  • a list of names of persons or contact points at national, regional or local level who can explain how the assistance packages operate.

Uniform presentation of the information and publicity material is desirable. Standard wordings are available for each Structural Fund (ERDF, ESF, EAGGF Guidance Section and FIFG).

Informing the public

In order to raise public awareness, the managing authority must keep the media informed about the structural assistance part-financed by the European Union. The messages released must state the tasks of each Fund. The national and regional media (press, radio and television) must be alerted when the assistance is first launched and of the results achieved in the field. Possible means of achieving this include press releases, the placing of articles or advertisements in newspapers, site visits, websites, publications describing success stories and competitions.

Other ways of informing the public include:

  • billboards erected on site and permanent commemorative plaques for infrastructure open to the general public;
    These measures apply to infrastructure investments costing a total of over EUR 3 million, such as congress centres, airports and stations. In the case of operations part-financed by the FIFG the figure is lowered to EUR 500 000.
    These announcements must include a space reserved for indicating the European Union’s contribution.
    Not later than six months after completion of the work the billboards must be replaced by permanent commemorative plaques. In the case of physical investments in commercial business premises, plaques commemorating the assistance from the European Union may be installed for a period of one year;
  • measures to raise awareness of the part played by the European Union in vocational training and employment schemes;
    These measures are targeted on beneficiaries implementing measures financed by the Structural Funds, such as employment agencies, vocational training centres, chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of agriculture or regional development agencies.
    All beneficiaries must publicise the European Union’s contribution to the activities, notably by means of posters;
  • informing beneficiaries that they are participating in an operation part-financed by the European Union;
    These measures apply to investments in businesses, in particular.
    All notifications that aid has been granted must mention the amount or percentage of the assistance funded by the Community instrument concerned.

Publications (booklets, leaflets and newsletters) about assistance part-financed by the Structural Funds must clearly indicate, on the title page, the participation of the European Union and, where appropriate, of the Fund concerned. They must display the European emblem if the national or regional emblem is also used. Publications must give details of the body responsible for the information content and of the managing authority. The same rules apply to information made available in electronic form or as audio-visual material.

The bodies responsible for information and publicity may organise public information events such as conferences, seminars, fairs, exhibitions and competitions. The European flag will be displayed in meeting rooms and the Community emblem will be used on documents as a reminder of the Community’s contribution.

In a spirit of partnership, the European Commission makes its expertise and material available to the authorities, notably via its offices in each Member State. It supports exchanges of experience via informal networks among those responsible for providing information. The “Structural Funds Information Team (SFIT)” set up in 2002 has started to gather examples of good practice. The first network – for Objective 1 – started work in March 2002 and the second – for Objective 2, INTERREG III and URBAN II – has been in operation since the end of 2003.

For further information, consult the ” Communication campaigns ” page on the European Commission’s “INFOREGIO” website.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1159/2000 3.6.2000 OJ L 130 of 31.5.2000

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No 621/2004 of 1 April 2004 laying down rules for implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 1164/94 as regards information and publicity measures concerning the activities of the Cohesion Fund [Official Journal L 98 of 2.4.2004].

Harmonisation of the information and publicity activities for the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund is needed. The information activities and instruments include explanation of the role which the European Union is playing and use of the European flag. The mandatory measures include erection of billboards and, later, of commemorative plaques plus a press conference if the total cost of the project is over EUR 50 million. In order to achieve the objective of raising public awareness, other measures can also be envisaged, such as displaying posters, producing publications and video material or creating pages on the Internet.

Commission Decision 2001/503/EC of 22 June 2001 on information and publicity measures to be carried out by the beneficiary countries concerning assistance from the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession (ISPA) [Official Journal L 182 of 5.7.2001].

Improving the quality of teacher education

Improving the quality of teacher education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving the quality of teacher education


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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Improving the quality of teacher education

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 3 August 2007 ‘Improving the Quality of Teacher Education’ [COM(2007) 392 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The quality of teaching is a key factor in the achievement of the Lisbon objectives for social cohesion, growth and economic competitiveness.

The teaching workforce must be capable of providing high quality teaching in order to enable EU citizens to acquire the knowledge and skills which they will need in their personal and professional lives.

Necessary skills

Existing investment in the continuing training and development of the teaching workforce is not sufficient. There is no Member State in which the minimum duration of training exceeds five days per year. Although participation in continuing training is compulsory for teachers in 11 Member States, teachers’ rate of participation in such training is too low to achieve a continuous level of development among teachers.

The teacher training systems currently in place in the Member States do not promote the acquisition of the new teaching skills which have been made necessary by the changes in education and in society in general.

Although teachers are required to impart basic knowledge, they are also called upon to ensure, among other things, that:

  • each learner’s specific needs are taken into account;
  • pupils become autonomous lifelong learners;
  • all young people acquire key skills;
  • teaching is adapted to a multicultural environment;
  • new technologies are used.

Joint action framework

The teaching profession has characteristics in common across the EU. It is therefore possible to arrive at a shared vision of the kinds of skills which teachers require, and to do so on the basis of certain principles.

The Commission is therefore proposing to the Member States a package of guidelines with a view to developing measures which seek to:

  • ensure that the arrangements in place for initial and continuing teacher training are well coordinated within a coherent system which receives sufficient resources;
  • ensure that teachers have the full range of subject knowledge, attitudes and pedagogic skills to be able to help young people to reach their full potential;
  • promote the status and recognition of the teaching profession;
  • create teacher training programmes at Master’s and doctorate level (and at Bachelor’s level);
  • encourage the practice of reflection and research by those in the profession;
  • investigate whether the level of qualifications and degree of practical experience required by a teaching post should be increased.

The Commission plans to take the following steps in order to support the Member States in their efforts to reform their teacher training systems:

  • ensure that its action programmes support the Member States in their efforts to improve the organisation and content of the teacher training system;
  • develop indicators in this field;
  • help to create and disseminate new knowledge in the teaching sector and in teacher education.

The Commission plans to measure the improvement in the quality of teacher education as part of the work programme ‘Education and Training 2010’.


The programme ‘Lifelong Learning (2007-2013)’ promotes teacher mobility (Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes) and helps to establish cooperation projects between teacher training establishments.


Impact on capital markets

Impact on capital markets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Impact on capital markets


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

Internal market > Single market for capital

Impact on capital markets

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 2 July 1997 on the impact of the introduction of the euro on capital markets [COM (97) 337 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In order to derive maximum benefit from the introduction of the euro, it is desirable to attain a degree of harmonisation of future euro markets by defining common characteristics that will apply to the financial markets of all the countries in the euro area.

Bond markets

Under the reference scenario adopted in Madrid, all new tradable public debt will be issued in euros as from 1 January 1999. In addition to this requirement, most issuers are now considering redenominating into euros their outstanding debt: this operation will have the advantage of generating euro liquidity in government bond markets and of enhancing the credibility of the governments’ commitment to the economic and monetary union (EMU) process.

The best method of redenominating the debt would appear to be the “bottom-up” approach:

  • individual securities are converted to euros using the fixed conversion rates;
  • the result is rounded up to the nearest cent;
  • the sum of all individual securities is then calculated and matched against the total held at the central depository.

The operation is neutral at all stages and the only potential differences for operators lie in the rounding arrangements.

Greater harmonisation of market conventions towards best practice is worth pursuing because it will increase transparency and avoid disputes. Harmonisation would concern the following points:

  • conventions governing the number of days used to calculate the accrual of interest: modern calculation systems enable the most accurate convention (exact number of days/exact number of days) to be adopted;
  • coupon frequency: the possibility of choosing between various options should be kept open. Semi-annual coupons reduce credit risk and are the norm in the US and Japanese markets, whereas annual coupons are the norm in the EU (except in Italy and the United Kingdom) and are cheaper for issuers;
  • business days: a standard definition could be to consider a business day as any day when TARGET is open for business (only Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are holidays);
  • settlement basis:
    – the most common method (“spot standard with a two-day settlement period”) would be a suitable standard to harmonise on for euro-money market transactions;
    – on bond markets, the settlement standard is currently trade date plus three business days: this standard could be maintained in the short term and a move made to a shorter settlement period in the longer term.

Equity markets

As regards the changeover to the euro, the main European stock exchanges have announced their intention to pursue a Big Bang approach: as from 4 January 1999 exchanges will trade and quote all securities in euros. Intermediaries will have to make the necessary conversion in order to account to their clients in the currency chosen by the latter.

The decision to redenominate shares is a company decision independent from the decision of the stock exchanges to trade in euros. The denomination of share capital should not affect its economic value: accordingly, redenomination can take place at any time during the transitional period, in other words from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2001.

The recommended solution is that of Non Par Value shares (NPV). Since each share is a fraction of the capital stock, there is no need for a physical exchange of share certificates. However, in many Member States the national legislation allowing NPV shares has not yet been put in place.

In general, there is not much of a case for harmonising market conventions in equity markets.

As regards historical series and stock market indices, the changeover should not give rise to any particular problems.

Derivatives markets

The transitional issues relevant to the derivatives markets mirror those of the underlying markets to which they relate. Accordingly, the same types of solution are recommended.

Other market features

Price sources. It is important to ensure the continuity of price sources. Prices calculated on a national basis (PIBOR, LIBOR, etc.) and on a European basis (EURIBOR) can coexist. It is desirable for rates to be published for the whole of the euro area or for harmonised criteria to be available for calculating national sources. The bodies responsible for producing and publishing price sources should provide clear information on the prices that will be available between 1 January 1999 and 1 January 2002.

Issuing procedures for sovereign debt. There is concern in some quarters that the coexistence of national debt offices and the European Central Bank (ECB) debt on markets could confuse monetary policy signals. Informal coordination between sovereign issuers could help to prevent this happening.

Ratings: sovereign debt. There is a debate between those who contend that membership of the euro area could result in an adjustment for some sovereign credit ratings and those who believe that membership of EMU will strengthen the credibility of budget policy and that ratings will not be adjusted.
In any event, the cost of raising debt for an individual country is unlikely to be changed significantly by a small adjustment in its credit rating, given the importance of other factors such as liquidity and the efficiency of the country’s primary dealer system.

Ratings: corporate debt. The European Union (EU) will probably be rated AAA and thus corporate borrowers will no longer be potentially capped by the credit rating of the country in which they are located. Broadly, EMU should have a positive effect on corporate ratings.

Repos. Market participants are keen to avoid the overly aggressive use of initial margin (the amount that has to be deposited before entering into a margining transaction)/haircut (the value of a security as collateral) in the official repo market as this would be an unnecessary restriction on the development of the market.
In addition, the use of variation margins (the amount that has to be deposited by the borrower to ensure that the counterparties remain fully collateralised throughout the term of a transaction) is far more efficient because it is based on symmetric daily marking-to-market of the collateral.

Markets need certainty that no volatility can occur at the end of the process because they would not be able to hedge. Investor protection is considered as one of the key factors of an efficient financial market and is crucial in determining the international attractiveness of the markets.

Implementation of Community environmental law in 2004

Implementation of Community environmental law in 2004

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Implementation of Community environmental law in 2004


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

Environment > General provisions

Implementation of Community environmental law in 2004

This study reviews the implementation of Community environmental law in 2004.

Document or Iniciative

Commission staff working paper of 17 August 2005: Sixth annual survey on the implementation and enforcement of Community environmental law – 2004 [SEC(2005) 1055 – not published in the Official Journal].


1. The implementation of Community environmental legislation continues to improve. This is shown by the lower numbers of complaints received and infringement proceedings regarding the environment initiated by the Commission in 2004.

2. In 2004 the Commission received 336 new complaints and launched 583 new infringement proceedings, which is significantly fewer than the figures for 2003 which were 505 and 693 respectively. Despite this decrease the environment remains the sector with the most ongoing infringement proceedings.

3. In total, the study revealed 173 cases in which the Directives on the environment had not been transposed on time (non-communication), 103 cases in which Directives had been transposed incorrectly (non-conformity) and 294 cases in which Member States had failed to comply with obligations under the Directives (incorrect application), for example through failing to comply with the deadlines for presenting certain plans, submitting data or designating protected areas.

4. As in the previous year, the areas in which most infringement proceedings were launched are nature, waste, water and impact assessments. The breakdown is as follows:

  • cases of non-communication of information occur most frequently in the air and waste sectors;
  • cases of non-conformity with Community legislation mainly concern impact assessments, waste, water and nature;
  • cases of incorrect horizontal application arise particularly in the water, waste and nature sectors.

5. Following the accession of the ten new Member States in 2004, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to eight of them in December 2004, Latvia and Lithuania having already communicated all their measures for implementing the aquis in the area of the environment.

6. In addition to actions for non-conformity, non-communication or incorrect application, the Commission has used other approaches in dealing with the Member States in order to ensure that Community environmental legislation is correctly implemented. These are mainly proactive initiatives such as guidelines and interpretative texts, measures to monitor conformity with legislation such as annual reports and collecting key data, as well as research into the most appropriate (strategic, efficient and coordinated) solutions to achieve the environmental targets laid down in legislation.

Freedom of access to information

7. The Commission has sent a Reasoned Opinion to France for incomplete execution of a Court of Justice ruling against it for failure to comply with Directive 90/313/EEC on access to information. It also continued infringement proceedings against some Member States for incorrect application of the Directive.

Environmental impact assessment

8. The Court of Justice rules against the United Kingdom for incomplete transposition of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Furthermore, problems of non-conformity of national measures with this Directive and incorrect application of the Directive have persisted. The Commission has therefore issued Reasoned Opinions and decided to refer Italy and Spain to the Court of Justice. In addition, the Court of Justice has rules against national authorities for applying the Directive incorrectly. It should be noted that Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment had to be transposed by 21 June 2004.


9. The Commission has closed a certain number of infringement proceedings concerning Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 and Directive 2002/3/EC on ozone. The Commission has also opened infringement proceedings for failure to transpose the Directive establishing an emissions trading scheme for greenhouse gases, which should be transposed by 31 December 2003. Infringement proceedings have also been opened for other Directives concerning specific atmospheric pollutants.


10. The Commission has opened several infringement proceedings for non-communication of transposition measures for the Water Framework Directive, which had to be implemented by December 2003. However, although a number of proceedings are ongoing against Member States due to bad application of Directive 76/160/EEC concerning the quality of bathing water, many Member States are now very close to full compliance with the quality standards and monitoring requirements laid down in the Directive. Furthermore, all Member States have now transposed Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption which repealed Directive 80/778/EC under which some proceedings are still underway. Several proceedings have been opened or have resulted in rulings being given against Member States for bad application of Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment and of Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.


11. In August 2004 the Commission published a guidance document on hunting, the purpose of which was to clarify the requirements of Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds. Some conformity and transposition problems remain unresolved regarding the Wild Birds Directive and Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna. However, most of the problems with the implementation of these two Directives relate to their bad application, particularly in terms of designating special protection areas and sites of Community importance as well as a special protection scheme and protected species. Furthermore, rulings have been given against Austria and Italy for failure to transpose measures under the Directive on the keeping of wild animals in zoos.

Chemicals and biotechnology

12. A number of proceedings have been closed, including that against France for non-communication of transposition measures for Directive 2001/59/EC and Directive 98/8/EC as well as for non-conformity of national legislation with Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. The Commission has also closed proceedings brought against Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain concerning Directive 98/81/EC on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms. The Court of Justice has also ruled against 6 countries for non-communication of transposition measures relating to Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.


13. Infringement proceedings have been opened for the bad application of Council Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, and the Court of Justice has ruled against several countries for this reason, particularly in relation to individual landfills and waste planning and management. The Court also gave preliminary rulings on some questions concerning the interpretation of the Framework Directive, in particular regarding the definition of waste and what the plans to be drawn up by the Member States should contain. In addition, there are still problems of non-conformity and/or of bad application for some Community texts such as the Directive on the disposal of waste oil, the Directive on hazardous waste, the Regulation on shipments of waste, the Directive on packaging waste, the Directive on the disposal of PCBs/PCTs and the Landfill Directive. Furthermore, problems of non-conformity have resulted in several Member States being condemned in respect of the Directives on end-of-life vehicles and on the incineration of waste.

Environment and industry

14. The Commission has continued infringement proceedings for non-conformity with Directive 96/61/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). In addition, Directive 96/82/EC has still not been fully or correctly transposed by some Member States.

Network for the implementation of environmental law (IMPEL)

15. The IMPEL network is an informal network in which the environmental authorities in the Member States and the Commission participate. Its main objective is to encourage the effective implementation of Community environmental law. In 2004 the final report on the first IMPEL project on the transfrontier shipment of waste aroused a lot of interest among the official authorities and the media: the project, which aimed to standardise inspections in the six seaports participating, resulted in the creation of a contact network for enforcement activities, the detection of many illegal shipments and highlighted the need for an improved strategy on the transfrontier shipment of waste. In addition, IMPEL continues to work with other networks and has published several reports over the year.

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving communication on agricultural product quality


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

Food safety > Food safety: general provisions

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on agricultural product quality policy [COM(2009) 234 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In this Communication, the Commission defines strategic orientations to improve, in the medium term, communication between farmers, buyers and consumers as regards agricultural product quality, to harmonise European Union (EU) rules on the quality of these products and to improve and simplify existing schemes and labels.

Marketing standards

Marketing standards guarantee fair competition and avoid the consumer being misled as to the characteristics of products. There are four types of information contained in current marketing standards:

  • a basic definition of the product identity (for example the definition of ‘butter’, ‘fruit juice’, etc.);
  • product classification (for example the minimum fat content of ‘semi-skimmed milk’ or ‘large’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’ classes of eggs, etc.);
  • reserved terms bestowing added value upon the product (for example what constitutes ‘first cold pressed’ olive oil or ‘traditional method’ sparkling wine, etc.);
  • labelling requirements concerning the origin or place of farming.

In the future, the Commission plans to:

  • establish a general basic standard. This would cover those matters where a voluntary approach might distort the internal market or where compulsory labelling is necessary to provide consumers with basic information about products;
  • extend labelling systems identifying the place of farming to products other than those which are covered at this time;
  • examine the feasibility of laying down optional reserved terms for ‘product of mountain farming’ and ‘traditional product’. The term ‘traditional product’ could replace the current system of ‘traditional specialities guaranteed’ which has not reached its full potential; and
  • contribute to developing international standards.

Geographical indications

Geographical indication schemes encourage high quality farming, safeguard protected names from unauthorised use and imitation, and help consumers by providing them with information about products’ specific attributes. At this time, there are three schemes (for wines, for spirit drinks, and for agricultural products and foodstuffs) and two instruments: the PDO (protected designation of origin) and the PGI (protected geographical indication).

After the consultation, the Commission plans to:

  • create a single register bringing together the three existing systems (wines, spirits, and agricultural products and foodstuffs), while preserving the specificities of each system; and
  • enhance the protection of geographical indications at international level.

Organic farming

Community legislation on organic farming was amended in 2007 as part of the 2004 action plan for organic farming.

In order to foster trade in organic products, the Commission:

  • has created a logo that will be mandatory for all organic products from 2010;
  • will work with third countries towards recognition for organic farming standards;
  • will contribute to improving the directives of the
    Codex Alimentarius
    on organic farming.

Certification schemes

National or private food quality certification schemes provide a guarantee that agricultural products comply with mandatory farming standards and meet requirements concerning the protection of the environment, animal welfare, etc., defined in the scheme’s specifications. However, they may confuse consumers and engender administrative costs and costs for farmers.

The Commission will establish, in consultation with the Advisory Group on Quality, good practice guidelines for private certification schemes in order to limit these drawbacks.


This Communication is based on the consultation relating to the Green Paper on agricultural product quality published in October 2008, and on the High Level Conference organised on the same theme by the Czech presidency in March 2009.

The strategic orientations set out in this Communication offer a logical framework for the future policy on agricultural product quality. Comments from the other institutions but also from stakeholders will help to further refine and clarify these suggestions.

Immigration liaison officers' network

Immigration liaison officers’ network

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Immigration liaison officers’ network


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

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

Immigration liaison officers’ network

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network [See amending act(s)].


Each Member State posts an immigration liaison officer (ILO) * to its consular authorities in a non-Member State. The ILO maintains direct contacts with the authorities in the host country in order to improve exchanges of information concerning:

  • flows of illegal immigrants originating from or transiting through the host country;
  • the routes followed by those flows of immigrants;
  • their modus operandi;
  • the existence of criminal organisations involved in the smuggling of immigrants;
  • the incidents that may be the cause for new developments with respect to these flows of immigrants;
  • the methods used for falsifying identity documents and travel documents;
  • how best to assist the authorities in host countries in preventing these immigration flows;
  • how best to facilitate the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin.

Member States inform one another, the Council and the Commission of their secondments of immigration liaison officers. This information is published on the secure web-based network for the coordination and exchange of information on irregular migration (ICONet).

ILO posted to the same country form a local network in which they:

  • exchange information and practical experience, specifically through regular meetings and via ICONet;
  • coordinate positions to be adopted in contacts with commercial carriers;
  • attend joint specialised training courses and organise training sessions for consular officers of Member States posted in the host country;
  • adopt common approaches as to methods of gathering information;
  • establish contact with similar networks established in the host country and neighbouring countries.

Meetings are held either at the initiative of the Member State holding the Council presidency or at the initiative of other Member States. Representatives of the European Commission and the Frontex agency participate in them, unless operational considerations require meetings to be held in their absence.

Member States may bilaterally or multilaterally agree that ILOs posted by a European Union (EU) country also look after the interests of one or more other Member States. They may also decide to share certain tasks among themselves.

At the end of each semester the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU draws up a report for the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the activities of the ILOs in the countries and regions of particular interest to the EU with regard to immigration. This report is drawn up in accordance with a model provided in Commission Decision 2005/687/EC. On the basis of this report, the Commission then drafts an annual summary of the development of the ILO networks.


This Regulation follows on from the plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the EU, which envisages the setting up of networks of immigration liaison officers posted in non-Member States.

Following the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003 and drawing on experience gained in project management, such as the Belgian-led Western Balkans ILO network, the existence of the network was formally recognised through a legally binding act.

Key terms used in the act
  • Immigration liaison officer: a representative of a Member State posted abroad by the immigration service in order to establish and maintain contacts with the authorities of the host country with a view to contributing to the prevention of illegal immigration and combating this phenomenon.


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

Regulation (EC) No 377/2004



OJ L 316, 15.12.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 493/2011



OJ L 141, 27.5.2011

Related Act

Council Decision 2005/267/EC of 16 March 2005 establishing a secure web-based Information and Coordination Network for Member States’ Migration Management Services [Official Journal L 83 of 1.4.2055].

The ICONet network enables Member States to exchange information quickly on illegal migration flows, irregular entry and immigration and the return of illegal residents. The aim is to combat irregular immigration and human trafficking more effectively.