Tag Archives: International cooperation

Strategy for cooperation with China

Strategy for cooperation with China

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with China

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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 > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with China (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

European Commission – China Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Relations between the European Union (EU) and China have progressed towards a strategic partnership. This cooperation, which developed on the basis of a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, now covers a large number of sectors thanks to the establishment of a stronger partnership.

This cooperation programme is an important element of that relationship.

Political dialogue

The partners are continuing to develop their ties through regular political dialogue, particularly in the areas of:

  • climate change and energy;
  • legal and illegal immigration;
  • human rights;
  • trade in goods and services, and market access;
  • the European arms embargo;
  • cooperation on foreign and security policy, with particular attention to conflict prevention and combating weapons of mass destruction;
  • justice, freedom and security, focusing on combating terrorism, organised crime, trafficking of human beings, drugs, and the trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

The political dialogue also serves as a framework for the negotiation of a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).

Cooperation priorities

In the area of trade, the partnership supports trade liberalisation and China’s commitments in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). China’s significance in international trade is such that the country must demonstrate its ability to respect fair and equitable conditions of competition. Similarly, the EU supports the restructuring of the financial services sector in view of the increase in trade in services.

Cooperation in the area of civilian aviation should help to improve aviation safety and security, considering the rapid development of the aviation market and the country’s position as a transit hub within Asia. Action to provide regulatory technical assistance is in place, as are research projects, including for the development of green air transport.

China must reduce the negative social impact of its economic reforms in order to increase its social and territorial cohesion. This should be done through policies at regional level, employment and decent work, social security and health. The partners may therefore exchange experience in particular areas such as the labour market, social exclusion and pensions.

Similarly, cooperation must be increased in the education and training sector, for the development of student and professional exchange programmes, particularly in the field of science.

Finally, the partners must combine their efforts to combat climate change, to develop legal and economic instruments for environmental protection and to ensure the sustainable management of energy and water resources.

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

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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 > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Philippines Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Philippines is focused on reducing poverty and the equitable distribution of wealth. Although the country has reached an intermediate level of development, a large proportion of its population lives below the poverty threshold. This situation is partly explained by a high level of demographic growth and a low level of economic growth.

Areas for cooperation

This Strategy should be implemented according to priority actions in order to:

  • develop a policy to reduce poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • promote economic reforms and good public governance;
  • organise basic social services, in particular to improve access to health care and education.

Furthermore, the partnership should stimulate trade and investment, and reinforce the positive impact of commercial growth on the country’s level of development.

Cross-cutting issues

Generally, cooperation actions should improve governance and human rights, gender equality, the rights of children and minorities, as well as the protection of the environment, conflict prevention and the stability of the country.

Thematic regional programmes

The Philippines participate in several regional cooperation schemes, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for policy dialogue.

These bodies provide a framework for cooperation and dialogue as regards democracy and human rights, migration, the environment, social policy and exchanges between universities.

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Topics

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 > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Thailand Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership put in place between the European Union (EU) and Thailand is intended to facilitate policy and trade dialogue and knowledge sharing. The cooperation priorities presented by the Commission therefore take into account improvements in the socio-economic development of the country.

Strategic cooperation areas

Economic cooperation activities are at the heart of the partnership. The EU therefore supports public reforms in economic areas, improvements to the legal environment for enterprise and investment, and the increase in commercial competitiveness of the country at regional and global levels.

Similarly, planned measures aim at facilitating customs cooperation and adapting rules and technical standards applicable to goods that are to be imported into the EU.

The partners also intend to strengthen their relations in the area of science and technology, higher education and research. Their activities should facilitate the sharing of information, know-how and good practices, as well as strengthening capacities and resources in the sector of research.

Lastly, cooperation should foster dialogue and the sharing of knowledge in the areas of social policy, protection of the environment, good governance, human rights and mine action.

Policy dialogue

A series of themes are to be covered as part of the policy dialogue:

  • the promotion of democracy and human rights;
  • social and human development, particularly as regards health, culture, education and training;
  • immigration and asylum policy, the fight against human trafficking and the protection of displaced persons;
  • the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • the development of civil society.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions undertaken must take into account:

  • gender equality and the position of women in the economy;
  • the impact of global trade at social level and the promotion of decent work;
  • management of natural resources, including energy;
  • good governance in public affairs and the promotion of human rights.

Context

The partners’ relations should be intensified through the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The negotiations, initiated in 2007, deal particularly with the priorities defined in this Strategy Paper.

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Vietnam Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam aims primarily to reduce the level of poverty in the country. This aim is pursued in line with Vietnam’s socio-economic development plan and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Cooperation priorities

This strategy identifies a limited number of areas for cooperation, in order to enhance the effectiveness of development aid. Cooperation actions are mainly financed through the instrument for development cooperation (DCI). They are aimed at supporting:

  • socio-economic development, particularly the reform of public policies and the increase of financial resources, including by mobilising international donors;
  • the health sector, especially to improve access to care, the development of infrastructure and to extend the coverage of social protection to the whole population.

Furthermore, the EU supports the development of trade with Vietnam, to help the country to maximise its international trade development and exploit its membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Cooperation should contribute to the development of trade policies, and the legal framework applicable to workers, enterprises, investment and exports.

The increase in trade should have a positive impact on reducing poverty and the sustainable development of the country.

Policy dialogue

The partners are undertaking a strategic dialogue, in particular with a view to strengthening public institutions, public administration, good governance and human rights.

In addition, a set of thematic objectives supplements these priorities. They can be implemented through the European Instrument for Stability. The objectives are as follows:

  • democracy and human rights;
  • the development of civil society;
  • migration and asylum policy;
  • human and social development;
  • environmental protection and sustainable resource management;
  • higher education.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions should have a positive impact on gender equality, the fight against HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, democracy, good governance and human rights.

Context

In 2007, Vietnam and the EU launched negotiations with a view to intensifying their relations by adopting a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

The Africa-EU partnership at work

The Africa-EU partnership at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Africa-EU partnership at work

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

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

The Africa-EU partnership at work

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 October 2008 entitled “One year after Lisbon: the Africa-EU partnership at work” [COM(2008) 617 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission notes progress accomplished in the first year of implementation of the strategic partnership between the European Union (EU) and Africa. This evaluation should allow the partners’ action to be targeted and to produce early and concrete deliverables.

THE AFRICA-EU PARTNERSHIP ACTION PLAN

The Africa-EU Action Plan consists of 8 sectorial partnerships (pdf ). It will be revised in 2010 at the next summit of Heads of State and Government from the EU and African states.

Partnership on Peace and Security

Cooperation supports the role of the African Union (AU) in the area of peace and security. First deliverables will focus on planning, control, management and funding of peacekeeping operations. The African Standby Force should be rendered completely operational by the AU, and its capacity for early warning and to combat terrorism and the trafficking of firearms should be consolidated.

The second Peace Facility for Africa, with a budget of EUR 300 million for the period 2008-2010, funds peacekeeping, preventative and post-crisis operations. Its impact will be reinforced by a rapid response scheme for emergency operations.

Africa-EU Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights

Projects within this framework should enhance the existing pan-African set-up, support local governance, electoral and post-electoral processes, the pluralism of the media and cultural cooperation.

A platform for dialogue on democratic governance and human rights should be established in 2009 to promote the involvement of civil society and all stakeholders.

Partnership on Trade and Regional Integration

Within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), the partnership encourages the development of trade and services offered at regional level. It supports the harmonisation of laws, regulations, norms and standards in order to remove customs barriers in Africa.

The partners should increase the funding which is allocated to the Africa-EU partnership for infrastructures (FR) with the aim of developing regional interconnections.

Partnership on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The partners have identified the areas of food security, health and education as being priorities for the achievement of the MDGs. This is in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), and to ensure the coherence of national, regional and multilateral action.


EU Member States have committed to increase official development assistance (ODA) for 2010 and 2015.

Partnership on Energy

In 2008, the partners adopted a Joint Statement on the Implementation of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. This sectorial agreement aims in particular at modernising regional infrastructures and interconnections, supporting public and private investment, and improving access to energy services and energy efficiency.

Projects within this framework are funded under the EDF and through other financial instruments particularly in the areas of energy, infrastructures and the sustainable management of resources.

Partnership on Climate Change

Political dialogue on climate change is on a multilateral level, mainly within the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) (FR). The use of climate forecasts for development is one of the priorities of the GCCA through the ClimDev Africa programme.

The partners have strengthened their cooperation and this will come to fruition in an international post-Kyoto agreement at the Copenhagen summit in late 2009.


Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment

The Partnership will provide holistic responses with the objective of creating more and better jobs in Africa, advancing the Decent Work agenda and better managing migration flows. This Partnership builds upon the Tripoli Declaration, the Africa-EU Plan of Action on the trafficking of human beings and the Ouagadougou Declaration and Action Plan on Employment and Poverty Alleviation.

Amongst these priorities, the Commission supports the creation of an African Remittances Institute and a network of observatories in Sub-Saharan Africa to collect more reliable data on migration. It intends to establish a structured dialogue with representatives of the African Diaspora in Europe.

Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space

Science, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Space applications are factors for growth and socio-economic development. Africa-EU cooperation takes place in particular within the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative (GMES). Satellite surveillance must be developed as an instrument for disaster prevention and the sustainable management of natural and food resources.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE AFRICA-EU STRATEGY

Following discussions between the AU and the Commission, this Communication states priorities for the implementation of the Africa-EU strategy and its Action Plan. It invites partners to:

  • renew their political and financial commitment;
  • to adopt a roadmap, and to complete mappings of cooperation initiatives and available resources;
  • consult civil society;
  • encourage continent-wide projects, policies and legal frameworks;
  • identify existing synergies between strategy and financial and technical programmes;
  • enhance coordination of partners within international organisations and in multilateral negotiations;
  • have regular and structured dialogue between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament.

Related Acts

Commission Working Document of 17 October 2008 annexed to this Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 October 2008 entitled “One year after Lisbon: the Africa-EU partnership at work” [SEC(2008) 2603 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European dimension in sport

European dimension in sport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European dimension in sport

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Education training youth sport > Sport

European dimension in sport

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 of 18 January 2011 – Developing the European Dimension in Sport [COM(2011) 12 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Building on the achievements of the White Paper on sport, this communication presents issues under the same three broad thematic areas that are to be addressed at the European Union (EU) level. Actions at this level aim at providing added value by supporting and complementing EU countries’ actions in the field of sport.

The societal role of sport

Sport can make a positive contribution to European growth, employability of citizens and social cohesion, while limiting health expenditure. However, sport continues to face threats related to doping, violence and intolerance, against which action must be taken to protect athletes and citizens.

The use of doping substances poses serious public health hazards, thus necessitating the stepping up of the fight against doping. Stakeholders have called for the EU to join the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention, to which end the Commission will propose a draft mandate for negotiating the EU’s accession. It is also essential to reinforce the measures preventing organised networks’ trade in doping substances. The Commission will examine ways to reinforce such measures, including through the introduction of criminal law provisions. The Commission already supports several organisations that play an important role in the fight against doping, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It will continue supporting transnational anti-doping networks.

The quality of sports programmes in educational institutions is not satisfactory in several EU countries. The quality of sport training centres and their staff should be high enough to safeguard athletes’ moral, educational and professional interests. To support education, training and qualifications in sport, the Commission and EU countries will draw up European guidelines on “dual careers” to ensure that quality education is provided alongside sport training. They will also support the referencing of sport-related qualifications to the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and promote the recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning gained through sport-related activities.

A European approach is needed to prevent and fight against violence and intolerance, which continue to pose problems to European sport. The Commission and EU countries will therefore develop and implement security arrangements and safety requirements covering a wide range of sport disciplines (currently only international football events are covered). Furthermore, the Commission will support the fight against intolerance in sport and encourage EU countries to fully and effectively transpose the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating racism and xenophobia.

Sport is fundamental for improving physical activity, which is an essential health determinant in today’s society. To enhance health through sport, the Commission and EU countries are further working on national guidelines encouraging the incorporation of physical activity into citizens’ daily lives, based on the 2008 EU Physical Activity Guidelines. There are great differences between EU countries regarding the concept of health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA). To overcome these differences, the Commission will support transnational projects and networks in this area.

Social inclusion can be improved in and through sport. To this end, the Commission and EU countries will draw up accessibility standards for sport through the European Disability Strategy. They will also further promote the participation of persons with disabilities in sporting activities. In addition, the Commission will support transnational projects that promote women’s access to sport and disadvantaged groups’ social integration through sport.

The economic dimension of sport

Sport is an ever growing sector of the economy that contributes to growth and jobs. However, there is a need for comparable data to form the basis of evidence-based policy-making and for sustaining the financing of sport, in particular its non-profit structures.

Evidence-based policy-making is essential for implementing EU sport provisions. The Commission and EU countries will produce satellite accounts for sport to measure its economic importance. The Commission will also provide support to a network of universities to promote innovative and evidence-based sport policies, as well as study the possibility of setting up an EU sport monitoring function.

The sustainable financing of sport must be ensured. Intellectual property rights are an important source of revenue in the professional sports field; consequently, the Commission will take those arising in the coverage of sporting events into consideration in the implementation of the Digital Agenda initiative. It will also study the funding of grassroots sport, which will inform future action in this field. Furthermore, together with EU countries, the Commission will examine how the financial solidarity mechanisms in the sports sector may be strengthened.

Thus far, there have only been a few decisions on the application of EU state aid rules to sport. As a result, stakeholders are continually requesting for additional clarifications on the financing of infrastructure and sport organisations. Hence, the Commission will monitor the application of state aid law in the area of sport and, if the number of state aid cases increases, it will consider providing guidance.

Sport is a valuable tool for regional development and employability. To take advantage of this value, the Commission and EU countries will make full use of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund to support sustainable sport structures.

The organisation of sport

The autonomy and self-regulation of sport organisations is underpinned by good governance in the sector. To promote good governance in sport at the European level, the Commission and EU countries will endorse common standards through the exchange of good practice and by providing targeted support to specific initiatives.

In order to support the correct application of the concept of the specific nature of sport, the Commission will provide theme-by-theme guidance on the relationship between EU law and sporting rules. It will also provide guidance on EU rules relating to the free movement and nationality of sportspeople, with a view to the organisation of non-discriminatory competitions in individual sports on a national basis.

In addition, the Commission will provide guidance on transfer rules, as player transfers often raise questions about their legality and the financing involved. It will assess both the economic and legal aspects relating to such transfers. The activities of sport agents also raise questions of ethical nature; consequently, the Commission will organise a conference to examine ways in which agents’ activities may be improved.

Within the professional football sector, a European social dialogue committee was already launched in 2008. Several organisations have called for the creation of European social dialogue for the whole sport sector, which the Commission is backing. To facilitate this process, the Commission will propose a test phase for the relevant social partners.

Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014

Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014

Topics

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Education training youth sport > Sport

Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on a European Union Work Plan for Sport for 2011-2014 [OJ C 162 of 1.6.2011].

Summary

The Treaty of Lisbon made sport a European Union (EU) area of competency, in which it can support, coordinate and complement the actions of its Member States. By promoting sustainable, smart and inclusive growth, and job creation, sport also contributes to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Furthermore, it has a positive effect on social inclusion, education, training, public health and active ageing.

In order to develop the European dimension in sport, the Council approves a 3-year work plan detailing the actions to be implemented by Member States and the Commission.

Three priority themes are identified and accompanied by actions for the period 2011-2014:

  • The integrity of sport, in particular the fight against doping and match-fixing. The actions defined to this end are:
    • prepare draft EU comments to the revision of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s world anti-doping code;
    • develop a European dimension of the integrity of sport with the focus on the fight against match-fixing;
    • develop principles of transparency concerning good governance and organisation of sport;
    • address the issues identified related to access to and to supervision of the profession of sport agents and to transfers in team sports (in particular the issue of the transfer of young players).
  • Social values of sport, in particular health, social inclusion, education and volunteering. The following actions must be carried out:

    • prepare a proposal for European guidelines on ‘dual careers’ aimed at ensuring that young athletes receive quality education alongside their sports training;
    • follow up on the inclusion of sport-related certificates in national qualifications frameworks with reference to the European Qualifications Framework;
    • explore ways to promote health enhancing physical activity and participation in grassroots sport.
  • Economic aspects of sport, in particular sustainable financing of sports and evidence-based policy making. Two actions are defined in this respect:

    • promote data collection to measure the economic benefits of the EU sport sector;
    • strengthen financial solidarity mechanisms between professional sport and grassroots sport.

Implementation

Implementation of the Work Plan will be supported by expert groups created by the Commission and the EU countries in the following areas: anti-doping; good governance in sport; education and training in sport; sport, health and participation; sport statistics and sustainable financing of sport.

The Commission will collaborate with the sports movement and competent organisations at national, European and international levels. It will submit a report by the end of 2013 evaluating the implementation of the Work Plan.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 January 2011 – Developing the European Dimension in Sport [COM(2011) 12 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

White Paper on sport of 11 July 2007, presented by the European Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee [COM(2007) 391 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Prevention and control of hooliganism

Prevention and control of hooliganism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Prevention and control of hooliganism

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Education training youth sport > Sport

Prevention and control of hooliganism

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation of 22 April 1996 on guidelines for preventing and restraining disorder connected with football matches [Official Journal C 131 of 3.5.1996].

Council Resolution of 9 June 1997 on preventing and restraining football hooliganism through the exchange of experience, exclusion from stadiums and media policy [Official Journal C 193 of 24.6.1997].

Council Resolution of 21 June 1999 concerning a handbook for international police cooperation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with international football matches [Official Journal C 196 of 13.7.1999].

Council Resolution of 6 December 2001 concerning a handbook with recommendations for international police cooperation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with football matches with an international dimension [Official Journal C 22 of 24.1.2002].

Summary

EU action to combat hooliganism is based mainly on the 1985 Council of Europe Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in Particular at Football Matches and on the Joint Action with regard to cooperation on law and order and security. However, a number of other instruments have been adopted by the Council since the Treaty of Maastricht.

Prevention and control of hooliganism: Community acts

In 1996 the Council adopted a Recommendation that:

Member States should use a common format for police intelligence reports about known or suspected groups of troublemakers. These should be exchanged via the network of football hooliganism correspondents set up in 1994;

  • information should be exchanged about techniques for preventing disorder, and joint training courses organised for police officers from the different Member States;
  • provision should be made for requesting reinforcements from the police forces of other Member States for particular football matches;
  • there should be close cooperation between police officers and stewards in those Member States where this role exists, so as to ensure the best possible division of responsibilities.

In 1997 the Council passed a Resolution calling for:

  • stadium exclusions imposed under domestic law to apply throughout the EU;
  • an annual report to be produced on hooliganism;
  • more care to be taken over media strategy;
  • an annual meeting of experts to be arranged for the exchange of relevant experience.

In 1999 the Council produced a handbook aimed at the police forces of the Member States. This contained practical examples of working methods for developing police cooperation to prevent and control violence and disturbances at international football matches. It includes provisions on:

  • the content and scope of police cooperation (preparations by police forces, organising cooperation between them before the event, information management);
  • relations between the police and the media;
  • cooperation between police forces and stewards;
  • admission policy and ticketing policy.

In the light of experience in recent years (such as the European Championships – Euro 2000) and developments in international police cooperation in this field, the Council Resolution of 6 December 2001 calls for the Member States to step up cooperation.

A handbook aimed at police forces is annexed to this resolution (which replaces the Council resolution of 29 June 1999). The new version of the handbook will include provisions on:

  • the exchange and management of information by the police;
  • cooperation between the police forces in the organising country and the participating countries;
  • cooperation between the police and the organisers of a football match.

The Council does not rule out the possibility that forms of police cooperation established for football matches might be extended to other sporting events.

Tax governance in developing countries

Tax governance in developing countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Tax governance in developing countries

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Development > Sectoral development policies

Tax governance in developing countries

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 April 2010 – Tax and Development Cooperating with Developing Countries on Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters [COM(2010) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The improvement of economic and social conditions in developing countries is related to good tax governance and the strengthening of their tax systems. Furthermore, good international financial governance should allow funding destined for development to be mobilised and used more effectively.

Thus, the European Union (EU) encourages both tax cooperation with developing countries and the fight against tax evasion and avoidance.

Tax governance in developing countries

Development aid policies should contribute to the effectiveness of tax systems and an increase in tax revenue in EU partner countries. Taxes are essential for sustainable development, the legitimacy of the State, economic stability, and the financing of public services and infrastructures.

However, developing countries are subject to several types of difficulty, particularly due to:

  • the fragility of their economic structures and their low level of competitiveness;
  • their political instability, bad governance and the weakness of the rule of law;
  • bad tax management and unequal tax burden distribution among taxpayers;
  • the weakness of tax administrations lacking means and skills.

Furthermore, in the context of globalisation, several international factors form barriers to the effectiveness of national tax systems:

  • the implementation of domestic tax rules becomes difficult in a world with a high geographical mobility of taxpayers, high volumes of trade and capital flows and the use of new technologies for fraudulent purposes;
  • the transition from revenue systems largely dependent on customs revenue to broader and more modern ones;
  • a wish to attract sustainable foreign investments;
  • the use of bad tax practices, including in developed countries.

In order to overcome these tax reform difficulties, partner countries should:

  • distribute the tax burden fairly, particularly by balancing direct and indirect taxes;
  • take account of the specific nature of the informal economy (i.e. non-structured economic activities) and support micro and small enterprises;
  • stabilise the legal framework and improve the transparency of tax systems;
  • enhance the skills and capacities of administrations collecting taxes and reporting expenditure.

Transparency and international tax cooperation

The international context should also be improved by promoting and adopting international principles and standards as regards transparency and the exchange of tax information. This action should be taken in order to combat tax evasion and avoidance, money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism. It is also important to enhance the participation of developing countries in international fora dealing with tax governance issues.

The Commission also wishes to carry out its action as part of regional cooperation partnerships with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, Latin American and European Neighbourhood regions.

Using European Union instruments

Each partner country is to define their policies and reforms. Development aid should be adapted to each country according to its economic situation, international position and policies. Several aid instruments can be used to support these reforms:

  • budget support programs and public finance management tools;
  • technical cooperation with tax administrations;
  • regional cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, Latin American and European Neighbourhood regions;
  • support for the capacities of oversight bodies, national parliaments and Non-State Actors in developing countries in the field of tax.

These instruments must be established as part of existing programmes (the European Development Fund (EDF), the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), or the European Neighbourhood Policy and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)).

In addition, the Commission encourages donor coordination in each partner country, as well as closer international cooperation when international standards on tax cooperation are defined. These standards should take into account the needs and capacities of developing countries.

Context

The Commission’s action is in line with the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration adopted by the UN.

The second amendment to the Cotonou Agreement takes account of good tax governance principles.

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

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

Other

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

The European Union, which is a major consumer of timber products, is drawing up a process and a package of measures to combat the growing problem of illegal logging and related trade. The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT): Proposal for an EU Action Plan [COM(2003) 251 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION PLAN

This communication proposes the implementation of a specific process and a package of measures to address the problem of illegal logging and related trade, which is becoming an increasing concern. Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested in violation of national laws.

The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

The Action Plan targets four key regions and countries which, taken together, contain nearly 60% of the world’s forests and supply a large proportion of internationally traded timber – Central Africa, Russia, Tropical South America and Southeast Asia.

COMPONENTS OF THE ACTION PLAN

The Action Plan has several facets:

Support to timber-producing countries

Efforts will be focused on promoting solutions to the problem of illegal logging which are equitable and do not have an adverse impact on poor people. The European Union could, for example, provide support to community-based forest management and help propagate lessons from its initiatives in terms of national laws and policies. It could also work with partner governments to ensure that key underlying factors, such as land tenure and access to forest resources, encourage local participation in the fight against illegal logging.

It can also help partner countries come up with systems to check that timber has been harvested legally. Putting such systems in place will also require technical, institutional and other forms of capacity building for governments, civil society and the private sector.

The timber trade

The Union will set up a long-term dialogue process with timber-producing and timber-consuming countries, with a view to extending international collaboration in the fight against illegal logging and setting up a multilateral framework as a basis for action.

In the near future, a voluntary licensing scheme will be proposed whereby partner countries issue a permit attesting to the legality of timber exported to the EU. The Commission will propose a regulation setting up the scheme. This regulation will define the products to be included and describe the licence authorisation required.

The Commission will examine the impact of further measures, notably, in the absence of multilateral progress, the applicability of a regulation designed to address imports of illegally harvested timber.

Public procurement

Practical information will be provided to contracting authorities demonstrating how to procure timber from sustainable sources under public procurement procedures currently in force in the EU.

Current public procurement legislation, as well as the proposed future legislation, offers a number of possibilities for taking into account environmental factors in public procurement procedures.

Private-sector initiatives

Measures are proposed to encourage private-sector initiatives for good practice in the forestry sector, including the use of voluntary codes of conduct to source only legal timber.

Financing and investment guarantees

Banks and financial institutions investing in forest-sector operations will be asked to draw up procedures that include, among the precautions to be taken, the social and environmental impact of loans to the forest sector and respect for the legislation in force.

Export credit agencies, for their part, will be encouraged to draw up guidelines for screening procedures and codes of practice for forest-sector projects.

Combating money laundering

The Commission will encourage Member States to designate illegal logging as a crime for the purposes of the EC Directive on money laundering.

Currently only a small number of Member States designate crimes relating to illegal logging under their money-laundering legislation.

Conflict timber

The Commission will attempt to address, through programmes of development cooperation among others, the problem of armed conflicts that are financed by illegal logging activities.

Implementation

To help implement the above activities, it is proposed that the EU provide a coordinated response, drawing on the strong points and capacities of the Commission and EU Member States. A work programme will be drawn up with the latter to assist the process.

NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF ILLEGAL LOGGING

Illegal logging is closely associated with corruption and organised crime, undermining the rule of law, principles of democratic governance and respect for human rights.

In some cases the illegal exploitation of forests is also associated with violent conflict. Profits from the illegal exploitation of forests (and of other natural resources) are often used to fund and prolong these conflicts.

Illegal logging and related trade undermines the competitiveness of legitimate forest-sector industry operations in both exporting and importing countries. In so doing, this limits these industries’ ability to conduct operations that foster sustainable forest management and sustainable development generally.

Illegal logging also causes enormous environmental damage and loss of biodiversity. In the long term, it can end up having a negative impact on the forest-based livelihoods of many of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

Illegal logging thus undermines many essential elements of the EU’s development objectives: public-sector financing for development targeted at the poor, peace, security, good governance, the fight against corruption, and sustainable environmental management.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 October 2008 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market [COM(2008) 644 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Regulation imposes obligations on persons and companies who place timber or timber products on the market within the Community to reduce, as much as possible, the risk of products derived from illegal logging being placed on the market. In particular, the Community intends to combat deforestation and biodiversity loss in the world. Operators must use a framework of procedures which:

  1. allow information regarding timber and timber products placed on the market to be made available;
  2. include a risk management procedure;
  3. plan audits to ensure the effective implementation of the system.

The Regulation establishes a list of products which the rules apply to.
Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0198).

Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT voluntary licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community [Official Journal L 347, 30.12.2005].
This Regulation establishes a Community set of rules for the import of certain timber products for the purposes of implementing the FLEGT licensing scheme. It contains measures designed to fight illegal logging and trade in the timber thus obtained, both being practices which cause heavy losses in developing countries and damage the environment. The approved measures involve setting up voluntary partnerships with a view to supporting and encouraging governance reform in those countries most severely affected by illegal logging and with a view to establishing a licensing scheme with partner countries to ensure that only legal timber coming from these countries is imported into the EU.