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Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy

Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy

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Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

Cohesion policy to deliver the Lisbon Strategy (2007-2013)

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 11 December 2007 – Member States and Regions delivering the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs through EU cohesion policy, 2007-2013 [COM(2007) 798 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission sets out an initial overview of the results of the negotiations relating to the new generation of cohesion programmes and strategies. It looks at the part which these can play in the renewed Lisbon strategy.

This Communication is part of the package defining the actions taken by the European Union to achieve the Lisbon objectives for 2008-2011. It assesses the progress made towards achieving the objectives of this strategy in the period 2005-2007.

Cohesion policy at the heart of the Lisbon process

Since its reform in 2006, cohesion policy has focused on the achievement of the priorities of the Lisbon strategy for the period 2007-2013, namely: making the EU an attractive place to invest and work, encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and growth of the knowledge economy, and creating more and better jobs.

The reformed cohesion policy has brought about the decentralisation of responsibilities to local and regional partners, the pooling of their knowledge and resources, and the development of strategies suited to local and regional levels.

The efforts to achieve the Lisbon objectives must continue, taking account of the variability of contexts and the difficulties facing each country. For instance, the Member States are required to provide funding for actions which achieve these objectives and for the structural reforms set out in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).

Focusing on the Lisbon priorities

For 2007-2013, the budget for cohesion policy amounts to 347 billion euro, with an additional 160 billion euro from public and private national resources. Around 80 % of these resources will be allocated to regions under the Convergence objective: 65 % of these funds will be used for the Lisbon strategy. Regions under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective will account for 16 % of cohesion policy resources, 82 % of which will be used for actions linked to the Lisbon strategy.

Efforts will focus on the four priorities of the Lisbon strategy, namely:

  • investing more in knowledge and innovation;
  • unlocking business potential (particularly of SMEs);
  • improving employability through flexicurity;
  • better management of energy resources.

Investing in knowledge and innovation

The cohesion programmes invest 85 billion euro in knowledge and innovation, in particular in order to improve the innovation capacity of businesses (49.5 billion euro) and skills, to disseminate, use and design technologies, to create businesses and promote a more flexible workforce.

In this field, it is important to exploit existing poles of excellence, improve national and regional capacities, leverage private financing and draw on existing potential. This can be done through joint action to launch a new generation of world-class infrastructures, laboratories and research instruments.

Unlocking business potential

Cohesion policy helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in human capital, install efficient management systems, offer a good working environment, anticipate economic change and reduce administrative formalities.

For 2007-2013, almost 19 billion euro are allocated to helping SMEs improve their competitiveness and gain access to the world markets. Thanks to the JEREMIE and JESSICA initiatives, which seek to improve the availability of innovative financial engineering products in the regions, SMEs can also have access to other sources of aid.

The JASMINE initiative has been adopted in the field of supporting micro-credit, in order to develop employment and boost social inclusion. A Communication proposing guidance on the synergies between cohesion policy, the Research Framework Programmes and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme has also been issued.

Improving employability through flexicurity

For the period 2007-2013, around 50 billion euro have been allocated under cohesion policy to financing various aspects of flexicurity. The aim of the new programmes is to improve employability through flexicurity by helping businesses to develop human resources strategies and more productive working methods and to ease the transition process resulting from restructuring.

Labour market and education and training policies ensure the provision of the necessary skills and qualifications for the world of work. Funding earmarked for the reform of education and training systems will be increased (25.3 billion euro).

Better management of energy resources

The new programmes attach greater importance to improving the management of energy resources and the move towards an efficient and integrated energy policy. Compared to the period 2000-2006, investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency will be five times higher for the Convergence objective and seven times higher for the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective.

Addressing recommendations and priorities

Investments to further the achievement of the Lisbon objectives affect a number of fields, the complexity of which could lead to difficulties for the Member States. In order to deal with this, 51 billion euro are earmarked for programmes which aim to strengthen synergies between environmental protection, risk prevention and growth.

A suitable transport network is needed for economic development. Priority is given to the development of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), with a budget of 38 billion euro. Projects which facilitate access to TEN-T and promote more environmentally-friendly transport systems will benefit from 34 billion euro.

Almost 3.6 billion euro will be used to help modernise public administrations and services and allow them to develop and implement effective policies. The JASPERS technical assistance facility will also help the new Member States to implement quality projects likely to receive EU financial support.

Promoting partnerships

Overall, there is good cooperation between those responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NRPs (National Reform Programmes) and those developing strategies and programmes for cohesion policy. Efforts must continue to be made where this is not yet the case.

All stakeholders must cooperate intensively for the preparation and implementation of cohesion policy programmes. Cohesion policy associates both “vertical” partners (Community, national, regional and local authorities) and “horizontal” stakeholders (business representatives, trade unions, NGOs, etc.).

Evaluation and monitoring of cohesion policy in the Lisbon process

Regular reports on the contribution of cohesion policy to the improvement of growth and employment are presented for the purpose of cross-checking and to guarantee the coherent management of the NRPs and cohesion policy programmes.

The Member States will submit a report each year on the aid allocated to each programme in addition to reports in 2009 and 2012 on the contribution of cohesion policy to the Lisbon agenda.

The Commission will draft a report (in 2010 and 2013) on national contributions and the need to adjust the programmes to the new challenges.

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 14 May 2008 on the results of the negotiations concerning cohesion policy strategies and programmes for the programming period 2007-2013 [COM(2008) 301 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Following the negotiations conducted with the Member States, the Commission presents the priorities of cohesion policy programming for 2007-2013. In line with the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, the financial resources allocated to the Convergence, Competitiveness and Territorial Cooperation Objectives support innovation, research, skills and human capital.

The regional and sectoral strategies have been adapted to new challenges. For example, investments should contribute to the global competitiveness of European businesses by facilitating their access to the markets and by helping them to deal with restructuring. The ageing of the population and demographic changes in European society call in particular for increased labour participation and enhanced workers’ skills. Cohesion policy is aimed in particular at the inclusion of migrants and the fight against discrimination, poverty and exclusion. The programmes support the development of new environmental services and new skills, as well as the financing of infrastructure, in order to achieve the European objectives in the areas of sustainable development, climate change and energy policy.

The decentralised management of the Funds is essential to the effectiveness of the programmes. The multi-level partnership introduced between the public authorities and civil society in the preparation of strategies also makes it possible to adapt investment more closely to regional and local situations. In addition, exchanges of good practices based on previous programming contribute towards the effectiveness of public spending.

Good practices are spread within the framework of the Community initiatives, particularly the new “Regions for Economic Change” initiative and the Territorial Cooperation Objective.

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening of maritime labour standards

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

Transport > Waterborne transport

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 June 2006 under Article 138(2) of the EC Treaty on the strengthening of maritime labour standards [COM(2006) 287 final ? Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission has actively supported the work of preparing the ILO Convention on Maritime Labour Standards. It considers implementation of that Convention to be essential not only at Community but also at national level.

Article 138(2) of the Treaty stipulates that before submitting social policy proposals the Commission should consult the social partners regarding the possible direction of Community action.

Field of application of the Convention

The Convention draws together a set of provisions aimed at guaranteeing decent living and working conditions on board vessels with a gross tonnage of 500 tonnes or more engaged in international voyages or sailing between foreign ports. The standards it contains address the following points:

  • minimum conditions required for recruitment;
  • employment conditions and workers’ rights;
  • accommodation on board;
  • social protection;
  • a definition of responsibilities regarding application of the Convention.

Benefits of the Convention

The primary objective of the ILO Convention is to consolidate the conventions and recommendations on maritime labour adopted by the ILO since 1919 into a single text of high legal and political standing. Furthermore, it makes use of innovative mechanisms to ensure that the instrument is fully effective.

The second objective of this Convention is to manage globalisation and guarantee fairer conditions of competition. This will help to stabilise the maritime transport sector in the face of global competition and normalise the status of seafarer in the context of globalisation. In fact, certain harmful effects, such as social dumping, penalise seamen and ship owners who comply with the rules in force.

The third objective is to improve maritime safety and the attractiveness of the profession. It is worth remembering that 80 % of maritime accidents are linked to human error. There should therefore be minimum social standards in a coherent framework. A review of training should also be carried out, since qualifications and working conditions are complementary.

Role of the EU

The Commission gave its full support to the preparatory work for the Convention from the outset, convinced of the importance of eliminating unfair competition and improving social standards at world level. It has played a dynamic role, providing added value during negotiations and guaranteeing compatibility between the text of the Convention and Community law. It has also coordinated the positions of the Member States and offered financial support.

The Commission is now endeavouring to encourage and to expedite ratification to ensure that the Convention enters into force as early as possible. The weight of the Union, with its 27 Member States, enables the process to be speeded up since the conditions laid down for the entry into force of the Convention call for 30 States accounting for at least 33 % of world tonnage.

In addition, the Commission is striving to develop and enhance Community standards by seeking to incorporate the most relevant provisions of the Convention into Community law.

For this first phase of consultation, the social partners are thus invited to make known their position on a number of issues connected with implementation of the Convention. Those issues, which will also be the subject of an impact assessment, are as follows:

  • the advisability of developing the existing Community acquis by adapting, consolidating or complementing it in accordance with certain guidelines;
  • the usefulness of going beyond the provisions of the Convention in Community law;
  • the relevance of making the non-compulsory part of the Convention binding;
  • the possible commitment of the social partners to negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement to be implemented by means of Council decision, in accordance with Article 139 of the Treaty.

Furthermore, the Commission is asking the social partners whether it is relevant for the Community’s tripartite structure to be reflected in the monitoring commission provided for by the Convention.

Background

Now that the Convention has been adopted, the European Commission considers it essential to mobilise the necessary resources to implement it at both Community and national level. The Commission is seeking to assert EU values and interests and to promote high standards throughout the world.

Related Acts

Council Decision 2007/431/EC of 7 June 2007 authorising Member States to ratify, in the interests of the European Community, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, of the International Labour Organization [Official Journal L 161 of 22.6.2007].
The Commission has exclusive competence as regards the coordination of social security schemes, but the Community cannot stand in place of the Member States when a convention is ratified. The Council Decision of 7 June 2007 allows the Member States to ratify the Convention, which comprises aspects connected with coordination of social security schemes.

The principle of cooperation between the institutions

The principle of cooperation between the institutions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The principle of cooperation between the institutions

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

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

The principle of cooperation between the institutions

Summary

The principle of “sincere cooperation” stems from Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) in the context of relations between the European Union (EU) and Member States and Article 13 of the TEU in the context of relations between the EU institutions.

In substance, this Article states that the Member States must take all appropriate measures to fulfil their obligations arising out of the Treaty and do nothing detrimental to the proper functioning of the European Union.

Cooperation between the Member States and the EU institutions

Member States have a duty of sincere cooperation with the EU institutions. Accordingly, they are asked to support EU activities and not to hinder their proper functioning. This involves, for example:

  • punishing infringements of EU law as strictly as infringements of national law;
  • cooperating with the Commission in procedures linked to the monitoring of compliance with EU law, e.g. by sending the documents required in accordance with the rules;
  • making good any damage caused by infringements of EU law;
  • not unnecessarily hindering the internal operation of the European institutions (for example, by taxing reimbursements of the transport costs of MEPs travelling to Brussels and Strasbourg);
  • cooperating with the Commission in the event of inaction on the part of the Council, so as to enable the EU to fulfil its responsibilities (for example, to fulfil urgent needs concerning the conservation of certain fish stocks).

Article 4 of the TEU invites the EU and the Member States to respect and assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Treaties.

Cooperation between the institutions

In accordance with Article 13 of the TEU, the EU institutions are required to comply with the principle of mutual “sincere cooperation”. They are:

  • the European Parliament;
  • the European Council;
  • the Council;
  • the European Commission;
  • the Court of Justice of the European Union;
  • the European Central Bank;
  • the Court of Auditors;

This principle is applicable in accordance with the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU.

The principle of interinstitutional cooperation can also be found in Article 249 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which lays down that the Council and the Commission must consult each other and settle by common accord their methods of cooperation.

Interinstitutional cooperation takes place in various ways, including:

  • exchanges of letters between the Council and the Commission;
  • interinstitutional agreements;
  • joint declarations of the three institutions.

The Commission’s implementing powers

The Commission’s implementing powers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Commission’s implementing powers

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

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

The Commission’s implementing powers

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers.

Summary

Implementing powers enable the Commission to adopt the implementing measures for a European legal act. The Commission only holds implementing powers if the basic legal act so provides. They are therefore not general powers. Moreover, the exercise of these powers is strictly framed in order to ensure that Member States are associated with the preparation of implementing acts.

This Regulation thus lays down the rules concerning the control of the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. This control is applied through the comitology procedures – the Commission must submit each draft implementing act to committees composed of representatives of Member States.

The committees

There are around 300 committees covering almost all of the Union’s powers. The committees are composed of representatives of Member States, but also of scientific experts or representatives from business and industry. They are chaired by a Commission representative, who nevertheless does not participate in voting when the committee delivers an opinion on a draft implementing act.

The role of the committees is to assist the Commission in preparing implementing acts. The Commission therefore consults them each time that it is about to adopt an implementing act. Depending on which procedure is undertaken, the committee’s positive opinion may be optional or obligatory. In all cases, committees offer a forum for discussion between the Commission and the national administrations of the Member States and the most satisfactory solution is always sought.

The procedures for the adoption of implementing acts

Within the committees, there are two types of procedure: the examination procedure and the advisory procedure. The procedure selected is laid down in the basic act which confers implementing powers upon the Commission.

Under the examination procedure, the Commission may only adopt an implementing act if the committee delivers a positive opinion. If a negative opinion is delivered, the Commission may either propose an amended version of the draft act within two months, or refer the matter to the appeal committee. If the appeal committee is seised, its opinion must be positive if the draft act is to be adopted.

As a general rule, the examination procedure applies to the adoption of implementing acts:

  • of general scope;
  • concerning programmes with substantial implications;
  • concerning the common agricultural and common fisheries policies;
  • concerning the environment, and the protection of the health or safety of humans, animals or plants;
  • concerning the common commercial policy;
  • concerning taxation.

The consultative procedure generally applies in all other cases. Under the consultative procedure, the Commission decides whether to adopt the act taking into account, as far as possible, the conclusions of discussions held within the committee.

Adoption of implementing acts in exceptional cases

Exceptionally, the Commission may adopt an implementing act even if a committee has delivered a negative opinion where that act is necessary to avoid creating:

  • a significant disruption of the markets in the area of agriculture;
  • a risk for the financial interests of the Union.

In such cases, the Commission submits the implementing act to the appeal committee immediately after its adoption. If the appeal committee delivers a negative opinion, the implementing act is repealed.

Adoption of implementing acts with immediate effect

In an emergency, a basic act may give immediate effect to implementing measures adopted by the Commission. The Commission may thus adopt implementing acts without having to consult the competent committee.

The duration of such acts cannot, however, exceed six months. Furthermore, the act must be submitted to the appeal committee at the latest 14 days after its adoption. If the appeal committee delivers a negative opinion, the implementing act is repealed.

Context

The legal basis for implementing powers is to be found in Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Pursuant to that article, implementing powers are generally held by Member States – they are responsible for applying European law in their internal law through their national administration.

However, there are cases where uniform application of European law is necessary in order to avoid, for example, any form of discrimination or distortion of competition. Thus, Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Commission to adopt implementing measures for a European judicial act. The basic act must then explicitly confer implementing powers upon the Commission.

References

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

Regulation (EU) No 182/2011

1.3.2011

OJ L 182, 28.2.2011

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