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MISSOC – Mutual information system on social protection

MISSOC – Mutual information system on social protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about MISSOC – Mutual information system on social protection

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Social protection

MISSOC – Mutual information system on social protection

Document or Iniciative

MISSOC programme: Mutual information system on social protection, launched in March 1990.

Summary

MISSOC (the Mutual Information System on SOCial protection) was established in 1990 and has become a prime source of information on the status of social protection in Europe. MISSOC now covers all 25 Member States of the European Union (EU), the three other States of the European Economic Area — Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — since 2000, and Switzerland since 2002.

The MISSOC programme depends on close co-operation between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs and a network of representatives of the participating States. A secretariat appointed by the DG Employment and Social Affairs is responsible for coordinating the network, arranging meetings, collecting information, managing the IT system and preparing and distributing the publications.

Each participating State is represented by one or two correspondents in national ministries or institutions responsible for social protection, who supply the information and make sure that what is published is accurate. The MISSOC network meets twice a year (May and October) in the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Work carried out

MISSOC is based on information supplied by the ministries and authorities responsible for social protection. It produces regularly updated comparative tables covering all areas of social protection and MISSOC info bulletins on specific topics such as people with disabilities, health care, the elderly and the main changes in the social protection systems.

Information on social protection legislation in the Central and Eastern European countries was compiled in the MISSOC II project. The aim was to obtain information in a manner consistent with the MISSOC Tables.

Mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda

Mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Priorities and objectives: the social agenda

Mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda

Following the creation of a European Social Policy Agenda (June 2000), the Commission presents a mid-term review in order to reflect on past action and to focus the key new social policy measures on the Union of 25 Member States.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda [COM(2003) 312 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

1. This Communication, which has been drawn up on the basis of a conference organised by the Commission, is a mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda launched by the European Commission for the period 2000-2005 under the Lisbon strategy. It is designed to check implementation of the Agenda and to pinpoint the new policies needed to achieve it.

PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN THE YEARS 2000-2003

2. The Lisbon policy framework formed the basis for the Social Policy Agenda, as introduced by the Commission in June 2000. Over these three years, the work devoted to implementing this Agenda was focused on the preparation of measures designed to guarantee the conditions conducive to a period of high, non-inflationary growth, to create jobs, wealth and prosperity and to enhance social cohesion.

3. To date, in spite of clear signs of an economic downturn and a rise in unemployment, the reforms that have been implemented have produced significant structural changes, especially the creation of nearly 10 million jobs since the European Employment Strategy was launched (1997), a fall in long-term unemployment and a rise in the labour force participation rate, which increased from 62.3% in 1999 (the year before the launch of the Social Policy Agenda) to 64.3% in 2002.

4. As far as the social situation is concerned, the lack of data means that it remains hard to determine how much progress has been made in combating poverty and promoting social inclusion. However, the improvements observed in the area of employment, especially the fall in structural unemployment, should have helped to strengthen social cohesion.

5. Since the Commission realises the role of social policy as a factor of productivity and part and parcel of the dynamic development of economies, its approach to the Social Policy Agenda covers various areas, including:

  • investment in research, education and training, which strengthens the human capital available in a knowledge-based economy, increases productivity and reduces social failure;
  • investment in high standards of performance at the workplace, which raises productivity and lowers losses due to accidents;
  • investment in active policies in the area of integration and equal opportunities for all, in order to bring disadvantaged groups into economic life;
  • investment in social harmony, which makes it possible to keep costly industrial or work disputes to a minimum.

6. These areas were covered thanks to the active role that the Social Policy Agenda gives to a wide range of players, including the institutions, bodies and agencies of the European Union; the Member States, including their regional and local authorities; the social partners, civil society and enterprises. The Commission takes the view that this participation is one of the strong points of the Agenda and that this approach must be pursued with determination.

7. The Social Policy Agenda also stresses the need to find the right combination of the various instruments available at European level, including the open method of coordination, legislation, social dialogue, the Structural Funds, the action programmes, the measures to incorporate the gender dimension, policy analysis and research. All these instruments were used very actively in the first half of the implementation of the Agenda.

THE PROGRESS TO BE MADE

8. During the first half of the implementation of the Social Policy Agenda, it proved possible to launch practically all the planned measures. The task in the second half will therefore be to check and ensure the implementation of the measures that have been launched. The priorities and the policy measures are focused on the following areas: growth and the quality of jobs, change in the working environment, combating of exclusion and discrimination, modernisation of social protection, promotion of equality between men and women and strengthening of the social side of enlargement and of the external relations of the European Union.

More and better-quality jobs

9. On the basis of the objective of ensuring that the employment rate is as close as possible to 70% by 2010, the new employment strategy focuses on three main objectives: full employment, the quality and productivity of employment, cohesion and a labour market that promotes integration.

10. In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission has adopted proposals for employment guidelines and recommendations, such as transforming undeclared work into regular jobs and clarifying the immigration issue. Together with the main economic policy guidelines, they form part of a set of strategic instruments for creating more and better jobs.

11. The Commission also planned to conduct a mid-term review of the European Social Fund (ESF), the key financial instrument of the European Employment Strategy, and to launch the second phase of the EQUAL Community initiative in 2004, designed to promote the combating of discrimination and inequality on the labour market.

Changing the work environment through a new balance between flexibility and security

12. The key message underlying the Lisbon strategy is “transformation”, i.e. change as a factor for regeneration of the economy, dynamism and innovation, giving impetus to growth and productivity.

13. Realising the importance of partnership and of the cross-industry and sectoral social dialogue for change, the Commission intends to strengthen the rules and promote good practices. In order to give direction to these activities, it intends to pursue the study of representation and the production of monographs on the social partners.

14. The process of convergence that enlargement will bring about will further strengthen the need to manage economic and social change in order to ensure that it produces a lasting improvement in living standards. Ahead of enlargement, the Commission planned several measures, such as the review of the European centre for managing change at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

15. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the promotion of health and safety at work will also be fundamental priorities in the second half of the implementation of the Social Policy Agenda.

Combating all forms of exclusion and discrimination

16. The principles of solidarity and social inclusion form the basis for a high level of social cohesion, as was recognised by the European Heads of State and Government at the Lisbon Council. Moreover, enlargement will make the issues of social exclusion and poverty even more urgent.

17. The Commission is therefore continuing its integrated, overall approach, which takes account of poverty and exclusion. The planned measures are focused on three main areas: social inclusion, with the review of the poverty and social exclusion indicators, planned for 2004, the action plan on the integration of people with disabilities, planned for 2005, and the future strategy for combating discrimination, also planned for 2005.

Modernisation of social protection

18. The modernisation of the European social model makes it necessary to improve social protection in order to respond to the move towards a knowledge-based economy and o the change in social and family structures. This modernisation should draw on the role of social protection as a productive factor.

19. The Commission takes the view that greater cooperation in the area of social protection also requires increasing involvement of all players concerned at all levels, and it proposes the open method of coordination in order to strengthen the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy. The use of this open method will make it possible to move gradually towards a simplified procedure of social protection and an exchange of good practices on issues in order to improve coordination in the area of healthcare.

Equality between women and men

20. The Commission considers that equal opportunities between women and men must be promoted across the board in the Social Policy Agenda and be supplemented by a number of specific measures.

21. The initiatives announced for the second half of the implementation of the Social Policy Agenda include a draft Directive on equal treatment and the elimination of discrimination for 2003, a report to the spring Council (2004) on progress towards gender equality and the proposal to revitalise the framework strategy on gender equality, planned for 2005.

Strengthening the social side of enlargement and of the external relations of the European Union

22. Enlargement and international relations constitute a challenge and an opportunity for Community action in the social field. It is therefore necessary to develop the sharing of experience and strategies with the candidate countries and to promote an integrated economic and social agenda that corresponds to the European approach in international bodies.

23. In order to optimise preparation for the accession of the ten new countries, from 2003 the Commission stepped up the monitoring of legislative and political developments in these countries. Their participation in Community programmes and agencies was to provide good preparation, familiarising the future new Member States with the Union’s policies and working methods.

24. As far as international cooperation is concerned, the Commission takes the view that the social dimension should be actively promoted in the EU’s international relations, cooperation with international organisations, such as the UN or the OECD, and bilateral cooperation.

Background

25. The mid-term review of the Social Policy Agenda provides a unique opportunity to reflect on past work and to direct the key measures towards the Union of 25 Member States, based on the conviction that the preservation of the European corpus of social rules and regulations is a major priority. For the post-2005 period, the Commission has set up a high-level group of experts [PDF ] with a remit to study the future of social and employment policy in the EU.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Scoreboard on implementing the Social Policy Agenda [COM(2003) 57 final – not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Scoreboard on implementing the Social Policy Agenda [COM(2002) 89 final – not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Scoreboard on implementing the Social Policy Agenda [COM(2001) 104 final – not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Social policy Agenda [COM(2000) 379 final – not published in the Official Journal].

 

Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

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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 > Sectoral development policies

Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

The EC Mine Action Strategy has as its strategic objective a drastic reduction in the lingering threat and impact of anti-personnel landmines in the context of increased local security and regional confidence. It sets out three thematic objectives, one horizontal objective and six geographic priorities.

Document or Iniciative

The European Roadmap towards a Zero Victim Target – The EC Mine Action Strategy and Multi-annual Indicative Programming 2005-2007 , Brussels, 18 October 2004 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This strategy and programming establish guidelines for building on the support that Europe has provided to mine action and provides a strategic framework in which the appropriate Community measures are to be conducted.

Landmines and the role of Europe

Five years after the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT of 1999) (FR) enormous progress has been made: the number of victims has dropped from 26 000 per year to between 15 000 and 20 000; the number of States where landmines are used has fallen from 19 (in 1997) to 5; more than 31 million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed by States party to the Treaty.

“The European Community envisions a world free from the threat of anti-personnel landmines (APL) and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in which all affected countries themselves are able to take full control of their APL and UXO problems and to provide victims with prompt care and ongoing assistance.”

The document indicates several key objectives of the international community. These objectives relate to the mine clearance of areas of highest impact on local populations and increased assistance to the victims of anti-personnel landmines. They also aim to encourage non-signatories to adhere to the principles of the MBT Treaty and to assist States which are struggling to eliminate their stockpiles.

Within the international community, Europe’s role is multifaceted: political, financial (the EU is the world’s leading donor), coordinating and catalysing.

Specific needs and lessons learned

On the basis of the lessons learned from experience, the European Community (EC) will adopt a multi-pronged approach aimed at achieving more efficient and prioritised mine clearance of the high-impact areas. The marking and fencing of high-and medium-impact areas and raising the awareness of the population of the dangers of mines will also be dealt with as a priority. These actions will be accompanied by the destruction of stockpiles and, if necessary, initiatives in favour of universalisation of the MBT.

The document mentions the need to assist victims of anti-personnel landmines not only through local medical capacity building, but also through socio-economic rehabilitation and re-integration of landmine victims.

Several means are identified to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of mine action, notably local capacity building, fielding innovative technologies and equipment, enhancing the coordination of donor assistance and mainstreaming mine action into wider programmes of assistance.

Europe’s strategy

Europe (EC/EU) has set itself the following strategic objective for the period 2005-2007: “to drastically reduce the lingering threat and impact of landmines in the context of increased local security and regional confidence”.

The European Roadmap towards a Zero Victim Target comprises three thematic objectives:

  • to reduce the anti-personnel landmine threat;
  • to alleviate mine victim suffering and aid socio-economic reintegration;
  • to enhance local and regional impacts of effective mine action capacity.

This strategy sets one horizontal objective cutting across all objectives: it is necessary to ensure that all mine action activities are conducted coherently, efficiently and effectively.

When establishing the geographic priorities of the European interventions, the following criteria must be taken into account:

  • commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty. Assistance for mine clearance and stockpile destruction will be provided only to States which are party to the Treaty, with a certain degree of flexibility to react to serious humanitarian crises.
  • high humanitarian and developmental need. The funds available will focus on the urgent needs of the affected populations.
  • strategic importance for the EU. Geographically, a significant proportion of European initiatives will target affected countries in close proximity to the EU and regions of strategic importance.
  • sustainability and coherence with wider assistance. The priorities should be established in coherence with the wider assistance programmes.
  • proven commitment of States which are not parties to the Treaty to mine action and the principles of the MBT.
  • efficiency and effectiveness of local/national mine action planning and programmes.

The success of the actions of this strategy will be measured by indicators, such as the immediate reduction in the threat of mines and the impact of the development programmes for the socio-economic reintegration of the victims.

Multi-annual indicative programming

Multi-annual indicative programming has been designed to ensure optimum use of funds available. It provides that the total Community assistance for mine action during the period 2005-2007 should amount to at least EUR 120 million.

The multi-annual programming sets out:

  • the priority objectives for each region;
  • specific actions to be undertaken for the priority objectives within each country;
  • annual and multi-annual indicative budgets (calculated on the basis of the global budget).

Background

The European Union welcomed the adoption in 1997 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (” Mine Ban Treaty” – “MBT”). In 2001 the EU adopted two Regulations (No 1724/2001 and No 1725/2001) defining a coherent strategy concerning action against anti-personnel landmines in developing countries and third countries other than developing countries. The first indicative multi-annual programming 2002-2004 was adopted with a view to ensuring coherence of the Community efforts in achieving the objectives set by the international community.

This information sheet is published for information. Its aim is neither to interpret nor to replace the reference document, which remains the sole binding legal basis.

Minimum levels of safety in European road tunnels

Minimum levels of safety in European road tunnels

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Minimum levels of safety in European road tunnels

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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 > Road transport

Minimum levels of safety in European road tunnels

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2004/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network [See amending act].

Summary

Background

Tunnels are important infrastructures which facilitate communication between extensive areas of the European Union (EU) and are therefore essential for long-distance transport and the development of regional economies.

However, accidents in tunnels, and particularly fires, can have dramatic consequences and can prove extremely costly in terms of human life, increased congestion, pollution and repair costs.

The fires in the Mont Blanc (France/Italy) and Tauern (Austria) tunnels in 1999 and in the Gotthard (Switzerland) tunnel in 2001 have highlighted the potential consequences, in human and economic terms, of such accidents in tunnels: dozens of dead and injured, and major European trunk roads blocked for months, if not years.

The Commission’s concern at this increase in the accident rate led to its White Paper entitled “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” announcing minimum safety requirements for road tunnels in the trans-European road network.

This directive lays down a set of harmonised minimum safety standards dealing with the various organisational, structural, technical and operational aspects.

The aim of this directive is to ensure that all tunnels longer than 500 metres, whether in operation, under construction or at the design stage, and forming part of the trans-European road network, comply with the new harmonised safety requirements. Tunnels shorter than 500 metres do not generally need to be equipped with mechanical ventilation systems, as the hot smoke emitted by the fire is naturally stratified.

Administrative authority

Each EU country must designate one or more administrative authorities, responsible for all aspects of safety, which take the necessary measures to ensure that the directive is complied with.

The administrative authority may be set up at national, regional or local level. In the case of transfrontier tunnels, either each EU country appoints an administrative authority or the two EU countries appoint a joint administrative authority.

The prior authorisation of the administrative authority is required in the event of the commissioning of a new tunnel or rebuilding of an existing one. The administrative authority has power to suspend or restrict the operation of a tunnel if the safety conditions are not met.

The administrative authority ensures that the following tasks are performed:

  • testing and inspecting tunnels on a regular basis and drawing up the related safety requirements;
  • putting in place organisational and operational schemes (including emergency response plans) for the training and equipping of emergency services;
  • establishing the procedure for immediate closure of a tunnel in case of an emergency;
  • implementing the necessary risk reduction measures.

Tunnel manager

For each tunnel located on the territory of an EU country, whether it is in the design, construction or operating stage, the administrative authority identifies as Tunnel Manager the public or private body responsible for the management of the tunnel at the stage in question. Any significant incident or accident occurring in a tunnel must be the subject of an incident report prepared by the Tunnel Manager.

Safety officer

For each tunnel, the Tunnel Manager, with the prior approval of the administrative authority, nominates a Safety Officer who coordinates all preventive and safeguarding measures to ensure the safety of users and operations staff. The Safety Officer performs the following tasks:

  • ensures coordination with the emergency services and takes part in the preparation of operational schemes;
  • takes part in the planning, implementation and evaluation of emergency operations;
  • takes part in the definition of safety plans and the specification of infrastructure installations;
  • verifies that operational staff and emergency services are trained, and takes part in the organisation of exercises held at regular intervals;
  • gives advice on the commissioning of the structure, equipment and operation of tunnels;
  • verifies that the tunnel structure and equipment are maintained and repaired;
  • takes part in the evaluation of any significant incident or accident.

In the case of tunnels that have been approved at the design stage but which have not been opened to the public by 30 April 2005, the administrative authority assesses their compliance with this directive.

With regard to tunnels that have been opened to the public by that date, the administrative authority has until 30 October 2005 to assess their compliance with this directive.

By 30 April 2005, EU countries must submit a report to the Commission on how they intend to meet the requirements of the directive, on planned measures, and, where appropriate, on the consequences of opening or closing the main access roads to the tunnels.

Periodic inspections

EU countries ensure that inspections, evaluations and tests are carried out by inspection entities.

The administrative authority verifies that regular inspections are carried out by the inspection entity to ensure that all tunnels falling within the scope of this directive comply with its provisions. The period between two consecutive inspections of any given tunnel should not exceed six years.

Risk analysis

A risk analysis, based on a single methodology defined at national level, is, at the request of the administrative authority, carried out by an independent body for a given tunnel, taking into account all design factors and traffic conditions that affect safety, notably traffic characteristics and type, length and geometry of the tunnel, as well as the projected number of heavy goods vehicles per day.

Reports

By 30 April 2009 the Commission must publish a report on the practice followed in EU countries.

Every two years, EU countries compile reports on fires in tunnels and on accidents which clearly affect the safety of road users in tunnels, and on the frequency and causes of such incidents, and evaluate them and provide information on the actual role and effectiveness of safety facilities and measures.

The Commission shall adapt the annexes to this directive according to technical progress.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2004/54/EC

30.4.2004

30.4.2006

OJ L 167, 30.04.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

7.8.2009

OJ L 188, 18.7.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2004/54/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Middle east

Middle east

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Middle east

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 > Middle east

Middle east

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Gulf States

  • Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Iraq

  • Renewed engagement with Iraq
  • A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement
  • Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Iran

  • EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Yemen

  • Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

  • Financing instrument for development cooperation – DCI (2007-2013)
  • Financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories (2007-2013)

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

Topics

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

Development > General development framework

Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

Document or Iniciative

Commission working paper of 20 September 2007 – EU report on policy coherence for development [COM(2007) 545 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union (EU) is seeking to increase the effectiveness of its development aid by endeavouring to ensure policy coherence for development (PCD), i.e. synergies between development goals and other European policies. This concept was first presented in a Communication from the Commission in 2005 and constitutes one of the objectives of the consensus on development. Within this framework, the EU’s commitment is based on 12 themes (trade, the environment, climate change, security, agriculture, fisheries, the social dimension, employment and decent work, migration, research, the information society, transport and energy).

The report concludes that substantial progress has been made towards more policy coherence. Firstly, the European institutions have become more aware of the external impact of EU policies other than development policy. And secondly, organisational mechanisms have improved both at EU and at Member State level. Despite this progress, much remains to be done to promote PCD, the main obstacles being policy priority conflicts and conflicts of interest between Member States and between developing countries. Sometimes this is accompanied by insufficient capacity and lack of awareness amongst non-development departments.

The report evaluates the state of play with PCD by reviewing several Community policies, namely:

  • Trade: the EU promotes the integration of developing countries in international trade, through the negotiation of economic partnership agreements, the generalised system of preferences generalised system of preferences and measures to assist trade in particular. Moreover, the Commission is improving its preference rules. At multilateral level, the EU was one of the main promoters of the Doha development agenda of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • The environment: developing countries, most of which are threatened by environmental degradation, benefit indirectly from EU policy in this field. Moreover, the EU is prepared to assist them in complying with changes to its environmental standards and supports their effective participation in multilateral agreements concerning the environment.
  • Climate change: developing countries will be affected most by climate change and therefore will benefit directly or indirectly from EU policy in this field. A global climate change alliance with developing countries, proposed by the Commission, will constitute significant progress towards integrating this issue in the political debate with developing countries and in cooperation programmes.
  • Security: the EU is strengthening the links between development and security by integrating conflict prevention in cooperation programmes, promoting transparent and fair natural resource management and supporting disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes in particular. However, progress remains to be made, for instance as regards the reinforcement of organisational mechanisms at the Commission and the Council in order to develop a link between security and development policies.
  • Agriculture: the European Community has come a long way in making the Common Agricultural Policy more development-friendly. Since 2003, trade-distorting measures such as domestic and export subsidies have been significantly reduced and the EU has proposed to adopt the same approach in negotiations with the WTO. In addition, it supports agricultural and rural development in developing countries, in Africa in particular.
  • Fisheries: following the reform of the EU fisheries policy, partnership agreements in this sector have become more coherent with development goals. Among the important issues in this sector, the report underlines the development of fisheries activities in developing countries through efficient use of financial contributions received under the agreements.
  • The social dimension of globalisation, employment and decent work: the promotion of these values is part of Europe’s social agenda and of the consensus on development. At the international level, the EU supports actions concerning the social dimension of globalisation and decent work. This is accompanied, at regional and national level, by increasing integration of employment and social issues in the dialogue, cooperation programmes and trade relations with developing countries.
  • Migration: on the basis of the progress in establishing a political framework and initiating a political dialogue with developing countries at the regional and country level, the EU must currently concentrate on elaborating concrete measures.
  • Research: developing countries benefit from research projects funded by the EU in areas of global interest. Moreover, the EU contributes directly to the building of their capacities through specific international development projects. Nevertheless, progress is needed to promote participation of these countries in theResearch Framework Programme, which is hampered by insufficient human and institutional resources in this field.
  • The information society: in order to promote information and communication technologies in developing countries, the EU must support political dialogue and capacity building, following an approach based on private investment in this infrastructure and government action aimed at creating a favourable regulatory environment. This should be accompanied by more generalised access to research and education networks.
  • Transport: EU action in developing countries consists in setting international standards and in cooperation in international projects, and in policy aimed at developing environmental, social and security standards applicable to modes of transport entering EU territory and to its own fleets. Moreover, the EU is aiming at promoting sustainable transport in these countries directly.
  • Energy: the EU has adopted several measures in favour of developing countries, such as the EU Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development (EUEI), the EU-Africa infrastructure partnership and the EU-Africa energy partnership. In addition, these countries will benefit from the efforts of the new EU energy policy in terms of energy supply diversification and the development of renewable energy sources.

Associated Acts

Council conclusions on policy coherence for development (PCD). General Affairs and External Relations Council – 20 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Council conclusions on coherence between EU migration and development policies. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 20 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Council conclusions on security and development. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 19 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan

Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan

Topics

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

Development > General development framework

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): twelve-point action plan

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 21 April 2010 – A twelve-point EU action plan in support of the Millennium Development Goals [COM(2010)0159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union (EU) has undertaken to help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The developing countries have not made equal progress; some areas and regions are significantly behind. For example, improvements have been made in reducing extreme poverty, and in the areas of universal primary education and access to water. But 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty (51% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa) and one sixth of the world’s population is undernourished. There has been little progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, or with regard to access to sanitation.

Achieving the commitments of official development assistance

The EU has committed itself to increasing its official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015. This commitment should be respected, despite the difficulties associated with the economic and financial crisis. The Commission therefore proposes to:

  • establish annual action plans to optimise the implementation of ODA;
  • strengthen the EU accountability mechanism, based on an assessment of ODA;
  • enact national legislation for setting ODA targets.

In addition, the Commission calls on other international donors to increase their contribution in line with EU ODA.

Improving the effectiveness of aid

The EU should strengthen the effectiveness of development aid and the coordination of the various actors involved. From this perspective, the Commission proposes in particular to:

  • progressively use a joint programming framework and a single programming cycle for the EU and its Member States by 2013;
  • introduce an Operational Framework for aid effectiveness, division of labour, transparency of funding, mutual accountability of the EU and developing countries;
  • encourage other donors to follow the principles of aid effectiveness.

Action plan to accelerate progress towards the MDGs

To accelerate progress towards the MDGs, the Commission proposes to:

  • target as a priority the countries and populations which are furthest behind, including countries in situations of fragility and least developed countries (LDCs);
  • target the MDGs which are furthest behind and improve the impact of European sectoral policies, particularly in the key sectors of health, education, food security and gender equality;
  • foster ownership of MDGs by partner countries, particularly by integrating these goals into their own development strategies and by improving the quality of statistical data;
  • adopt a Work Programme on Policy Coherence for Development concerning all European policies which are likely to affect partner countries. This applies particularly in the key areas of trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration and security;
  • promote the mobilisation of domestic resources, in particular through better national and international tax governance and the strengthening of partner countries’ tax systems;
  • promote regional integration and trade, which stimulate growth and jobs;
  • identify and promote innovative sources of funding, including via public-private partnerships, with a view to ensuring stable incomes for sustainable development, including in the poorest and most vulnerable countries;
  • support climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in partner countries, particularly by promoting cooperation, research and access to green technologies;
  • create long-term security conditions, given that most of the countries behind in achieving the MDGs are in a fragile situation as a result of armed conflicts;
  • give a new impulse to the process of reform of the international governance architecture, in order to improve the effectiveness and legitimacy of the process through better inclusion of the poorest countries, whose interests are often marginalised.

These objectives are to be implemented by the Council and EU countries. The Commission will monitor the action plan and its funding.

Migration and development: some concrete orientations

Migration and development: some concrete orientations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Migration and development: some concrete orientations

Topics

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

Development > Sectoral development policies

Migration and development: some concrete orientations

in the Member States as actors of home country development, encourage circular migration and return* to the country of origin and, lastly, mitigate the adverse effects of brain drain.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 September 2005 -Migration and Development: some concrete orientations [COM(2005) 390 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The Commission has put forward some new initiatives to improve the impact of migration on development. It has developed a package of practical measures based on various themes, namely:

  • remittances;
  • enhancing the role of diasporas in the Member States;
  • encouraging circular migration * and facilitating return to the country of origin;
  • mitigating the adverse effects of brain drain.

Remittances (Annexes 2 and 3)

The Commission plans to make remittances easier. They are to be treated as private transfers. However, remittances cannot be regarded as a substitute for Official Development Assistance.

With a view to facilitating remittances, the Commission advocates:

  • encouraging partnerships between micro-finance institutions and mainstream financial institutions;
  • providing funding to joint projects by diaspora organisations and local organisations so as to support local development.

With a view to promoting cheap, fast and secure ways of sending remittances, the Commission envisages:

  • improving data collection to better understand the size of migrant remittance flows. The Commission intends to launch studies in various fields (households, the remittance industry, cost structures, etc.);
  • improving transparency of remittances. The Commission is planning to adopt a proposal for a Directive on payment services with a view to requiring payment service providers to make charges more transparent for customers. With the aim of stimulating competition in the field, the Directive will oblige Member States to establish a register of authorised payment institutions (including money transfer operators);
  • creating a harmonised legal framework. By adopting the Directive on payment services, the Commission intends to establish a level playing field with harmonised licensing provisions throughout the European Union;
  • facilitating the introduction of new technology. To that end, the Commission proposes making financial support available to pilot projects;
  • improving access to financial markets.

Enhancing the role of diasporas in the Member States (Annex 4)

The Commission wishes to promote participation of diasporas in the development of their home countries by:

  • helping countries to map their diasporas. To that end, the Commission could support the setting-up of databases where members of diasporas interested in contributing to home countries’ development can register on a voluntary basis and invite Member States to engage with diaspora organisations which could be representative interlocutors in development policy;
  • encouraging youth exchange schemes focused in particular on migrant communities;
  • promoting integration and citizenship. To that end, the Commission has presented the guidelines set out in its Communication of 1 September 2005 concerning a framework for the integration of third-country nationals into the European Union.

Encouraging circular migration and facilitating return to the country of origin (Annex 5)

The Commission wishes to foster the transfer of skills to the developing world. To achieve this end, it plans to:

  • encourage circular migration by giving priority for further temporary employment to workers who have already worked under such schemes and have returned at the end of their contract;
  • facilitate return migration with a view to ensuring the successful reintegration of migrants. It calls on the Member States to share their experience in managing short-term return programmes and proposes measures such as the transferability of pension rights or recognition of qualifications;
  • build upon temporary or virtual return programmes *, i.e. by setting up e-learning schemes, facilitating networking between foreign researchers working in the EU, supporting projects by migrants to set up sustainable economic activities in their countries of origin and identifying best practice in areas such as secondments or sabbatical leave.

Mitigating the adverse effects of brain drain in developing countries (Annex 6)

Brain drain has negative consequences for developing regions. To counter its effects, the Commission has proposed:

  • setting up databases for developing countries wishing to improve their knowledge of the labour market;
  • disciplining recruitment. It encourages the Member States to develop mechanisms such as codes of conduct to limit recruitment which could generate a brain drain;
  • fostering institutional partnerships (research institutes, universities, hospitals, etc.) between the European Union and developing countries.

Follow-up to the Communication (Annex 7)

Some of the practical measures envisaged by the Commission are ready to be implemented. Others will require further discussion and analysis.

However, the Commission emphasises the need for a dialogue:

  • between the Commission and the Member States. This must be a multi-disciplinary dialogue focusing on all the fields mentioned in the Communication. It should focus in particular on the coordination of national policies with Community policies;
  • between the European Union and developing third countries;
  • between the Commission and the relevant international organisations;
  • with other stakeholders (NGOs, social partners and civil society, with a special focus on diasporas).

Background

Migration and development offer significant potential for furthering development goals.
This text follows up a Communication dated 3 December 2002 clarifying the links between migration and development. It builds on the Communication by suggesting a number of key initiatives and promoting cohesion between the two policy areas.

Key terms used in the act
  • Diaspora: a migrant community which comprises persons with the nationality of the country of origin and persons who have acquired the nationality of the host Member State.
  • Return: comprises forced repatriation from the host Member State and voluntary return to the country of origin; however, this text focuses on voluntary return.
  • Circular migration: any arrangements which make it easier for migrants or former migrants to circulate, or travel back and forth, between the country of origin and the (former) country of residence.
  • Virtual return: any system whereby a migrant’s country of origin can benefit from his skills or know-how without him returning to the country in person (i.e. essentially by virtue of information and communication technologies).

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council – Contribution to the EU Position for the United Nations’ High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development [COM(2006) 409 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication is the Commission’s contribution to the United Nations’ High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, which took place on 14-15 September 2006. It sets out current EU policy in the different areas discussed and puts forward certain suggestions as regards the provisions proposed in the light of the Report presented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 6 June. Among the issues discussed, the Commission reiterates the EU belief that managing migration is a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit and destination, and that the EU has developed comprehensive policy approaches to the integration of migrants, since effective integration policies are key to ensuring that migration works to the benefit of both host countries and the migrants themselves. As regards the follow-up to the High Level Dialogue, the Commission welcomes the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a Permanent Forum to share experiences; it believes that this Forum should take the form of an informal, voluntary and non-binding process. It also believes that the proposed forum would have greater added value if it were to concentrate its work as a matter of priority on those issues where there is a potential to achieve concrete progress for the development of countries of origin, based on the actual experiences of participating States and organisations.