Tag Archives: NB

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

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Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

2010 Report on industrial relations in Europe

10 questions for debate

10 questions for debate

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 10 questions for debate

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Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

10 questions for debate

In the Second Report on Economic and Social Cohesion, published at the end of January 2001, the European Commission:

  • appraises economic and social cohesion across the European Union during the period 1995-96;
  • assesses the future of cohesion policy and describes the outlook in the light of the substantial changes brought about by the globalisation of the economy and the challenges deriving from enlargement.

In order to launch a genuine debate on the future regional policy of the European Union, the Commission is also asking ten fundamental questions. It is calling on all the stakeholders (Member States, local authorities, local players, experts and European organisations) to turn their attention to this issue and to participate in the specific seminars to be held during the first half of 2002. These ten questions are as follows:

  1. What will be the role of cohesion policy in an enlarged Union of nearly thirty Member States in a context of rapid economic and social change? How is it possible to further economic convergence and preserve the European model of society?
  2. How should Community policies be made more coherent? How should the contribution of other Community policies to the pursuit of cohesion be improved?
  3. How should cohesion policy be modified in preparation for an unprecedented expansion of the Union? Should cohesion policy also address territorial cohesion in order to take better account of the major spatial imbalances in the Union?
  4. How can cohesion policy be focussed on measures which have a high Community added value ?
  5. What should be the priorities to bring about balanced and sustainable territorial development in the Union?
  6. How should the economic convergence of regions which are lagging behind be encouraged?
  7. What kind of Community intervention is required for other regions?
  8. What methods should be used to determine the division of funds between Member States and between regions?
  9. What principles should govern the implementation of Community intervention?
  10. What should be the response to increased needs with regard to the economic, social and territorial dimensions of cohesion?

2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy

2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy

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Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy

The Commission presents its annual strategy for supporting reforms in the candidate and potential candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU). It presents the political and financial priorities of the enlargement process for the current year.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 November 2010 – Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011 [COM(2010) 660 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The enlargement process has taken a new direction following the international economic crisis and the European Union’s (EU) new objectives for sustainable growth. This Communication also highlights the good progress made by the Western Balkan countries, even though the rate of reform needs to be faster.

Situation of the candidate countries

Turkey continued its process of political and constitutional reforms in order to improve the State’s democratic functioning and the judiciary, and to extend the scope of fundamental rights and respect for individual freedoms. However, effort is still required, in particular with regard to public procurement, competition policy and social policy. The country must also make progress towards normalisation of its relations with Greece and Armenia.

Croatia has made progress towards meeting the criteria for membership and harmonising its legislation with the EU’s acquis. Additional reforms must be made to ensure good management and monitoring of European funding. The same is true for the areas of justice, fundamental rights and competition policy, and for the country’s participation in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must implement reforms concerning the democratic system, public administration and the judiciary. In particular, the country must improve the fight against corruption, freedom of expression and the business environment. Relations between the country and Greece must also be normalised.

Accession negotiations were opened with Iceland in July 2010. The country can now benefit from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) to support its reforms. The country must make progress towards ensuring the transparency of its political system, the independence of its judiciary, and the stability of its public finances and financial system.

Situation of the potential candidate countries

The Commission recommended that the Council grant candidate country status to Montenegro and open accession negotiations once the country has made sufficient progress towards meeting the criteria for membership. In addition, the Commission encourages Albania to continue its efforts with a view to opening negotiations.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress towards meeting the criteria for membership, in particular with regard to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), democratic principles and the right to equal treatment without discrimination.

Serbia continued its programme of political reforms with positive results concerning the fight against organised crime and corruption. In addition, the country has made progress in implementing the Interim Agreement on trade and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). It is essential that the country should also continue its efforts towards reconciliation and regional cooperation, and its active participation in the ICTY.

The pace of political reform in Kosovo has increased, specifically concerning the decentralisation process. However, efforts are still required to fight corruption, organised crime and money-laundering. In addition, dialogue and reconciliation between communities, protection of minorities, and regional dialogue and cooperation need to be improved.

Priorities of the 2010-2011 Strategy

The enlargement process must continue on the basis of new priorities, in order to:

  • overcome the economic crisis, specifically by carrying out structural reforms and introducing strict budget policies. In certain cases, the EU provides budget support and macro-financial assistance to countries involved in the enlargement process;
  • increase social inclusion, by improving conditions for vulnerable groups (the Roma population in particular), and by adopting ambitious targets for employment, poverty reduction and education;
  • reform the State and public administration, by focusing the reforms on the functioning of the institutional framework and the judiciary, and fighting organised crime and corruption;
  • guarantee freedom of expression and the independence of the media;
  • make progress towards reconciliation and regional cooperation, particularly in the Western Balkan countries.

2007 Annual Statement on the Euro Area

2007 Annual Statement on the Euro Area

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2007 Annual Statement on the Euro Area

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Economic and monetary affairs > Institutional and economic framework of the euro

2007 Annual Statement on the Euro Area

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions
and the European Central Bank of 3 May 2007: Annual Statement on the Euro Area 2007 [COM(2007) 231 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In this Communication, the European Commission presents its views on how euro-area countries can face up to their shared responsibilities and challenges. The document, which is accompanied by the annual report on the euro area [PDF], is designed to inform the debate on the euro-area’s economic performance and the functioning of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

A tangible symbol of European construction: the euro

Economic integration is central to the success of the European construction, as the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in 2007, in the Berlin declaration: “The common market and the euro make us strong”. The single currency is indeed a tangible symbol of the European construction. Spurred on by the successful introduction of the euro in Slovenia on 1 January 2007, other Member States are stepping up their preparations to enter the euro area once they meet the convergence criteria. On 16 May 2007 the Commission confirmed that Cyprus and Malta meet the criteria and can therefore introduce the euro on 1 January 2008, subject to the Council of Ministers adopting a decision to that effect.

The European Council stresses the need for prudent fiscal policies

As part of the Lisbon Strategy, the 2007 Spring European Council adopted a number of specific recommendations for the euro area, emphasising the need for prudent fiscal policies and improvements in the quality of public finances and calling for greater adaptability in the markets for goods and services. The Heads of State and Government are also calling for better alignment of wage and productivity developments and an accelerated pace of financial-market integration.

Creating a solid base for economic recovery

The euro area grew by 2.7 % in 2006, its fastest growth rate since 2000. Employment growth was around 1.5 % in 2006, meaning that close to two million new jobs were created. In December 2006 the unemployment rate was 7.5 %, its lowest level in 15 years. Inflation was around 2 % last year, but it came down towards the end of the year as energy prices eased. The European Commission sees the prospects for economic growth in the euro area as being more favourable in 2007 than they have been for many years.

Although there are signs of greater resilience to global disturbances, the Commission points out that unforeseen events on the geo-political stage or exchange-rate tensions are among the factors which could lead to lower-than-expected growth.

If the euro area’s economic recovery is to continue, macroeconomic policy must be given a sound footing. In this context the Commission calls on the Member States to take advantage of the economic upswing to complete the consolidation of their budgetary situation by the end of the decade. Such fiscal consolidation would also enhance the overall macroeconomic policy mix, and securing sound public finances would help the euro-area members to address the economic implications of their ageing populations.

The Commission recognises that euro-area members have made an effort to correct their excessive budget deficits. In January 2007 the Council closed the excessive-deficit procedure against France, and on 16 May 2007 it recommended to the Council that the current excessive-deficit procedures against Germany and Greece should be terminated. The same applies to Malta, which is seeking to introduce the euro on 1 January 2008. However, the Commission points out that the Member States, especially those in the process of correcting their excessive deficits, must press ahead with budgetary consolidation to meet their medium-term budgetary objectives.

The euro-area countries must sow the seeds of further structural reform, stresses the Commission. The Lisbon economic reform agenda is critical for boosting growth and jobs in the 27 Member States but has an added dimension for the euro area. Economic reforms will reduce inflationary bottlenecks in the euro area and help to sustain economic recovery. In addition, well-functioning product, labour and capital markets are essential for dealing with economic shocks. However, the slow adjustment of some euro-area members to country-specific shocks shows that the economic reforms need to go further.

Adapting the single market to the 21st century and delivering greater benefits for citizens

All the Member States must ensure that the internal market is equipped to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. A dynamic internal market could encourage a closer alignment of national economic cycles and speed up the adjustment of prices and wages to economic shocks. When the Single European Act entered into force 20 years ago, a fairly homogenous European economy was strongly reliant on the mass manufacture of standardised products. In today’s world of globalisation, new technologies and EU enlargement, the economy has a greater degree of product differentiation and is more and more reliant on the knowledge-based and service sectors.

In its Communication “A single market for citizens” [COM(2007) 60 final], the Commission recommends that the single market should be adapted to new realities. It stresses the need to deliver even more tangible benefits for European citizens, entrepreneurs, workers and consumers. To achieve this, the single market must do more than take measures to overcome cross-border legal obstacles for businesses. The Commission will present a complete assessment of the single market with concrete proposals for action towards the end of 2007.

A more prominent role on the international stage in today’s globalised world

The euro area is part of an increasingly interdependent global economy. Over the year, the euro appreciated by around 11 % against the US dollar and around 12.5 % against the Japanese yen. However, in real terms the euro appreciated by much less (+3.5 %). The trends observed in 2006 continued in the early months of 2007.

The existence of global imbalances is a matter of concern for the world’s economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) organised multilateral consultations on global imbalances in which the euro area played an active role along with the other major economic powers. The participants agreed on the following action:

  • increased national saving in the USA with measures to reduce the budget deficit and promote private saving;
  • further structural reforms in Japan, in particular the consolidation of public finances;
  • greater exchange-rate flexibility in a number of emerging economies in Asia with surpluses (in particular China);
  • efficient absorption of higher oil revenues in oil-exporting countries;
  • implementing structural reforms to improve growth and boost domestic demand in the euro area.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Central Bank: Annual Statement on the Euro Area 2006 [COM(2006) 392 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In its 2006 annual statement, the Commission lists the main challenges facing the euro area, as follows:

  • budgetary consolidation;
  • structural reforms to increase productivity and promote growth and employment;
  • deepening the internal market to reap all the benefits of the single currency and respond rapidly to economic change.

In the external domain, the growing importance of the euro as a global currency and the challenges facing the world economy call for a more prominent role for the euro area on international economic and financial issues.