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New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective

Topics

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

Budget

New interinstitutional agreement and financial perspective (2000-2006)

The purpose of the agreement is to implement, on a multiannual basis, budgetary discipline at Community level. It seeks to improve the functioning of the annual budgetary procedure and cooperation between the institutions on budgetary matters.

Document or Iniciative

Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure.

This Agreement repeals and replaces the following measures:

Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 30 June 1982 [Official Journal C 194 of 28.07.1982];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 29 October 1993 [Official Journal C 331 of 07.12.1993];
Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 6 March 1995 [Official Journal C 102 of 04.04.1996];
Joint Declaration of 12 December 1996 [Official Journal C 20 of 20.01.1997];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 July 1997 [Official Journal C 286 of 22.09.1997];
Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 October 1998 [Official Journal C 344 of 12.11.1998].

Decision 2003/429/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 19 May on the adjustment of the financial perspective for enlargement.

Summary

Since 1988 Community expenditure and the annual budgetary procedure have been based on interinstitutional agreements on budgetary discipline and the improvement of the budgetary procedure.

These agreements, which cover several years and have been adopted jointly by Parliament, the Council and the Commission, have been traditionally divided into two types of provision:

  • the financial perspective, which sets the budgetary ceilings for the major categories of Union expenditure in order to keep expenditure within the limits of the own resources available (“budgetary discipline”);
  • arrangements between the institutions to improve the annual budgetary procedure (“functioning of the budgetary procedure”).

Under Agenda 2000, and with a view to the expiry of the financial perspective (1993-99), a new interinstitutional agreement has been adopted for the period 2000-2006. This agreement, which is the core of the Agenda 2000 financial package, should enable the Union to expand and strengthen its policies while remaining within a rigorous financial framework.

Financial perspective

The first part of the agreement consists of the financial perspective and its implementing details.

The 2000 to 2006 financial perspective establishes, for each of the years covered and for each heading and subheading, the amounts of expenditure in terms of appropriations for commitments. Overall annual totals of expenditure are also shown in terms of both appropriations for commitments and appropriations for payments.
The institutions undertake to comply with the various annual expenditure ceilings during each budgetary procedure and when implementing the budget for the year concerned.

The ceilings in the financial perspective were set initially in 1999. They were adapted for enlargement of the Union to include ten new Member States (Europe 25) in 2003.

The new perspective contains eight main headings (agriculture, structural operations, internal policies, external action, administration, reserves, pre-accession strategy, compensations), divided in some cases into subheadings. Ceilings are expressed in 1999 prices.

Agriculture and structural operations (headings 1 and 2) account for the bulk of expenditure under the financial perspective.
The reform of the common agricultural policy under Agenda 2000 will require an initial increase in agricultural expenditure (from EUR 40.92 billion in 2000 to EUR 45.8 billion in 2006), following the adaptation of the financial perspective for Europe 25, which has raised the amounts for this heading provided for in 1999. Approximately one tenth of the agricultural expenditure will be used for rural development.
Enlargement also has a highly visible impact on expenditure for structural operations, which the 2003 decision raises from the initial 1999 amounts to EUR 37.94 billion in 2006.
Given the importance of some of the Union’s internal policies (trans-European networks, research and innovation, education and training, measures in support of small and medium-sized enterprises) heading 3 of the financial perspective will have its financial allocation increased from EUR 5.93 billion in 2000 to EUR 8.21 billion in 2006.
The same applies to external action (from EUR 4.55 billion to EUR 4.61 billion) and administrative expenditure (from EUR 4.56 billion to EUR 5.71 billion).
With regard to the reserves, the monetary reserve was abolished in 2003, as provided in 2006. The emergency aid reserve and the loan guarantee reserve will remain at a steady level (EUR 200 billion in both cases) throughout the period 2000-2006.
The seventh heading, “Pre-accession strategy“, is allocated EUR 3.12 billion per year.

Heading 8, “Compensations”, covers transitional budgetary compensations for the ten new Member States decided on at the Copenhagen European Council on 12 and 13 December 2002.

The table below traces the development of the headings of the financial perspective for 2004-2006 following adaptation to Europe 25, in million euros at 1999 prices.

2004 2005 2006
1) Agriculture 42760 – 44657 41930 – 45677 41660 – 45807
2) Structural operations 29595 – 35665 29595 – 36502 29170 – 37940
3) Internal policies 6370 – 7877 6480 – 8098 6600 – 8212
4) External action 4590 4600 4610
5 Administration 4900 – 5403 5000 – 5558 5100 – 5712
6) Reserves 400 400 400
7) Pre-accession strategy 3120 3120 3120
8) Compensations 0 – 1273 0 – 1173 0 – 940

This adaptation of the financial perspective also includes the figures emerging from the technical adjustment for 2004 to trends in gross national income (GNI) and prices. The following are the figures at 2004 prices:

2004 2005 2006
1) Agriculture 49305 50431 50575
2) Structural operations 41035 41685 42932
3) Internal policies 8722 8967 9093
4) External action 5082 5093 5104
5 Administration 5983 6154 6325
6) Reserves 442 442 442
7) Pre-accession strategy 3455 3455 3455
8) Compensations 1410 1299 1041

In accordance with the recommendations made in the Commission report, the interinstitutional agreement also provides for various mechanisms enabling the financial perspective to be adjusted along the way, thereby increasing its flexibility.

As before, the agreement, in addition to the annual technical adjustment to movements in prices and GNI, makes provisions for a revision of the ceilings in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
These revisions will be adopted by joint decision of the Council (acting on a qualified majority in the case of revisions of less than 0.03% of Community GNP and unanimously in other cases) and Parliament (acting by a majority of its members and 3/5 of the votes) on a proposal from the Commission.

Revision may take the form of a reallocation of appropriations between different headings or subheadings of the financial perspective. Amounts available under headings 1 to 6 cannot at any time be used for heading 7 (pre-accession strategy) of the financial perspective. Expenditure provided for the Union of Fifteen and that for enlargement are thus kept rigorously separate.
The interinstitutional agreement specifies that any revision of the compulsory expenditure may not lead to a reduction of the amount available for non-compulsory expenditure.

The three reserves appearing in heading 6 of the financial perspective make for flexibility in the management of the Union’s finances. They are the monetary reserve (to cover the impact of unforeseen movements in the euro/dollar parity on agricultural expenditure, abolished in 2003), the loan guarantee reserve for non-member countries (to provision the Guarantee Fund) and the emergency aid reserve (to meet specific and unforeseen aid requirements of non-member countries).

In addition, a general flexibility instrument with an annual ceiling of EUR 200 million is intended to cover specific expenditure which cannot be financed within the limits of the ceilings set. The unused part of the instrument may be carried over to the following two years’ budgets. A decision to use this instrument is taken during the budgetary procedure by joint agreement between Parliament and the Council, on a proposal from the Commission. It must as a rule avoid being used to cover the same needs two years running. This instrument was drawn on fully in December 1999 in respect of the 2000 budget in order to finance the reconstruction of Kosovo following an examination of all the possibilities for reallocating appropriations (Parliament and Council Decision of 16 December 1999, to reallocate appropriations in order to finance the reconstruction of Kosovo, Official Journal C 41 of 14.02.2000).

The Interinstitutional Agreement provides for two types of procedure to meet requirements which exceed the ceiling of a heading in the financial perspective: the flexibility instrument and revision of the financial perspective. The order in which the various financing sources are to be mobilised is as follows:

(1) reallocate appropriations within the heading in question;

(2) if that is not enough, mobilise all or part of the flexibility instrument subject to the conditions governing its use;

(3) if that is not enough or if the criteria for using the flexibility instrument are not met, revise the financial perspective, raising the ceiling of the heading in question and offsetting this by lowering the ceiling of another heading;

(4) if that cannot be done, increase the ceiling of the heading in question with no offsetting compensation, provided the overall own resources ceiling is not exceeded.

Improvement of the budgetary procedure

The second part of the agreement lays down the rules designed to improve the functioning of the annual budgetary procedure.
These rules relate to interinstitutional cooperation in general and to more specific problems (classification of expenditure, the matter of legal bases, incorporation of financial provisions in legislative acts, etc.) which had not been resolved by the 1993 agreement or which were dealt with under other arrangements (agreements or joint declarations) agreed between the institutions.

The agreement strengthens interinstitutional collaboration.
Trialogue meetings (between the President of the Council (Budget), the Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and the Member of the Commission with responsibility for the budget), generally followed by conciliation between the Council and a delegation from Parliament with the Commission as a participant, are planned in accordance with the following schedule:

  • before the establishment of the preliminary draft budget by the Commission;
  • before the establishment of the draft budget by the Council;
  • before the first reading by Parliament;
  • after the first reading by Parliament;
  • the day preceding the second reading in the Council.

The conciliation procedure, which has to date been limited to non-compulsory expenditure, is extended to include all expenditure and the classification of expenditure as compulsory or non-compulsory expenditure.
This is facilitated by the inclusion in the Agreement of a definition of “compulsory expenditure” and a list classifying each heading or subheading of the financial perspective.

With regard to the incorporation of financial provisions in legislative acts, the agreement makes a distinction between acts concerning multiannual programmes adopted under the co-decision procedure and other legislative acts.
Only the first category of acts can contain financial provisions (financial allocation to the programme for its entire duration) which are binding on the institutions during the budgetary procedure.
If financial provisions are incorporated in other kinds of acts, they serve only as an illustration.

The agreement also clarifies to what extent the utilisation of appropriations entered in the budget require the prior adoption of a basic act. Only four categories of appropriations are exempt from the general requirement of a legal basis:

  • appropriations for pilot schemes of an experimental nature: these appropriations may be entered in the budget for no more than two financial years and may not exceed EUR 32 million.
  • appropriations relating to preparatory acts intended to prepare legislative proposals: these proposals may not be entered for more than three years and may not exceed EUR 30 million per year and EUR 75 million in all;
  • appropriations concerning actions carried out by the Commission by virtue of tasks resulting from its prerogatives at institutional level or specific powers conferred upon it by the EC Treaty (studies and opinions relating to social policy, initiatives to boost coordination with regard to trans-European networks, etc.);
  • appropriations intended for the operation of each institution under its administrative autonomy.

The Interinstitutional Agreement also contains provisions making it possible to distribute expenditure relating to fisheries agreements between the budget headings concerned and the reserve on the basis of the date of entry into force of the agreements during the budgetary procedure. All expenditure relating to new or renewable agreements which enter into force after 1 January of the year in question is placed in the reserve until the time comes to transfer it to the corresponding budget heading.

With regard to the operational expenditure of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), the institutions will endeavour to secure each year, by means of the conciliation procedure, agreement on the amount to be charged to the Community budget and on the distribution of this amount between the articles of the CFSP budget chapter (observation and organisation of elections, prevention of conflicts, financial aid to the enlargement process, urgent actions, etc.). The amount allocated to urgent actions may not exceed 20% of the overall amount of the CFSP budget chapter.
Whenever it adopts a decision in the field of CFSP entailing expenditure, the Council will immediately send the European Parliament an estimate of the costs envisaged.
The Commission will inform the budgetary authority about the implementation of CFSP actions and the financial forecasts for the remaining period of the year.

Several declarations are attached to the agreement.
The following should be mentioned, among others, the Declaration on the agricultural guideline (which confirms the principles and mechanisms) and the Declaration on the Balkan situation (which points to a possible revision of the financial perspective in order to cover additional expenditure).

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 01.01.2000 OJ C 172 of 18.06.1999
Decision 2003/429/EC 19.05.2003 OJ L 147 of 14.06.2003

Related Acts

of 10 February 2004, Building our common Future – Policy challenges and Budgetary means of the Enlarged Union, 2007-2013 [COM(2004) 101 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Topics

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

Public health > Threats to health

Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 1998 setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community [see amending acts].

Summary

The network for epidemiological surveillance and control concerns the following communicable diseases:

  • diseases preventable by vaccination;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • viral hepatitis;
  • food-borne diseases;
  • water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin;
  • nosocomial infections;
  • other diseases transmitted by non-conventional agents;
  • communicable diseases which may lead to emergencies of international concern, as described in Annex 2 of the International Health Regulations;
  • vector-borne diseases;
  • zoonotic diseases;
  • other communicable diseases of public health importance, including deliberately released diseases.

Role of the network

This network * is to be used for:

  • the epidemiological surveillance * of communicable diseases. The epidemiological surveillance network is to be formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the European Commission and those structures that, at the level of each Member State, are responsible for collecting information on epidemiological surveillance and coordinating control measures. These structures are to be designated by the Member States within six months of the entry into force of this Decision;
  • setting up an early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases *, the network being formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the Commission and the health authorities of each Member State responsible for determining measures that may be necessary for protecting public health.

The Commission will coordinate the network in cooperation with the Member States. It will be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

Measures to be taken

The European Commission determines certain elements which aim at ensuring the effective operation of the network with regard to epidemiological surveillance and to achieving uniform information. These include:

  • the communicable diseases that are to be covered by the Community network and the selection criteria for these diseases;
  • the case definitions, particularly the clinical and microbiological characteristics of the agent responsible;
  • the nature and type of the data and information to be collected and passed on by the national structures;
  • the epidemiological and microbiological surveillance methods;
  • the guidelines on the protective measures to be taken, particularly at external borders, and above all in emergency situations;
  • information guidelines and good practice guides;
  • the technical means and the procedures by which the data will be disseminated and analysed.

Information to be passed on by the national structures

Each national structure and/or authority must communicate to the network and to the Commission:

  • the information and control measures relating to communicable diseases covered by the Decision;
  • any useful information concerning the progression of an epidemic situation or epidemics that are unusual or of unknown origin in the Member State concerned;
  • any information for evaluation that will aid cooperation between Member States for the purpose of preventing and controlling communicable diseases.

Coordination of activities

Using the network, Members States must:

  • consult each other, in conjunction with the Commission, for the purpose of coordinating their activity to prevent and control communicable diseases;
  • notify the other Member States and the Commission in advance when considering the adoption of control measures for communicable diseases;
  • notify the other Member States and the Commission as soon as possible when urgent control measures need to be adopted to deal with emerging or resurgent communicable diseases.
Key terms of the Act
  • Network: the network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases, namely the system for the exchange of information required to carry out the surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases.
  • Epidemiological surveillance: the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of health data, including epidemiological studies, concerning the categories of communicable diseases set out in the Annex. Surveillance focuses in particular on the patterns of disease spread over time and space and analysis of the risk factors for contracting such diseases, for the purpose of enabling appropriate preventive measures and counter-measures to be taken.
  • Prevention and control of communicable diseases: the range of measures, including epidemiological investigations, taken by the competent public health authorities in the Member States to prevent and stop the spread of communicable diseases.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 2119/98/EC

3.1.1999

OJ L 268 of 3.10.1998

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

7.8.2009

OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1882/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2002/253/EC of 19 March 2002 laying down case definitions for reporting communicable diseases to the Community network under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 086 of 3.4.2002].

Commission Decision 2000/96/EC of 22 December 1999 on the communicable diseases to be progressively covered by the Community network under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 28 of 3.2.2000].

The Decision establishes a list of certain communicable diseases requiring epidemiological surveillance within the Community network. In particular it concerns:

  • diseases preventable by vaccination;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • viral hepatitis;
  • food-borne and water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin;
  • other diseases such as serious imported diseases (plague, cholera, malaria, etc.).

The list also refers to other specific health problems: nosocomial infections and anti-microbial resistance.

Commission Decision 2000/57/EC of 22 December 1999 on the early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 21 of 26.1.2000].

The Decision sets out procedures for the exchange of information between Member States and the Commission through the network established and describes the operation of the early warning and response system. The following events must be reported:

  • outbreaks of communicable diseases extending to more than one Member State;
  • spatial or temporal clustering of cases of diseases of a similar type, if pathogenic agents are a possible cause and there is a risk of propagation within the Community;
  • similar clustering outside the Community, if there is a risk of propagation to the Community;
  • appearance or resurgence of a communicable disease or infectious agent which may require coordinated Community action.

There are three activation levels: information exchange, potential threat and definite threat.

New European commitment for services of general interest

New European commitment for services of general interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New European commitment for services of general interest

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for services

New European commitment for services of general interest

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 20 November 2007, accompanying the Communication on “A single market for 21st century Europe” – Services of general interest, including social services of general interest: a new European commitment [COM(2007) 725 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission identifies the essential principles which may be applied to Services of General Interest (SGIs) (FR) throughout the whole European Union (EU). This Communication constitutes a reference framework for the governance of, and compliance with, the specificities of SGIs. This is the case before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and its Protocol on Services of General Interest.

Diversity of the Services of General Interest

SGIs are subject to public service obligations. It is for the public authorities at national, regional or local level to decide the nature and scope of the SGIs. Public authorities can provide these services themselves or they can entrust the responsibility of providing them to public or private entities.

For its part, the EU retains shared responsibility which enables it to regulate and define the conditions for the operation of SGIs with a European dimension.

The SGIs are divided into two categories and are governed by different European rules:

  • services of general economic interest (SGEIs), which are provided for remuneration, are subject to European internal market and competition rules. However, derogations to these rules may be authorised in order to ensure that the general interest is respected. Certain SGIs have a European dimension, specifically the large network industries (postal services, telecommunications, transport services and the supply of electricity and gas) and are regulated by specific European rules. In addition, European rules relating to public procurement, environmental protection and consumer protection may be applied to them;
  • non-economic services, such as police, justice and statutory social security schemes, are not subject to specific European legislation, nor to the internal market and competition rules.

In practice, the operation of these services often differs from one Member State to another. Furthermore, the distinction between economic and non-economic services requires case-by-case analysis of each activity.

Social services of general interest

The way in which Social Services of General Interest (SSGIs) are provided is generally personalised in order to meet the needs of vulnerable users, and is based on the principle of solidarity and equal access.

They may be of an economic or non-economic nature, including in the case of non-profit making organisations. The definition of economic activity depends essentially on the way in which the activity is provided, organised and financed, and not on the legal status of the service provider.

They are mainly:

  • statutory and complementary social security schemes, covering the main risks of life (health, ageing, occupational accidents, unemployment, retirement and disability);
  • other services provided directly to the person such as social assistance services, employment and training services, social housing or long-term care.

Modernising the European rules

The Commission commits to adopting a series of actions based on the Protocol on Services of General Interest annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon. These actions shall enable the European regulatory framework applicable to SGIs to be consolidated. The actions are based on the following objectives:

  • improving access to information and developing communication tools, such as the creation of an interactive information service or a single market assistance service;
  • adopting sectoral policies, specifically in the fields of energy, transport, e-communication, and postal, social and health services;
  • monitoring actions to guarantee quality, transparency and good progress.

Context

This Communication follows on from the 2004 Commission White Paper and the 2006 opinion of the Parliament which contributed to the debate and converging views on the role and approach of the EU with regard to SGIs. It also draws on the results of the public consultation on social services of general interest initiated in 2006.

Related Acts

Commission Staff Working Document – Guide to the application of the European Union rules on state aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general interest [SEC(2010) 1545final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission publishes a guide aimed at clarifying the European rules applicable to Services of General Interest and to Social Services of General Interest. The Commission specifies the rules relating to the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services in the internal market, to competition, to the Service Directive, to State aid, to public procurement and to the service concessions of public authorities.

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Next steps in radio spectrum policy

Topics

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

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

To contribute to establishment of a Community framework for radio spectrum policy which is responsive to radiocommunications developments and supports Europe’s competitive position on the global market. The fundamental objective is that this Community framework should be accessible and transparent and provide certainty for all for whom the radio spectrum is a vital resource.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 November 1999 on the next steps in radio spectrum policy – results of the public consultation on the Green Paper [COM(1999) 538 final – not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Radio appliances such as television sets, radios and mobile phones work by propagating electromagnetic waves between a transmitter and a receiver. The “radio spectrum” means all the possible frequencies which these waves could have. The “frequency” is the number of times a wave oscillates in a second, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency a specific signal can be picked up. Frequency bands define the specific location of services in the radio spectrum.

The environment for radio spectrum policy is undergoing far-reaching changes as a result of technological progress and adaptation of the market and regulations. Development of this sector has the potential to stimulate economic growth, create employment and promote general welfare. At the same time, a balance must be struck between the needs of new commercial networks and the non-economic benefits to society of non-commercial applications such as defence, public service broadcasting, emergency services and radio astronomy.

In December 1998 the Commission published a Green Paper to launch a public debate to see whether the present practice of radio spectrum policy meets the Community’s strategic objectives.

These policy objectives include:

  • to facilitate technological innovation and competition in radiocommunications, mobile telephony and wireless local networks;
  • to pursue Community objectives with regard to the radio spectrum within a predictable and legally certain regulatory framework;
  • to ensure an appropriate balancing of the interests of the individual Member States, of the European Community and of the different user communities; and
  • to safeguard the Community’s interests in the international negotiations on the radio spectrum.

THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION OF THE GREEN PAPER

Following the publication of the Green Paper on radio spectrum policy, the Commission sought the views of the public at large on a large number of complex issues. Contributions were received from the communications sector, broadcasters, businesses, researchers and the authorities responsible for radio spectrum management. Two hearings were held in 1999. These gave the Commission an opportunity to identify the central issues in the ongoing debate on radio spectrum policy and management.

STRATEGIC PLANNING OF THE USE OF THE RADIO SPECTRUM

General picture

Use of the radio spectrum needs to be planned strategically to allow investment and regulatory decisions to be taken. The vast majority of the communications interests and regulatory authorities supported the strategic planning process at international level under the auspices of the ITU/WRC (International Telecommunications Union and its World Radiocommunications Conference). Small firms and non-communications interests stressed how difficult it was for them to gain access to the planning process.

Often the spectrum is used for services in the general interest. Policy decisions therefore have to be taken, even if they do not fall strictly within the scope of radio spectrum management. The differing political, cultural and market situations in the Member States make it extremely difficult to achieve political agreement.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector called for reallocation of radio frequencies and suggested that part of the radio spectrum currently reserved for government or public uses should be transferred to the communications sector so that it could obtain additional radio spectrum for its activities.

The broadcasting sector is preparing for the changeover from analogue to digital transmission. This means more frequencies will be needed. In addition, in the longer term the sector expects that a substantial increase in frequencies will be necessary to develop new multimedia services and for special interest channels.

The transport sector considers strategic planning a long-term exercise since it takes lengthy preparations to introduce systems with long life cycles. Long-term planning would therefore require a process of negotiating international agreements in order to deploy internationally compatible transport networks and safeguard critical communications.

HARMONISATION OF RADIO SPECTRUM ALLOCATION

General picture

Harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation offers numerous advantages: economies of scale, lower costs, lower consumer prices, interoperability, etc.

The respondents were divided on the need for harmonisation. Some believed in complete harmonisation, while others were more hesitant. Ultimately, it seems that the need for harmonisation, particularly for cross-border services, should be decided case by case. The criteria to be used to decide in which circumstances harmonisation is required remain to be decided. The harmonisation process must be open, transparent and responsive to the interests of existing and potential users.

Again, the respondents mentioned the need for policy decisions laying the foundation for harmonisation and striking a fair balance between private and public interests for use of the same frequency bands.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector saw harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation as crucial for the provision of seamless pan-European services.

The broadcasting sector also considered this issue important, but less urgent than suggested by the communications sector.

The transport sector in turn considered harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation essential since transport networks were increasingly taking on pan-European or global dimensions.

RADIO SPECTRUM ASSIGNEMENT AND LICENSING

General picture

It was generally considered that allocation of radio frequencies between users should respond to local and national needs and was therefore best carried out at national level. The fact that the amount of radio spectrum available for certain services varies from one country to another could therefore be accepted. However, the differing licensing conditions and lack of single licences to provide services throughout the Community were criticised as particularly burdensome. It was agreed that assignment and licensing procedures and conditions in the Community must take due account of international commitments, particularly in the area of trade.

The national regulatory authorities were generally in favour of charging for access to the radio spectrum, which could make assignment decisions easier whenever there was a shortage of radio spectrum and encourage efficient usage thereof. However, views diverged on which assignment and licensing mechanism is best in which circumstances.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector acknowledged that radio spectrum assignment and licensing should be decided as close to the market as possible. Such harmonisation would favour development and internationalisation of the market. The sector was in favour of charging for access provided a level playing field was established to make sure that users in the same sector were subject to the same requirements.

The broadcasting sector was opposed to the introduction of charges for access. The transport sector also felt that charging was inappropriate in the case of services in the public interest.

THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR RADIO SPECTRUM COORDINATION

General picture

According to the Member States and the communications sector it was simply necessary to improve the institutional framework for radio spectrum coordination. However, some respondents said that the ITU/WRC (for spectrum management at world level), the CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations for spectrum management at regional level) and the national regulatory authorities put the interests of the communications sector first.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector suggested improving rather than replacing the current arrangements for radio spectrum management.

The broadcasting and transport sectors considered that commercial and non-commercial uses were so incompatible that a political decision was needed.

RADIO EQUIPMENT AND STANDARDS

Most respondents felt that use of the radio spectrum should be technology-neutral but that standardisation was necessary in order to provide European consumers with seamless services and uniform, interoperable equipment.

According to the manufacturers, radio spectrum harmonisation would further benefit from the liberalised regime for placing on the market and use of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment put in place by the Directive.

NEXT STEPS IN RADIO SPECTRUM POILICY

On analysis of the responses received to the questions posed in the Green Paper, the European Commission has identified the following areas where Community action is required:

  • addressing radio spectrum policy issues at Community level, by setting up an expert group to help the Commission to decide Community priorities on harmonisation of radio spectrum use;
  • establishment of a regulatory framework for Community radio spectrum policy by adopting a European Parliament and Council decision providing for the CEPT to draft technical harmonisation measures in response to Community requirements and ensuring proper implementation of these measures by the Member States;
  • ensuring the availability of information;
  • safeguarding Community interests in the ITU/WRC by building on the coordination between the Member States within the CEPT;
  • safeguarding the Community’s interests in the context of international trade;
  • improving radio spectrum management by the CEPT and the way the CEPT works.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Decision 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision) [Official Journal L 108, 24.04.2002].

The purpose of the Decision is to set up a policy framework for radio spectrum use, taking into account the economic, cultural, scientific and social aspects of Community policies, as well as considerations of security, public interest and freedom of expression. The objective is also to establish a legal framework to ensure harmonised conditions with respect to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum.

 

New rights for rail passengers

New rights for rail passengers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New rights for rail passengers

Topics

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

Transport > Rail transport

New rights for rail passengers

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations.

Summary

This Regulation aims at establishing rights and obligations for rail service users in order to improve the efficiency and appeal of rail transport for passengers.

Scope

This Regulation concerns all rail journeys and services provided under licence by one or more rail undertakings under Directive 95/18/EC.

It does not apply to transport services or rail undertakings which are not licensed.

A Member State has the option to grant an exemption from this Regulation for a maximum period of five years, which may be renewed twice. It may also exempt urban, suburban and regional rail passenger services from this Regulation.

Passengers’ rights

Rail passengers shall henceforth have new basic rights:

Transport contract, information and tickets

Passengers shall be given clear information:

  • before the journey, in particular concerning the relevant conditions applicable to the contract, timetables and the fares applied;
  • during the journey, in particular concerning any delays or interruptions to services;
  • concerning procedures for the submission of complaints.

Rail undertakings shall make the purchasing of tickets easier for rail passengers. As a general rule tickets shall be sold at least either via ticket offices or selling machines, or on board trains or via widely available information technology (internet or telephone).

Passengers and their luggage

Passengers have the right to compensation if their registered luggage is lost or damaged (up to EUR 1,285 per item of luggage).

This Regulation strengthens passengers’ rights to compensation in the case of death or injury. An advance shall:

  • be paid not later than fifteen days after the identification of the natural person entitled to compensation;
  • enable their immediate economic needs to be met;
  • be proportional to the damage suffered.

Delays and cancellations

This Regulation strengthens passengers’ rights to compensation in the case of delays or cancellations. Passengers may claim a minimum compensation equivalent to:

  • 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes;
  • 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of 120 minutes or more.

In the case of a delay in arrival or departure, passengers have the right to:

  • meals and refreshments within reasonable limits;
  • accommodation where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary;
  • transport to the departure or arrival point if the train is blocked on the track.

Non-discrimination of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility

This Regulation gives disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility the following rights:

  • disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to non-discriminatory access to transport at no additional charge when buying a ticket or making a reservation;
  • upon request, disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility shall be provided with information concerning the accessibility of rail services and trains;
  • rail undertakings and station managers shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that trains and other rail services are accessible;
  • rail undertakings and station managers shall make all reasonable efforts to provide assistance free of charge on board trains and at staffed stations; to guarantee assistance under good conditions, passengers are requested to comply with certain provisions (e.g. 48 hours’ notice before departure);
  • disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to compensation if the rail undertaking is responsible for the loss or damage of mobility equipment.

Security, complaints and quality of service

This Regulation obliges rail undertakings and stations managers to ensure passengers’ personal security in trains and stations in conjunction with the public authorities.

Rail undertakings are henceforth required to put in place a complaints handling service in order to meet the rights and obligations covered by this Regulation.

Member States must now offer passengers the option to submit a complaint to an independent body if they feel that their rights have not been respected. The minimum service quality standards include:

  • passenger information and tickets;
  • punctuality of service and general principles;
  • cancellation of services;
  • cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities;
  • customer satisfaction surveys;
  • complaint handling, refunds and compensation for non-compliance with service quality standards;
  • assistance provided to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.

Information to passengers about their rights

Rail passengers shall be informed of their rights and obligations under this Regulation when purchasing a ticket.

Context

This Regulation comes under the framework of the Common Transport Policy and contributes to the aim of protecting rail passengers’ rights.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007

3.12.2009

OJ L 315 of 3.12.2007

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2004 – Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package [COM(2004) 140 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

New EU-Latin America partnership on the eve of the 21st century

New EU-Latin America partnership on the eve of the 21st century

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New EU-Latin America partnership on the eve of the 21st century

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 > Latin america

New EU-Latin America partnership on the eve of the 21st century

Following the positive results of the cooperation strategy initiated in 1995 with Latin America, the Commission wishes to strengthen links with the region in view of shared interests and a convergent approach to world affairs. The aims of the European Union are the setting-up of a strategic partnership to strengthen the partners’ hand in negotiations, economic and trade cooperation to promote smoother integration into the world economy and increased aid for cooperation. The objective is to deal in a coordinated way with the new challenges and involve civil society in the process.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 9 March 1999 on a new European Union-Latin America partnership on the eve of the 21st century [COM(99) 105 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union’s political and economic objectives at international level must be furthered by the development of partnerships with other regions. The partnership with Latin America, initiated in Rio in 1992, is an example of this. It is based on shared values and priorities such as the pursuit of peace and security, and on the strengthening of democracy and the promotion of human rights.

The Commission emphasises that the European experience can serve as a benchmark for Latin America in areas such as participatory democracy, economic integration, culture and training “leaders” in a diverse cultural and linguistic environment. The Commission proposes a dialogue between the EU and Latin America based on the principle of multilateralism, regional integration and social cohesion.

The Commission underlines the importance of strengthening its relations with Latin America and consolidating the 1995 strategy (covering the period 1996-2000), while at the same time taking account of new challenges such as globalisation.

The three main lines of action still focus on political and strategic issues, economic and trade issues, and cooperation. The Commission welcomes the progress made by Latin America in managing domestic matters (strengthening their institutions, consolidating democracy and the rule of law) and integrating into the international economic and political world scene (liberalising their economies, opening up their markets, joining the WTO, etc.).

The new challenges

The Commission knows, however, that a sustained effort will be necessary in the face of new challenges:

  • consolidating democracy;
  • smooth integration into the world economy;
  • stepping up regional integration processes;
  • a more equitable distribution of wealth, which presupposes a stable macroeconomic climate;
  • industrial development respecting the principles of sustainable development;
  • close attention to investment in human resources.

In parallel, the Commission calls for joint efforts to be made to parry the adverse effects of globalisation, a phenomenon that both the EU and Latin America are having to deal with. It is crucial to avoid the aggravation or the creation of disparities between haves and have-nots. Managing this phenomenon entails strengthening the domestic policies of developing countries, refocusing international aid on the countries that need it most, pursuing gradual economic liberalisation and strengthening the international financial system by equipping it with its own supervisory and regulatory machinery.

New impetus for the partnership

EU-Latin America relations have developed through three phases. The initial priority for development aid was followed by the opening-up of economic partnership, culminating in the present phase, which is governed by a regional approach and relations based on respect for democracy and human rights. The Commission proposes to strengthen its Latin America strategy based on a dialogue covering three essential issues: the establishment of a strategic alliance, sustainable development and a dialogue involving civil society.

The aim of the strategic partnership is to strengthen the partners’ hand in negotiations on the international stage, based on a shared vision of the world. The EU and Latin America share a desire for an international system founded on the principles of multilateralism and governed by universally recognised rules and multilateral surveillance systems. It is therefore in the interest of both parties to work together.

The priority areas are:

  • organisation: reform of the United Nations system, establishment of machinery for preventing and resolving conflicts, etc.;
  • law-making and enforcement: non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, migration, illegal trafficking, etc.;
  • promotion of shared values: human rights, democratisation, sustainable development, financial stability and social justice.

To achieve this strategic partnership, dialogue must be stepped up on three levels: Latin America as a whole, regional groupings and civil society. At the level of Latin America as a whole, major horizontal issues of common interest could be discussed, and special sectoral, thematic or technical meetings organised. The Commission considers, however, that it is the regional groupings that must remain the EU’s key political partners. This policy fosters the establishment of political ties and concertation mechanisms, thereby helping increase the representativeness of these groupings abroad. It also increases flexibility and enables aid to be better geared to the circumstances of each. Civil society should play an active part in the process to make political cooperation more democratic and less bureaucratic.

The objective of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is to promote the smooth integration of both parties’ economies into the world economy by developing systems of production that comply with environmental and social protection rules. To achieve this, cooperation must be stepped up on a series of issues:

  • the development of markets and regional integration to foster solvent domestic demand;
  • the stabilisation of financial flows;
  • incentives for sustainable development, for which increased stability, transparency and predictability are crucial;
  • boosting trade through the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which applies to all the countries in the region except for Mexico and Mercosur/Chile, which have their own framework for relations.

Financial cooperation must also be strengthened. The EU is the main source of development assistance to Latin America, most of it in the form of grants. The key is to guarantee the quality of the measures financed and ensure irreproachable management. Impact must be maximised by targeting assistance better, concluding a clear and comprehensive legal framework for action, ensuring close coordination between donors and giving increased attention to evaluation. As for the sectors of intervention, cooperation must be focused primarily on flanking measures and schemes complementing the policies pursued, which will focus on a limited number of sectors to ensure consistency.

The Commission’s key cooperation issues will be:

  • promoting human rights;
  • institutional support and the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law;
  • the fight against poverty and social exclusion;
  • education and training;
  • support for regional integration and economic and industrial cooperation;
  • decentralised cooperation in the field of culture and the promotion of common values.

The EU and the countries of Latin America

The EU’s relations with Latin America as a whole comprise two components: the political dialogue with the Rio Group (which has led to substantial progress in the adoption of common positions) and cooperation focusing on the guidelines of the 1995 strategy, which has proved positive. The EU is also Latin America’s main source of development assistance, providing over 60 % of all assistance to the region (approximately 2.2 billion), and the region’s second largest trade and investment partner.

With Central America, cooperation is based on the 1993 framework agreement, which remains valid until the ratification and entry into force of the new political dialogue and cooperation agreement signed in December 2003. The renewal of the San José political dialogue in 1996 and the Florence Declaration of the same year contributed to giving new impetus to the EU’s involvement in the region’s development. Emphasis is placed on consolidating the rule of law, modernising government, social policies, trade development and regional integration.

With the Andean Community, the EU instituted a framework for political dialogue in 1996, known as the Rome Declaration, which provides for meetings at presidential and ministerial level. In December 2003, the dialogue resulted in the signing of a political dialogue and cooperation agreement which will replace the 1996 Declaration once it is ratified. Combating drug production and trafficking is one of the main issues in the region and is the subject of a high-level dialogue between the EU and the Andean Community. The Andean countries are beneficiaries of the GSP in their trade relations with the EU.

The EU’s relations with Chile are based on the 1996 framework agreement for cooperation, which replaced the 1990 agreement. In November 2002, an association agreement was signed and some provisions (trade, institutional framework, etc.) have been in force on a transitional basis since February 2003.

In the case of Mercosur, the basic instrument is the interregional EU-Mercosur framework cooperation agreement signed in December 1995, which entered into force on 1 July 1999. It aims at enhancing political dialogue, progressively establishing a free-trade area and deepening cooperation.

With Mexico, an economic partnership, political coordination and cooperation agreement (global agreement) was signed in 1997 and entered into force on 1 October 2000. There is also an interim agreement on trade. With these agreements, the EU and Mexico have embarked on an enhanced political dialogue, the liberalisation of their trade through the establishment of a free-trade area and the introduction of cooperation instruments.

Related Acts

of the Rio Summit of 29 June 1999.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Follow-up to the first summit between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union [COM(2000) 670 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The purpose of this Communication is to set out the general principles and actions that the Commission intends to take to contribute to meeting the priorities resulting from the June 1999 EU, Latin America and Caribbean Rio Summit. It aims to give impetus to the follow-up.

For more information, please see the site relating to the Rio Summit on the website of the Directorate-General for External Relations.

New political framework for European tourism

New political framework for European tourism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New political framework for European tourism

Topics

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

Enterprise > Industry

New political framework for European tourism

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 – “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe” [COM(2010) 352 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In accordance with the new European Union (EU) priorities set out in the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, and to keep Europe as the world’s top tourist destination, the Commission proposes a new framework for coordinated tourism actions at EU level to increase the competitiveness and capacity for sustainable growth of European tourism.

Tourism represents the third largest socioeconomic activity in the EU and is estimated to generate over 10 % of the EU’s GDP, providing approximately 12 % of all jobs. It is therefore an important sector for both EU citizens and industry, with a positive effect on economic growth and employment within the EU.

The Treaty of Lisbon recognised the importance of tourism, granting the EU the power to support, coordinate and complement actions of the EU countries in this sector. The definition and clarification of the EU’s competencies in this field enables the establishment of a comprehensible framework for action. According to the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU’s specific measures in the tourism sector should be aimed at:

  • encouraging the creation of a favourable environment for the development of undertakings in this sector;
  • promoting cooperation between EU countries, particularly by the exchange of good practice.

Challenges and opportunities facing the European tourism industry

European tourism has faced a difficult economic situation due to the financial and economic crisis of 2008 which had a significant impact on the demand for tourism services. The situation was worsened by the interruption of air traffic due to volcanic ash clouds following the Ejyafjöll volcano eruption in 2010, resulting in an important number of cancelled tourist arrivals and consequently a considerable loss to the air transport sector, as well as to the hotel sector and other tourist-related activities.

New framework for action in European tourism

In line with the ‘Europe 2020’ economic strategy, the framework for tourism actions at EU level can be built around the following four priorities:

  • Stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector by:

    • developing innovation in tourism by, for example, facilitating the adaptation of the sector and its businesses to market developments in the field of information and communication technology and innovation;
    • improving professional skills in the sector through promotion of opportunities offered by various EU programmes, such as Leonardo or the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme with its “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” and “E-skills for Innovations” strands;
    • attempting to overcome the seasonal nature of demand by, for example, facilitating voluntary tourism exchanges between EU countries, especially during the low season and for specific target groups of the society, and encouraging the development of a voluntary online information exchange to improve the coordination of school holidays in EU countries;
    • promoting diversification of the supply of tourist services in particular by better focusing on and promoting Europe’s common heritage, as well as by integrating ‘natural’ heritage into tourism strategies;
    • contributing towards a better coordination of tourism-related research activities and consolidating the socioeconomic data on tourism at European level.
  • Promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism by:

    • developing a system of indicators for the sustainable management of destinations which could contribute towards developing a label for promoting sustainable tourist destinations;
    • organising awareness-raising campaigns better informing European tourists about destinations, including information about transport and relationships with the local population;
    • developing a European brand for tourism quality, based on national experiences, to increase consumer security and confidence;
    • facilitating the identification of climate change risks to protect the European tourism industry from making the wrong investments and exploring alternative tourism services;
    • proposing a charter for sustainable and responsible tourism;
    • proposing a strategy for sustainable coastal and marine tourism;
    • establishing or strengthening the EU’s cooperation with emerging countries and with Mediterranean countries to promote sustainable and responsible tourism development models and the exchange of best practice.
  • Consolidate the image and profile of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high-quality destinations by:

    • supporting the creation of a ‘Europe brand’, in close cooperation with EU countries and complementary to their promotional efforts, so as to enable European destinations to better stand out when compared to other international tourist destinations;
    • promoting Europe as a sustainable and high-quality tourist destination through the ‘visiteurope.com’ website and at major international events or large-scale tourism fairs and exhibitions;
    • strengthening EU participation in international bodies.
  • Maximise the potential of EU policies and financial instruments for developing tourism by:

    • better integrating and coordinating tourism with other EU policies, such as transport, competition, internal market, taxation, consumer protection, environment, employment and training, regional and rural development policy which all have a direct or indirect impact on tourism;
    • promoting and mobilising Community support instruments and programmes in favour of tourism, such as the European Regional Development Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the European Fisheries Fund.

Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity

Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity

Topics

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

Human rights > Human rights in non-EU countries

Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2002/494/JHA of 13 June 2002 setting up a European network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Summary

All countries of the European Union (EU) have ratified the Rome Statute of 17 July 1998 setting up the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hear cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, the ICC remains complementary to national systems of criminal law. The investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes continue to be the responsibility of national authorities. Therefore, the EU is calling for closer cooperation between the relevant national authorities to ensure that these crimes will be combated successfully.

National contact points

Each EU country must designate a national contact point for exchanging information on investigations of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The details of each contact point must be sent to the General Secretariat of the Council, which will forward them to the other EU countries.

Upon request, the contact points must provide each other with information relevant to investigations into genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. They may also exchange such information of their own motion. In addition, the contact points are responsible for facilitating cooperation between the competent national authorities.

The Council annually briefs the European Parliament on the activities of the network of contact points.

This decision is without prejudice to the conventions or agreements regarding mutual assistance in criminal matters between judicial authorities.

References

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

Decision 2002/494/JHA

13.6.2002

OJ L 167, 26.6.2002

Related Acts

Council Decision 2003/335/JHA of 8 May 2003 on the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [Official Journal L 118 of 14.5.2003].

Netd@ys Europe

Netd@ys Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Netd@ys Europe

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Education and training: general framework

Netd@ys Europe

Background

Netd@ys Europe represents many different projects presented during ‘Netd@ys Week’, which were held each year during November from 1997 to 2005.
First held in 1997, as part of the European Commission action plan ‘Learning in the information society’ (1996-1998), has become the world’s largest awareness-raising campaign for the new media, in particular the Internet, as teaching, learning and discovery tools and resources in the areas of education, in the broad sense of the word, and culture.
A fundamental principle is that priority is always given to the educational content of projects, rather than technology, and publicising the potential and value of the new media in this area.

Themes of Netd@ys Europe 2000 projects

While being fully aware that the changing role of teachers, trainers and youth workers and improving the quality of life, in particular for disadvantaged people or those living in isolated areas, are thematic priorities of the Netd@ys philosophy, each year the European Commission defines the specific reference themes from which the projects should draw inspiration.

In the spirit of the Netd@ys initiative, the thematic categories may be the following:

  • Citizenship: encouraging people to participate actively in society, including the implementation of democracy in Europe, and providing innovative educational and cultural approaches to developing respect for diversity and a spirit of tolerance in society;
  • European cultural diversity and identity: fostering a better understanding of Europe’s cultural heritage by using new technologies;
  • Equality of opportunities: providing those with special needs, the elderly, excluded and isolated with access to a range of cultural and educational information in order to improve the quality of their lives and encourage them to use new technologies;
  • Education and training for improving digital literacy: promoting the development, exchange and dissemination of innovative approaches or good practices which will enable more people to use the new media as tools for improving teaching, learning and discovery;
  • Outside Europe: continuing to extend the initiative to the wider world, focusing on the countries of central and eastern Europe and the active participation of Australia, Brazil, Canada and Israel.

Netd@ys Europe has gradually been extended to the entire world, opening up to countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel and Switzerland.

Eligibility criteria: Organisations

Netd@ys Europe is open to any organisation sympathetic to the philosophy and objectives of the initiative (e.g. educational establishments, training centres, cultural institutions, local authorities, youth associations, etc.).
7. The initiative also permits and promotes partnerships between organisations in the areas of education, training and culture and private-sector companies, non-profit-making associations, etc.

While Netd@ys is open to people of all ages, it focuses chiefly on young people aged between 15 and 25.

Eligibility criteria: Projects

The projects should demonstrate examples of using online technology in learning, teaching and discovery. They can take place at any time of the year, but a special activity must be arranged for the Netd@ys week, which will act as a showcase for all the projects.

The projects can be local, regional or national. Projects which comply with all the Netd@ys criteria may apply for the Netd@ys label. The Netd@ys label is not only a quality label – it also makes it possible for a project to be widely known: all the labelled projects are mentioned on the Netd@ys site.

Community subsidies

Any project receiving a Community subsidy will have to satisfy strict criteria concerning its content and management. It must also have a European dimension and be carried out in cooperation with a network of partners from at least three EU countries and the European Economic Area (EEA) and the EU candidate countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia). The Community subsidy may not exceed 50% of the total cost of the project and can only be used for certain activities.

Projects without a Community subsidy

The opportunity to participate in Netd@ys does not depend on financial support from the Commission. Proposals for projects without a Community subsidy can be submitted at any time up to the first day of the Netd@ys week.

All projects which comply with the general Netd@ys principles are be registered with the European Commission as official ‘Netd@ys’, a recognised quality mark that helps promote projects and contributes to their success. Participating organisations can register their project on the Netd@ys site and look for partners working on the same topic in other countries.

Role of the European Commission

In addition to providing financial support, the Commission provides encouragement, organisation and general coordination. It provides a general framework for raising awareness of the promotional activities at European level and facilitates coordination between projects and partners.

Role of correspondents in the participating countries

Since its launch, Netd@ys Europe has enjoyed the support and commitment of the national education ministries. The ministers of the Member States of the European Union, the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), and the EU candidate countries appoint the national Netd@ys correspondents, whose role is to promote, organise and coordinate the projects at national level, link them up with projects in other countries and help them to obtain sponsorship from potential private-sector partners.

New legal framework for payments

New legal framework for payments

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New legal framework for payments

Topics

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

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

New legal framework (NLF) for payments

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/64/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on payment services in the internal market amending Directives 97/7/EC, 2002/65/EC, 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 97/5/EC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive aims to establish the legal framework necessary for the creation of an integrated payments market which would abolish barriers to the entry of new providers. It is also designed to enhance competition and provide users with more choice. Lastly, a high level of protection is guaranteed thanks to information requirements and the definition of the rights and obligations of the users and providers of payment services.

Scope

This Directive is addressed to payment services providers established within the Community and covers payments made in Euros or other national currencies of the European Union (EU). However, it does not apply to payment operations completed in cash or by cheque and regulates the granting of credit by payment institutions only where it is closely linked to payment services.

The Directive distinguishes six categories of providers of payment services:

  • credit institutions (within the meaning of the Directive on the pursuit of the business of credit institutions), including branches, credit institutions which have their offices in the EU or outside of the EU;
  • post-office giro institutions which provide payment services;
  • electronic money institutions (within the meaning of the Directive on the pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions);
  • payment institutions (natural or legal persons who have been granted authorisation);
  • the European Central Bank and national central banks when not acting in their capacity as monetary authority or other public authorities;
  • Member States or their regional or local authorities when not acting in their capacity as public authorities.

Conditions for obtaining authorisation

Access to the business of providing payment services is subject to prior authorisation. Authorisation must be sought from the appropriate authorities of the home Member State and is granted only to legal persons established in a Member State. Applications must be accompanied by detailed information on: the applicant’s programme of operations, business plan, administrative and accounting procedures, internal control mechanisms, risk management procedures, structural organisation, etc.

To obtain an authorisation, a payment institution must have robust governance arrangements. Moreover, the competent authorities may reject an application if they are not satisfied as to the suitability of the shareholders or members that have qualifying holdings.

The Directive stipulates that payment institutions must, at the time of authorisation, hold a certain amount of initial capital, depending on the payment service the institution provides, and at any time have sufficient own funds.

Once it has obtained an authorisation, a payment institution will be able to provide payment services throughout the EU, either under the freedom to provide services or under the freedom of establishment. Reasons must be given for any withdrawal of an authorisation, those concerned must be informed accordingly, and the withdrawal of an authorisation must be made public.

Authorisation as a payment institution will be valid in all Member States and recorded in a Community register which will be regularly updated and accessible online.

Competent authorities

Member States must designate the competent authorities responsible for monitoring payment institutions. These must be public authorities, or bodies recognised by national law or by public authorities expressly empowered for that purpose, and must be independent of economic bodies. The competent authorities must cooperate with each other and are bound by the obligation of professional secrecy.

Among other things they are entitled to require a payment institution to provide any information needed for monitoring compliance, to issue recommendations, guidelines and binding administrative provisions, to suspend or withdraw authorisations and to impose penalties on payment institutions.

Transparency and information requirements

The Directive introduces clear and succinct information requirements for all service providers, whether in single payment transactions or those covered by a framework contract (involving a series of payment transactions).

More specifically, it lays down:

  • conditions to be communicated in advance (obligations and liabilities of the service provider and the user, fees, information on the law applicable, indication of the complaint and redress procedures, etc.);
  • information to be supplied at the request of the user prior to the execution of a payment transaction, in the case of a framework contract only (execution time, commissions, fees and charges);
  • information to be made available to the payer after execution of a payment transaction (reference of the payment transaction and of the payee, total amount and amount of fees and commissions, exchange rate applied);
  • information to be made available to the payee after the funds have been received (reference of the payer, full amount of the funds transferred and of the fees and commissions applied and the exchange rate).

Rights and obligations of users and providers of payment services

The Directive lays down rules on the rights and obligations of the users and providers of payment services, including:

  • an execution time of one working day: if the payment is executed either in Euros, or in the currency of a Member State outside of the Euro zone and if the payment involves only one conversion between the Euro and the official currency of the Member State which is not part of the Euro zone, the amount of the payment order must be credited to the payee’s payment account at the latest at the end of the first working day following acceptance. During a transitional period up to 1 January 2012, the payer and the payment service provider may fix a different period provided it is not more than three days;
  • liability of a payment service provider in case of non-execution or defective execution of a payment transaction: full liability is imposed on the provider if the transaction is carried out within the EU;
  • liability of the user of payment services in the event of fraudulent use of a payment instrument (limited to EUR 150); however, this rule does not apply to corporate users;
  • introduction of the full amount principle, according to which the full amount specified in a payment order must be credited to the beneficiary without any deductions;
  • the conditions for refunding when a payment transaction has been wrongly authorised;
  • the conditions of revocability, under which a user of payment services may refuse a payment wrongly assigned to him/her; it is also for the payment service provider to prove that the payment transaction was authenticated, accurately recorded, entered in the accounts and not affected by a technical malfunction.

References

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

Directive 2007/64/EC

25.12.2007

1.11.2009

OJ L 319, 5.12.2007

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

Directive 2009/111/EC

7.12.2009

31.10.2010

OJ L 302 of 17.11.2009