Tag Archives: OB

Objective 2

Objective 2

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Objective 2

Topics

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

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Objective 2

The main goal of regional policy in the European Union is economic and social cohesion. This is based on financial solidarity, whereby more than 35 % of the Union’s budget is transferred to the less-favoured regions (EUR 213 billion in 2000-06 plus EUR 21.74 billion approved for the ten new Member States). Those regions in the Union lagging behind in their development, undergoing restructuring or facing specific geographical, economic or social problems are to be put in a better position to cope with their difficulties and to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.

The amount of support that regions receive through the EU’s regional policy depends on their level of development and the type of difficulties they are facing. The Structural Fund regulations for 2000-06 provide, in particular, for three priority objectives:

  • : to promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind;
  • Objective 2: to support the economic and social conversion of areas experiencing structural difficulties;
  • : to support the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment policies and systems in regions not eligible under Objective 1.

This information sheet concerns Objective 2 only. The other Objectives are the subject of separate sheets.

GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY

The reform of the Structural Funds under Agenda 2000 recommends concentrating structural assistance on the most pressing development problems. The new Objective 2 of the Structural Funds for 2000-06 brings together the former Objectives 2 (conversion of declining industrial regions) and 5(b) (development of rural areas) from 1994-99.

Like Objective 1, Objective 2 is “regionalised”, meaning that it applies to areas defined according to specific statistical and socio-economic criteria. Since the regions covered by this Objective are facing structural difficulties, the Community assistance they receive is intended to support their economic and social conversion. Eligibility depends on a population ceiling, and on criteria specific to each area. An exhaustive list is then drawn up of the eligible regions.

Population ceiling

The population of all the areas eligible for Objective 2 of the Structural Funds may not be more than 18 % of the total population of the Community, i.e. no less than two thirds of the population previously covered by Objectives 2 and 5(b). Following enlargement, for the ten new Member States the ceiling is 31 % of the population of all the NUTS II regions covered by Objective 2 in each of those countries. Decision 1999/503/EC [Official Journal L 194 of 27.7.1999] of 1 July 1999 requires the Commission to set a ceiling in each Member State on the population eligible for Objective 2 in 2000-06. These ceilings are as follows:

Member State Population
(million inhabitants)
% of the national population
Germany 10.30 13
Austria 1.99 25
Belgium 1.27 12
Denmark 0.54 10
Spain 8.81 22
Finland 1.58 31
France 18.77 31
Italy 7.4 13
Luxembourg 0.11 28
Netherlands 2.33 15
United Kingdom 13.84 24
Sweden 1.22 14
European Union 68.17 18

The Act concerning the conditions of accession to the European Union of the ten new Member States [OJ L 236, 23.9.2003] contains the ceilings for those countries for the period 1 May 2004 to 31 December 2006. Only three of those countries have population ceilings for obtaining aid under Objective 2. They are:

  • the Czech Republic: 0.37 million inhabitants
  • Slovakia: 0.19 million inhabitants
  • Cyprus: 0.21 million inhabitants

Criteria specific to each type of area

The areas eligible under Objective 2 are those undergoing socio-economic change in the industrial and service sectors, declining rural areas, urban areas in difficulty and depressed areas dependent on fisheries. The criteria for defining them are as follows.

Areas undergoing socio-economic change in the industrial and service sectors:

  • These areas must correspond to a NUTS level III territorial unit in the nomenclature developed by Eurostat.
  • Their average unemployment rate recorded over the three years before 1999 must have been higher than the Community average.
  • They must have a percentage share of industrial employment in total employment equal to or greater than the Community average in any reference year from 1985 onwards.
  • Industrial employment must have been falling constantly for several years.

Geographical areas whose population or area is significant, which meet the above criteria and are adjacent to an industrial area are also eligible.

These areas undergoing socio-economic change in the industrial and service sectors continue to suffer job losses, not only in the traditional industries (textiles, cars, coal and steel) but also in services. The development of new activities and retraining of workers are strongly encouraged.

Declining rural areas:

  • These areas must correspond to a NUTS level III territorial unit in the nomenclature developed by Eurostat.
  • They must have either a population density of less than 100 people per km², or a percentage share of agricultural employment in total employment which is at least double the Community average in any reference year from 1985 onwards.
  • They must have either an average unemployment rate recorded over the three years before 1999 that is above the Community average, or a decline in population since 1985.

Rural areas with serious socio-economic problems arising from the ageing of or decline in the agricultural working population may also be eligible.

Rural areas are undergoing radical change. Farming is no longer a major source of employment but continues to occupy most rural land. Revitalising these areas and maintaining the population there requires new competitive activities and closer links with urban centres.

Urban areas in difficulty are densely populated areas that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • a rate of long-term unemployment higher than the Community average;
  • a high level of poverty, including poor housing conditions;
  • a particularly damaged environment;
  • a high rate of crime and antisocial behaviour;
  • low educational standards among the population.

The urban issue is at the heart of economic, social and territorial change. Towns and cities have a high degree of development potential and cooperate among themselves in networks. But they are also home to many disparities in development, as witnessed by the existence of depressed districts where social exclusion and poverty are rife. However, although our towns and cities exert high pressure on the environment, they nevertheless play a role as vectors of development for surrounding rural areas.

Depressed areas dependent on fisheries are coastal areas with a significant number of jobs in the fisheries industry as a percentage of total employment. They are also facing structural socio-economic problems relating to the restructuring of the fisheries sector, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of jobs in that sector.

Objective 2, therefore, concerns four types of geographical area. Areas facing or threatened by serious structural problems or a high level of unemployment arising from an ongoing or planned restructuring in agriculture, industry or the services sector are also eligible. Where there is a serious crisis in a region, the Commission may act on a proposal from a Member State to amend the list of areas during 2003, provided this does not increase the population covered within each region.

List of eligible regions

As a first step, each Member State draws up its own indicative list of significant areas, which it submits to the Commission together with the statistics and other information, at the most appropriate geographical level, needed to evaluate the proposals. The Commission, in close consultation with the Member States, then draws up the definitive list of areas eligible under Objective 2 for 2000-06 for each Member State of the European Union. The decisions containing these lists are available on the Inforegio website of the Directorate-General for regional policy:

Member State Decision Official Journal
Germany Decision 2000/201/EC OJ L66 of 14.3.2000
Austria Decision 2000/289/EC

(amended by Decision 2000/607/EC)
OJ L99 of 19.04.2000
(Official Journal L 258 of 12.10.2000)
Belgium Decision 2000/119/EC OJ L39 of 14.02.2000
Denmark Decision 2000/121/EC OJ L39 of 14.02.2000
Spain Decision 2000/264/EC OJ L84 of 05.04.2000
Finland Decision 2000/120/EC OJ L39 of 14.02.2000
France Decision 2000/339/EC

(amended by Decision 2000/607/EC)

(amended by Decision 2003/679/EC)
OJ L123 of 24.05.2000
(OJ L258 of 12.10.2000)
(Official Journal L 249 of 01.10.2003)
Italy Decision 2000/530/EC

(amended by Decision 2001/363/EC)
OJ L223 of 04.09.2000
(OJ L129, 11.05.2001)
Luxembourg Decision 2000/277/EC OJ L87 of 08.04.2000
Netherlands Decision 2000/118/EC OJ L39 of 14.02.2000
United Kingdom Decision 2000/290/EC

(amended by Decision 2001/201/EC)
OJ L99 of 19.04.2000
(OJ L78, 16.03.2001)
Sweden Decision 2000/220/EC OJ L69 of 17.03.2000

Greece, Ireland and Portugal are not concerned by Objective 2, since their entire territory is covered by Objective 1. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia are in the same situation.

Transitional support is also available for EU 15 regions which were eligible for the former Objectives 2 and 5(b) in 1994-99 but which do not qualify for Objective 2 in 2000-06. This transitional support, which decreases over time, is granted to prevent a sudden interruption in financial assistance from the Structural Funds and consolidate the progress achieved during the previous programming period. It is granted for six years, from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2005. The transitional support for these areas is provided by the ERDF. They may also receive assistance from the EAGGF Guarantee Section for rural development, from the FIFG under the common fisheries policy, or from the European Social Fund (ESF) under Objective 3 for structural conversion.

PROGRAMMING DOCUMENTS

Programming is an essential part of implementing EU regional policy. The first stage is for the Member States to present regional development plans. These include a precise description of the economic and social situation of the country by region, a description of the most appropriate strategy for achieving the stated development objectives and indications on the use and form of the financial contribution from the Structural Funds.

The Member States then submit programming documents to the Commission, following its general guidelines. In the case of Objective 2, these programming documents take the form of single programming documents (SPDs).

. The Objective 2 SPDs coordinate all Community structural assistance, including rural development measures but not including assistance for human resources granted under Objective 3. These documents describe the strategy and priorities selected and provide a short description of the proposed measures and an indicative financing plan showing the eligible public/private financing. They also lay down the arrangements for financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control. In all, 96 regional programmes are being implemented in the 12 Member States covered by Objective 2. You can consult summaries of the SPDs on the Inforegio website of the Directorate-General for regional policy.

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Funding

For 2000-06, the allocation to the Structural Funds is EUR 195 billion, to which must be added EUR 14.1559 billion for the ten new Member States for the period from accession to 31 December 2006. The allocation for Objective 2 is EUR 22.5 billion over seven years (11.5 % of the total) for the old Member States and EUR 0.12 billion over two and a half years for the new Member States (0.86 % of the total allocated to those countries), shared between the ERDF and the ESF, with EUR 2.721 billion earmarked for transitional support.

The Cohesion Fund grants assistance only to Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain, i.e. the countries whose gross domestic product (GDP) is less than 90 % of the Community average. It finances operations in the fields of environment and transport. Since the whole of Greece, Portugal and Ireland are eligible under Objective 1, only certain regions of Spain eligible under Objective 2 (Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Rioja, Madrid, Navarre and the Basque Country) also receive assistance from the Cohesion Fund.

Commission Decision 1999/504/EC of 1 July 1999 [Official Journal L 194 of 27.7.1999] fixes an indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations for Objective 2 of the Structural Funds for 2000-06 as shown below:

Member State Objective 2
(million)
Transitional support
(million)
Germany 2 984 526
Austria 578 102
Belgium 368 65
Denmark 156 27
Spain 2 553 98
Finland 459 30
France 5 437 613
Italy 2 145 377
Luxembourg 34 6
Netherlands 676 119
United Kingdom 3 989 706
Sweden 354 52
European Union 19 733 2 721

For the new Member States, the allocation for Objective 2 represents 0.86 % of the resources of the Structural Funds. The indicative allocation of commitment appropriations is the following:

  • Czech Republic: EUR 63.3 million
  • Slovakia: EUR 33 million
  • Cyprus: EUR 24. billion

Contribution of the Funds

As a general rule, the contribution of the Structural Funds under Objective 2 is subject to the following ceilings: no more than 50 % of the total eligible volume and at least 25 % of eligible public expenditure.

In the case of investment in firms, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the ceilings on the rate of aid and on combinations of aid laid down in the field of state aids.

In cases where assistance involves financing investments that will generate income (such as bridges or toll motorways), the expected revenue is taken into account when determining the contribution of the Funds. Under Objective 2, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the following ceilings:

  • In the case of investments in infrastructure generating substantial income, assistance may not exceed 25 % of the eligible total volume. These rates can be supplemented by forms of financing other than direct aid for up to 10 % of the total eligible total.
  • Contributions to investments in businesses may not exceed 15 % of the total eligible volume. In the case of investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), these rates can be increased by up to 10 % of the eligible total volume for indirect forms of financing.

Objective 3

Objective 3

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Objective 3

Topics

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

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Objective 3

The main goal of regional policy in the European Union is economic and social cohesion. This is based on financial solidarity, whereby more than 35% of the Union’s budget is transferred to the less-favoured regions (EUR 213 billion in 2000-06 plus EUR 21.74 billion for the ten new Member States). Those regions in the Union lagging behind in their development, undergoing restructuring or facing specific geographical, economic or social problems are to be put in a better position to cope with their difficulties and to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.

The amount of support that regions receive through the EU’s regional policy depends on their level of development and the type of difficulties they are facing. The Structural Fund regulations for 2000-06 provide, in particular, for three priority objectives:

  • : to promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind;
  • : to support the economic and social conversion of areas experiencing structural difficulties;
  • Objective 3: to support the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment policies and systems in regions not eligible under Objective 1.

This information sheet concerns Objective 3 only. The other Objectives are the subject of separate sheets.

GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY

The reform of the Structural Funds under Agenda 2000 concentrates structural assistance on the most pressing development problems. The new Objective 3 of the Structural Funds for 2000-06 thus brings together the former Objectives 3 (combating long-term unemployment, integration of young people into working life, integration of those threatened with exclusion from the labour market) and Objective 4 (adapting the workforce to changes in production). It is the reference framework for all the measures taken under the new Title on employment inserted in the EC Treaty by the Treaty of Amsterdam and under the European employment strategy.

Objective 3 covers all activities relating to the development of human resources. Its goal is to modernise education and training policy and systems and promote employment.

All regions not covered by Objective 1 are eligible under Objective 3. Training and employment measures in Objective 1 regions are already included in programmes receiving assistance from the European Social Fund (ESF) to that end.

PROGRAMMING DOCUMENTS

Programming is an essential part of implementing EU regional policy. As a first step, the Member States submit development plans to the Commission. These include a precise description of the economic and social situation of the country by region, a description of the most appropriate strategy for achieving the stated development objectives and indications on the use and form of the financial contribution from the Structural Funds.

The plans submitted for financing under Objective 3 cover those parts a Member State not covered by Objective 1. They provide a framework for developing human resources throughout the country’s territory.

Next, the Member States submit their programming documents to the Commission. These documents cover the entire programming period (2000-06) and follow the Commission’s general guidelines. They can take the form of:

  • Community support frameworks (CSF) translated into Operational Programmes (OPs). Member States may use this formula for Objective 3 if they consider it necessary. CSFs and OPs describe the socio-economic context of the country and set out development priorities and goals to be achieved. They also lay down the arrangements for financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control. The OPs detail the various priorities of the CSF as they apply to a specific region or development priority. In the case of Objective 3, these priorities can relate to education and training, integration into working life, the spirit of enterprise, the health services and social exclusion.
    You can consult these documents on the Internet site of the Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs.
  • Single programming documents (SPDs). For Objective 3, the Commission recommends that the Member States draw up SPDs. These are single documents gathering together the data contained in a Community support framework and operational programme: the programme’s priorities, a short description of the proposed measures and an indicative financing plan.
    You can consult these single programming documents on the Internet site of the Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs.

In addition, in the context of the European employment strategy, the Member States also adopt annual employment guidelines setting out clear priorities and objectives for their employment policy in the coming year. Each Member State applies the guidelines through its national employment policy by means of national action plans (NAP). These national policies are the subject of ex-post checks and an annual evaluation by the Commission and the Member States.

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Funding

EUR 195 billion (commitments at 1999 prices) is allocated to the Structural Funds for 2000-06; in addition, EUR 14.15 billion is earmarked for the ten new Member States. The allocation for Objective 3 is EUR 24.05 billion over the seven years of the programming period (12.3% of the total) for the EU-15 plus EUR 110 million for the period from 1 May 2004 to 31 December 2006 for the new Member States (0.79% of the total) and is the sole responsibility of the ESF.

Commission Decision 1999/505/EC [C(1999) 1774: Official Journal L 194 of 27.7.1999] and the act concerning the conditions of accession to the EU of the ten new Member States fix an indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations for Objective 3 of the Structural Funds for 2000-06 as shown below.

Member State Objective 3
(million)
Germany 4 581
Austria 528
Belgium 737
Denmark 365
Spain 2 140
Finland 403
France 4 540
Italy 3 744
Luxembourg 38
Netherlands 1 686
United Kingdom 4 568
Sweden 720
EU-15 24 050
Czech Republic 52 2
Cyprus 19 5
Slovakia 39 9

Since their entire territory is covered by Objective 1, the other Member States are not concerned by Objective 3.

Contribution of the Funds

As a general rule, the contribution of the Structural Funds under Objective 3 is subject to the following ceilings: no more than 50% of the total eligible volume and at least 25% of eligible public expenditure. As only the ESF contributes to financing Objective 3, its contribution rates may be higher inside Objective 2 areas than outside them.

Objective 1

Objective 1

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Objective 1

Topics

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

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Objective 1

The main goal of regional policy in the European Union is economic and social cohesion. This is based on financial solidarity, whereby more than 35 % of the Union’s budget is transferred to the less-favoured regions (EUR 213 billion in 2000-06). Those regions in the Union lagging behind in their development, undergoing restructuring or facing specific geographical, economic or social problems are to be put in a better position to cope with their difficulties and to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.

The amount of support that regions receive through the EU’s regional policy depends on their level of development and the type of difficulties they are facing. The Structural Fund regulations for 2000-06 provide, in particular, for three priority objectives:

  • Objective 1: to promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind;
  • Objective 2: to support the economic and social conversion of areas experiencing structural difficulties;
  • Objective 3: to support the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment policies and systems in regions not eligible under Objective 1.

This information sheet concerns Objective 1 only. The other Objectives are the subject of separate sheets.

GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY

Objective 1 is “regionalised”, meaning that it applies to designated NUTS level II areas in the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics developed by Eurostat. Of these geographical areas, only those with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) lower than 75 % of the Community average are eligible under Objective 1.

Objective 1 also covers specific categories of regions:

  • the seven “most remote regions”, whose position is unique within the Union due to their remoteness from the European continent and their modest demographic and economic importance. These regions are the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, French Guiana, the Azores and Madeira.
  • the areas in Sweden and Finland eligible under the former Objective 6 during 1994-99, which specifically assisted regions with a very low population density. The areas concerned are in the regions of North-Central Sweden, Central Norrland and Upper Norrland in Sweden, and North, Central and East Finland.
  • Northern Ireland receives special Community assistance to promote reconciliation between the communities and the emergence of a stable and peaceful society. First set up as a Community Initiative in 1994-99, the Peace II operational programme (2000-04) is now an integral part of Objective 1 and receives financial assistance worth EUR 500 million.

In all, some 60 regions in 13 Member States are eligible under Objective 1 for 2000-06. There is also transitional support for regions which were eligible under Objective 1 in 1994-99 but are no longer eligible in 2000-06. Commission Decision 1999/502/EC of 1 July 1999 [OJ L194, 27.07.1999] lays down the list of eligible regions, valid for seven years from 1 January 2000.

Member State Regions eligible under Objective 1 or receiving transitional support
Germany Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia; transitional support: East Berlin
Austria Burgenland
Belgium Transitional support: Hainault
Spain Galicia, Asturias, Castile-Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Extramadura, Valencia, Andalusia, Murcia, Ceuta-Melilla, the Canary Islands; transitional support: Cantabria
Finland East Finland, (part of) Central Finland, (part of) North Finland
France Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion; transitional support: Corsica and the districts of Valenciennes, Douai and Avesnes
Greece East Macedonia, Thrace, Central Macedonia, West Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Ionian Islands, Western Greece, Continental Greece, Peloponnese, Attica, North Aegean, South Aegean, Crete (i.e. the entire country)
Ireland Border, Midlands and Western; transitional support: Southern, Eastern
Italy Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia
transitional support: Molise
Netherlands Transitional support: Flevoland
Portugal North, Centre, Alentejo, Algarve, Azores, Madeira;
transitional support: Lisbon and Tagus valley
United Kingdom South Yorkshire, West Wales & the Valleys, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Merseyside; transitional support: Northern Ireland, Highlands and Islands
Sweden (Parts of) North-Central Sweden, (parts of) Central Norrland, (parts of) Upper Norrland

PROGRAMMING DOCUMENTS

Programming is an essential part of implementing EU regional policy. The first stage is for the Member States to present regional development plans. These include a precise description of the economic and social situation of the country by region, a description of the most appropriate strategy for achieving the stated development objectives and indications on the use and form of the financial contribution from the Structural Funds.

The Member States submit programming documents to the Commission, following its general guidelines. In the case of Objective 1, these programming documents generally take the form of:

  • Community support frameworks (CSFs) translated into Operational Programmes (OPs). CSFs and OPs are the programming documents recommended for Objective 1. They describe the socio-economic context of the country or regions concerned and set out the development priorities and goals to be achieved. They also lay down the arrangements for financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control. The OPs detail the various priorities of the CSF for a given region or development priority, such as transport, training, business support, etc.
    For Objective 1, Germany, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) have all opted to draw up a CSF and OPs.
    You can consult the CSFs and OPs of the regions eligible under Objective 1 or receiving transitional support on the Inforegio site of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy.
  • Single programming documents (SPDs). For the purposes of Objective 1, SPDs are used to programme spending of less than 1 billion. SPDs are single documents gathering together the data contained in a Community support framework and operational programme: the programme’s priorities, a short description of the proposed measures and an indicative financing plan.
    Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden have opted for this formula for Objective 1.
    You can consult the SPDs of the regions eligible under Objective 1 and receiving transitional support on the Inforegio site of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy.

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Funding

213 billion will be available to finance structural assistance in the European Union in 2000-06. Of that amount, 195 billion are allocated to the Structural Funds. Since assistance must be concentrated on the regions with the greatest difficulties, Objective 1 has the largest allocation, accounting for approximately 70 % of Structural Fund appropriations, i.e. 137 billion over seven years.

All the Structural Funds (the ERDF, the ESF, the EAGGF Guidance Section and the FIFG) contribute to financing Objective 1.

The allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations for Objective 1 of the Structural Funds and transitional support is set out in Commission Decision 1999/501/EC [Official Journal L194 of 27.7.1999]. The allocation is as follows:

Member State Objective 1
(in million)
Transitional support
(in million)
Germany 19 229 729
Austria 261 0
Belgium 0 625
Spain 37 744 352
Finland 913 0
France 3 254 551
Greece 20 961 0
Ireland 1 315 1 773
Italy 21 935 187
Netherlands 0 123
Portugal 16 124 2 905
United Kingdom 5 085 1 166
Sweden 722 0

Contribution of the Funds

As a rule, the contribution of the Structural Funds under Objective 1 is subject to the following ceilings: no more than 75 % of the total eligible volume and, as a general rule, at least 50 % of eligible public expenditure. The rate can be increased to 80 % for regions situated in a Member State eligible for assistance from the Cohesion Fund (Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal). Council Regulation (EC) No 1447/2001 [OJ L198 of 21.7.2001] sets this ceiling even higher, at 85 %, for all the most remote regions and the smaller Greek islands in the Aegean.

In the case of investment in firms, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the ceilings on the rate of aid and on combinations of aid set in the field of state aids.

In cases where assistance involves financing investments that will generate income (such as bridges or toll motorways), the contribution of the Funds is determined in the light of the expected revenue. Under Objective 1, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the following ceilings:

  • In the case of investments in infrastructure generating substantial income, assistance may not exceed 40 % of the eligible total volume, increased by a further 10 % in the Member States eligible for assistance from the Cohesion Fund. These rates can be supplemented by forms of financing other than direct aid for up to 10 % of the total eligible total.
  • Contributions to investments in businesses may not exceed 35 % of the total eligible volume (50 % in the most remote regions and the smaller islands of the Aegean). In the case of investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), these rates can be increased by up to 10 % of the eligible total volume for indirect forms of financing.

Results of programming under Objective 1 for 2000-06

The results of programming under Objective 1 for 2000-06 are set out in the communication COM(2001) 378 final [not published in the Official Journal]. These results shed light on the following points:

  • Disparities between the eligible regions and the rest of the European Union remain considerable despite the progress achieved over the previous period, as described in the Second Report on economic and social cohesion. Assistance should enable the economies concerned to continue to catch up.
  • The indicative guidelines adopted by the Commission in July 1999 provided a useful basis on which to negotiate the plans and programmes with the Member States. There has been a greater effort to concentrate assistance on the four priority areas in the Objective 1 regions: infrastructure, research and innovation, the information society and the development of human resources.
  • The effectiveness of assistance is closely dependent on compliance with the rules on implementing and managing the programmes. The Member States in partnership with the Commission have made considerable progress in setting up systems for more rigorous monitoring, surveillance and evaluation.
  • The chief difficulties were: 1) the five-month period allowed for negotiating programming documents proved to be too short (average time taken estimated at eight months), and 2) the programming complement has sometimes been regarded as a separate phase of programming although its role is to clarify the content of the programme priorities.

Economic impact of assistance under Objective 1 in 2000-06

The Directorate-General for Regional Policy has produced a new study (pdf ) on the economic impact of the Structural Funds in the main areas eligible under Objective 1 (Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the Mezzogiorno in Italy and the east German Länder) for 2000-06. The main results of this analysis are as follows:

  • the Objective 1 programmes appear to have a significant impact on the level of GDP and fixed capital formation.
    Total GDP appears to be 3.5 % higher in Portugal and 2.4 % higher in Greece than it would be without EU assistance. This increase is 1.7 % in the Mezzogiorno and 1.6 % in the east German Länder.
  • Over the whole period and for all the regions covered by the study, almost 700 000 jobs are benefiting from Community support.
  • Community contributions should bring about additional annual growth in the GDP of just over 0.4 % in Portugal and just under 0.4 % in Greece.
  • A large share of transfers would appear to leave the beneficiary areas (leakage effect) as equipment, goods and services are brought in from outside.
    On average, for every 4 spent under Objective 1, more than 1 is spent on imports from other Member States, and 9 % of such imports come from non-member countries.
  • The Objective 1 programmes should help the economies of the six more backward regions covered by the study to catch up and restructure.
    Industrial production should increase in absolute terms, with the GDP share of agriculture and the processing of agricultural products falling and the share of services increasing.

Related Acts

Proposal of 14 July 2004 for a Council Regulation establishing a Cohesion Fund [COM(2004) 494 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
As part of the reform of regional policy, in July 2004 the Commission presented a package of proposals for the Structural Funds (ERDF and ESF) and the Cohesion Fund. The basic reference document containing the general provisions for these proposals sets a total budget of EUR 62.99 billion for the Cohesion Fund, accounting for 23.86 % of the total budget of EUR 264 billion for the “Convergence” objective, which replaces the former Objective 1. The Cohesion Fund will finance up to 85 % of public spending on projects under this new objective.

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Topics

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

Public health > Health determinants: lifestyle

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Heath and Consumer Affairs Council of 3 June 2005, “Obesity, nutrition and physical activity ” [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Tackling obesity

Obesity is a multi-causal condition, and tackling it requires a comprehensive preventive approach, including multi-stakeholder efforts at local, regional, national, European and global levels.

Promoting healthy diets and physical activity has potential for reducing not only obesity but also the risks related to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. More generally, healthy diets and physical activity considerably improve the quality of life.

Physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. For this reason, learning to enjoy sport and physical activity at school and during leisure time, as well as starting education about healthy living at an early age, is of the utmost importance.

Recommendations

The Council calls upon the Member States and, where appropriate, the European Commission to conceive and implement initiatives aimed at promoting healthy diets and physical activity, including:

Healthy diets

  • enabling citizens to make healthy dietary choices, and ensuring that healthy dietary options are available, affordable and accessible;
  • fostering citizens’ knowledge on the relationship between diet and health, energy intake and output, on diets that lower the risk of chronic diseases, and on healthy choices of food items;
  • ensuring that consumers are not misled by advertising, marketing and promotion activities, and that especially the credulity of children and their limited experience with the media are not exploited;

Participation of all stakeholders

  • enabling health professionals to give, on a routine basis, practical advice to patients and families on the benefits of optimal diets and increased levels of physical activity;
  • encouraging stakeholders who are in a position to support the promotion of healthy diets (e.g. food producers, food processors, retailers, caterers) to take initiatives to this end;

Mainstreaming

mainstreaming of nutrition and physical activity into all relevant policies at local, regional, national and European levels, such as policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption;

Physical activity and education

  • monitoring the trends of healthy nutrition and physical activity in the population and further developing research and the scientific basis for actions in the field;
  • fostering education on, and the supply of, healthy dietary choices at schools, and encouraging children and adolescents to exercise on a daily basis;
  • developing nutrition and physical education activities for children as an integrated part of health education in general, which should also focus on issues such as combating smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and the use of drugs, as well as promoting sexual health and mental health;
  • encouraging employers to offer healthy choices at workplace canteens and to provide facilities which encourage the practice of physical activity;
  • fostering the development of urban environments that are conducive to physical activity.

Background

The rise in obesity prevalence rates throughout the EU has become a very worrying phenomenon. More and more children are now overweight or obese. The figures are alarming and the consequences no less so, as obesity goes hand in hand with an increase in cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

To fight against this danger, the Commission set up an EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health in March 2005. The objective of this initiative, which involves experts on both nutrition and physical exercise, is to tackle the growing phenomenon of obesity in Europe in order to curb this trend.

 

Obligation to inform employees of applicable working conditions

Obligation to inform employees of applicable working conditions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Obligation to inform employees of applicable working conditions

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Employment rights and work organisation

Obligation to inform employees of applicable working conditions

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer’s obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship.

Summary

The Directive applies to all paid employees with a contract or employment relationship defined and/or governed by the law in force in a Member State. Member States may exclude from its scope workers who have a contract or employment relationship:

  • with a total duration not exceeding one month or with a working week not exceeding eight hours; or
  • of a casual and/or specific nature where there are objective considerations justifying non-application of the Directive.

Obligation to provide information

Employers must provide employees with the following fundamental information:

  • identity of the parties;
  • place of work;
  • title, grade, nature or category of work or brief job specification;
  • date of commencement of contract or employment relationship;
  • in the case of a temporary contract or employment relationship, its expected duration;
  • amount of paid leave or procedures for allocating and determining such leave;
  • periods of notice to be observed by the employer and the employee should their contract or employment relationship be terminated or, where this cannot be indicated, method for determining such periods of notice;
  • basic amount, and other components of remuneration and frequency of payment;
  • employee’s normal working hours;
  • any relevant collective agreements.

Means of information

The information may be set out in a written contract of employment, in a letter of engagement or in one or more other written documents. These must be given to the employee within two months of commencement of employment, failing which the employee must be given a written declaration signed by the employer.

Expatriate employees

Employees required to work in another country must be in possession before departure of one of the documents referred to in point 3, which must include the following additional information:

  • duration of employment abroad;
  • currency to be used for payment of remuneration;
  • any benefits attendant on the employment abroad;
  • where appropriate, the conditions governing the employee’s repatriation.

These provisions do not apply where the duration of employment abroad is one month or less.

Any change to the terms of the contract or employment relationship must be recorded in writing.

The Directive does not affect the Member States’ prerogative to apply or introduce provisions which are more favourable to employees.

Background

The aim of the Directive is to protect employees against possible infringements of their rights, in view of the increase in the number of types of employment relationship, by establishing at Community level the obligation for employers to inform employees in writing of their conditions of employment.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 91/533/EEC 28.10.1991 30.6.1993 OJ L 288 of 18.10.1991