Tag Archives: Participation

Promoting young people's initiative, enterprise and creativity

Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 28 June 2001 on promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity: from exclusion to empowerment [Official Journal C 196 of 12 July 2001].


Involvement of the Commission and the Member States

This resolution invites the Commission:

  • to associate young people in the preparation of Community cooperation policy geared to youth, education and training;
  • to ensure that the “youth” dimension is taken into account in Community activities;
  • to take stock of the experience gained from the Youth programme;
  • to take the “youth” dimension into account in devising new strategies for lifelong learning.

This resolution invites the Member States:

  • to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in all fields;
  • to provide young people with better information about the opportunities and support available;
  • to promote pupil participation, initiative and creativity for active citizenship;
  • to promote student participation in higher education, in vocational training and in research;
  • to take note of young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in devising innovative methods of teaching and learning;
  • to integrate young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity into practical employment-oriented measures;
  • to promote the sharing of good practice.

This resolution invites the Commission and Member States:

  • to integrate young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in combating social exclusion;
  • to encourage young people’s initiative and creativity in combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance;
  • to promote dissemination of best practice;
  • to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity as a driving force for employment policy;
  • to take stock of the experience gained from the Socrates and Leonardo programmes in order to make the most of young people’s initiative and creativity;
  • to promote research and sharing of experience;
  • to develop young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity through non-formal learning;
  • to promote cooperation between the Member States, the Commission and international organisations;
  • to clarify how young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity are put to use as a resource;
  • to educate young people as critical consumers and practitioners in sectors such as music, film and other creative industries.


Many Community initiatives have been launched to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity, most of them stemming from education and training policy (e.g. the Youth and Youth for Europe programmes, the resolution on the social inclusion of young people, the resolution on youth participation, the memorandum on lifelong learning) and employment policy (e.g. the multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and the guidelines for employment).

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions – Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: Fostering entrepreneurial mindsets through education and learning

Council Decision 2001/63/ECof 19 January 2001 on guidelines for Member States’ employment policies for the year 2001 [Official Journal L 022 of 24.01.2001].

Council Decision 2000/819/EC of 20 December 2000 on a multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (2001-2005) [Official Journal L 333 of 29.12.2000].


Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework of European cooperation in the youth field


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [Official Journal C 168 of 13.7.2002].


Adopting the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”, the Commission suggested a new framework of European cooperation in the youth field, comprising two strands: firstly, the application of the open method of coordination and, secondly, taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies. This resolution follows on from this White Paper by setting the priorities and the timetable for the European Union’s (EU) work up until 2004 in the field of “youth”.

For cooperation based on the open method of coordination

In the updated cooperation framework, based in particular on the open method of coordination, the Council is proposing four priority themes:

  • encouraging young people’s participation in the exercise of active citizenship and civil society. This means supporting the work of youth associations and other forms of active participation in order to improve young people’s participation and social cohesion. The exchange of good practices is essential here;
  • enhancing the information addressed to young people and existing information services for young people (successive reports deal with participation and information together);
  • promoting voluntary activities among young people. Making it easier for young people to find voluntary work so as to develop their sense of responsibility and citizenship and their active participation in society. Public authorities, businesses and civil society are called on to recognise the value of voluntary work so as to improve young people’s opportunities on the labour market;
  • encouraging greater understanding and knowledge of youth. This comprises, in particular, the compilation of studies on youth matters and the networking of research structures.

On the basis of these four priorities, the Commission will be sending targeted questionnaires to EU countries from July 2002 onwards. EU countries’ answers should be based on consultation with young people, youth associations and, where applicable, national youth councils or similar organisations. The Commission will then draw up reports in order to identify good practices of common interest for EU countries and proposals for common objectives to be adopted by the Council.

For their part, EU countries are called on to implement the measures they judge appropriate in order to achieve the common objectives set by the Council.

Taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies

The Council calls on the Commission and EU countries to give the “youth” dimension greater priority in other policies and programmes. The Council, in cooperation with the Commission, reserves the right to add to the priority areas stated in the White Paper (education and lifelong learning, mobility, employment and social integration, combating racism and xenophobia and other priorities).


The new framework for cooperation is updated by the resolution adopted by the Council on 24 November 2005. This framework for cooperation comprises three strands:

Promoting active citizenship among young people

The open method of coordination in the field of youth allows EU countries to cooperate with a view to sharing best practice on participation by young people, information for young people, voluntary activities and a greater knowledge of the field of youth, while respecting the areas of responsibility set out in the Treaties.

The European Pact for Youth

The European Pact highlights youth issues in key areas of the Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs, particularly in relation to young people’s access to the labour market, development of their creativity and the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills. The European Pact also highlights skills acquired through high-quality, relevant education, training and mobility experiences in the formal as well as the non-formal sector, and reconciliation of working life and family life.

Incorporating a youth dimension

Incorporating a youth dimension in other European policies will concern in particular anti-discrimination, healthy lifestyles, including sport, and research on youth issues.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 25 October 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth: evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European policies concerning youth participation and information

European policies concerning youth participation and information

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European policies concerning youth participation and information


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

European policies concerning youth participation and information

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council on European policies concerning youth participation and information [COM(2006) 417 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Youth policies serve to facilitate young people’s transition into working life and develop their active citizenship at European level. The White Paper ” A new impetus for European Youth ” led to the adoption of a framework of European cooperation in the youth field, within which the Member States agreed to focus on four specific priorities to promote young people’s active citizenship:

  • information;
  • participation;
  • voluntary activities;
  • a better knowledge of youth.

National reports on participation and information were submitted to the Commission by the Member States. According to the Member States the two European priorities of “participation” and “information”, to which they apply the open method of coordination (OMC), have encouraged national youth policies and remain important for the development of young people’s active citizenship. But they recognise that they must continue to cooperate with each other and with their regional and local authorities if the process is to bear fruit.

This Communication analyses these reports and assesses the achievement of the common objectives in respect of the two above-mentioned priorities throughout the European Union (EU).


The common objectives on information for young people are based on three points: access for young people to information, quality information, and participation by young people in information production.

Access for young people to information

Information tools are available to young people in all Member States. However, only 12 countries have opted for an information strategy which addresses all questions likely to interest young people and which encompasses all levels, from local to European.

Youth information websites are the most important information means of communication information. The European youth portal, created in 2003, establishes links with the national youth portals in 19 Member States. The Member States recognise that this portal has enhanced inter-ministerial cooperation and exchanges in the field of youth information.

The reports express the Member States’ desire to:

  • further develop personalised information services,
  • help young people with fewer opportunities to access tools such as the internet so that they are not excluded from the society of information.

Action is above all based on issues such as free time, youth organisations and voluntary activities, while information on participation, education, employment and travelling in Europe is sometimes neglected.

England has a national online service (Connexions Direct) which offers young people information by telephone, text message, online or by e-mail. In Slovenia, youth information and counselling centres pay specific attention to the young Romany population. In Cyprus and Spain, young people in rural areas are provided with information by mobile units.

Information quality

Member States aim to ensure that information for young people meets certain quality standards. Accordingly, most of them apply the European youth information charter.

Networks play an important role in improving the skills of youth information workers. The European youth information networks EURODESK, ERYICA and EYCA help in the development of training courses for their members. They have also put together a compendium of initiatives regarding quality.

In France, youth information centres have their own staff training structure to ensure that quality standards are met. National quality standards supplement the European youth information charter.

Participation by young people in information generation

Hardly any action has been taken in this field. Nevertheless, a number of reports indicate that young people can be consulted on informational strategies and on the development of information material. In Slovakia, youth information centres cooperate with volunteers who distribute information for young people mainly in schools and universities.

Obstacles and challenges

Member States encounter certain difficulties in achieving the common objectives on youth information. These obstacles can be divided into three categories:

  • methodology: some Member States have emphasised how difficult it is to identify a starting point and indicators to assess progress;
  • coordination between actors: it is necessary to improve coordination between the different institutions concerned with youth;
  • lack of resources, particularly at local level.

The Member States intend to pursue the implementation of the common objectives. The key challenges awaiting them include improved involvement of national youth councils and focusing more on young people with fewer opportunities.

To improve access for young people to information services, the Commission considers it necessary to:

  • establish global information strategies addressing all issues relevant to young people;
  • promote information society tools and innovative approaches.

In the Commission’s view, quality information requires:

  • further development of individual counselling services;
  • systematic application of the European youth information charter.

It is also necessary to enhance the participation of young people in public information strategies and reinforce the role of youth organisations in promoting youth information.


Action to support young people’s participation in democratic life is better coordinated than in the past. The means used by Member States to achieve the common objectives for participation of young people are, namely, reinforcement of frameworks, support for participative and representative structures, and support for projects.

Reinforcement of frameworks

The legal framework in the field of youth participation has been improved. Some Member States have adopted legislation and others have developed strategic action plans or new obligations to consult young people. The following countries have adopted different measures:

  • Ireland: a youth law;
  • Czech Republic: a youth concept;
  • Portugal: a national youth reform programme;
  • Sweden: a government bill entitled “The power to decide”;
  • Estonia and Slovenia: a strategic plan;
  • Latvia: a political programme for youth;
  • Slovakia: a youth participation plan.

Italy provides special funds to support youth policies.

Support for participative and representative structures

A number of actions have been implemented with the aim of supporting participative structures and promoting dialogue with partners in the youth field. However, better interaction between the local, regional, national and European levels is needed. National reports also show the need for greater efforts at local level, and it is necessary to remove obstacles affecting the participation of certain groups of young people.

Forums for dialogue between young people and decision-makers have been organised more frequently, including regular consultations, meetings and hearings.

Some countries have nominated individuals to take responsibility for youth affairs. Finland has appointed a mediator, the United Kingdom a national youth correspondent, while Lithuania has opted for municipal youth coordinators.

Other countries have developed horizontal practices (e.g. inter-ministerial meetings) or have set up consultative structures such as:

  • national councils (most Member States);
  • youth commissions and local youth councils (Luxembourg, Belgium);
  • youth parliaments (Cyprus and Malta);
  • participative structures for youth (Greece and Spain);
  • structures more specifically for disadvantaged young people (Germany);
  • structures for young people in rural areas (Poland);
  • support structures for youth projects (Austria).

Young people’s interest in representative democracy is declining, but few Member States seem to be working on remedial action. However, some are introducing arrangements to increase young people’s participation in elections:

  • The Netherlands has introduced parallel elections for young people;
  • Finland allows voting in local elections from the age of 16;
  • France has introduced automatic registration in electoral lists;
  • Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have opted for use of the internet.

Support for projects

Participation by young people must be encouraged in fields where projects are undertaken, and young people must be the main actors in their participative projects. It is also essential to support relevant bodies such as youth organisations.

In some Member States efforts have been made to open up projects to young people with fewer opportunities. In France, the “Desire to do something” programme supports and rewards first projects by or for young people and finances innovative and creative projects as well as voluntary activities and entrepreneurial projects. In Denmark, the “Youth policy in Danish municipalities” project stresses the importance of involving young people more in policy-making.

Obstacles encountered

The difficulties encountered by Member States can be divided into four groups:

  • methodology: some Member States have emphasised how difficult it is to identify a starting point and indicators to assess progress;
  • lack of direct or indirect support: it is necessary to allocate resources to structures and projects, and also to provide stable support through legislative action, partnerships with young people or common tools;
  • lack of involvement of young people: although young people have the right not to participate, more can be done to encourage their involvement. Their peers could act as “ambassadors” willing to share their experience. Better recognition and promotion of the individual and social benefits of involvement would also encourage youth participation;
  • inertia of institutional actors: interaction between the local, regional and national levels needs to be improved, the development of youth participation structures should be given more support, and dialogue should be organised with young people on a broader range of issues. The mobilisation of local authorities is crucial for fostering local participation by young people.

As in the case of youth information, the EU Member States aim to pursue the common objectives. They confirm the importance of using information society tools for interactive policy participation (e.g. “policy blogging”) and of developing youth participation in elections.

The Commission feels that participation by young people in civic life necessitates:

  • structured consultation of young people on issues that concern them. This should entail reinforcing the role of national youth councils in the consultation process;
  • local participative structures and systematic involvement of young people in local decision-making bodies;
  • analysis of obstacles to participation affecting certain groups of young people in order to increase representativeness;
  • tools to promote participation (e.g. guidelines for participatory mechanisms).

It is also necessary to develop actions to increase participation by young people in the institutions of representative democracy (e.g. by promoting their involvement in political parties), so that young people take more part in representative democracy.

Finally, it is essential to support the various forms of learning to participate. In this connection synergies must be developed with actions undertaken in the education field. For example, at European level, closer links could be established with the open method of coordination for education and vocational training. Support for the different forms of learning to participate also necessitates better recognition of the different forms of participation by young people.


Structured dialogue with young people on the European agenda must be improved. The Commission and Member States have agreed on the need to involve young people actively in debate and dialogue for policy-making. The European institutions and Member States have made efforts to implement these principles in practice and foster the involvement of young people in EU development, for example by preparing:

  • a consultation process on the 2001 White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”;
  • regular encounters with youth organisations;
  • a European youth week;
  • consultations on the European youth portal;
  • youth events organised by the Presidency;
  • conferences, campaigns, forums and consultations in Member States.

However, the Commission considers that forums for dialogue with young people on European issues could be developed more and that their structures could be improved at European, national, regional and local levels.

Commission’s ideas for improving structured dialogue

In order to maximise their legitimacy, debates involving young people must be as inclusive and diverse as possible. It is therefore essential to involve disadvantaged young people and those who do not belong to any structures. In order to enable a more coherent and cross-sectoral approach, these debates should also bring together actors who deal directly or indirectly with youth issues.

The Commission plans to support a permanent dialogue for a period of three years in a spirit of constructive partnership. In particular, it proposes to:

  • facilitate dialogue at local level to ensure timely and effective input from young people into EU debates;
  • identify priority themes to be discussed at European level until 2009: social inclusion and diversity in 2007, intercultural dialogue in 2008 and perspectives for continued cooperation in the youth field in 2009;
  • create an informal forum attended by representatives of young people, presidencies, the European Parliament and the Commission;
  • regularly organise a European youth week with the participation of Commissioners and representatives of other European institutions;
  • arrange encounters with young people who do not usually have contacts with the European institutions;
  • organise a youth-specific Eurobarometer (end of 2006);
  • mobilise European information networks to support structured dialogue.


The Commission is of the opinion that the OMC should be reinforced. In this connection it proposes that:

  • Member States should single out by the end of 2006 those lines of action for participation and information on which they wish to concentrate and define action plans;
  • Member States should set up a follow-up mechanism involving young people and their organisations and prepare an evaluation report by the end of 2008;
  • Member States should take part, on a voluntary basis, in pilot peer reviews of information and participation;
  • Member States should promote the common objectives among regional and local authorities, youth organisations and young people in general;
  • the Commission itself should consult the European Youth Forum on any proposal relating to the OMC;
  • a working group should define indicators for the implementation of the common objectives on participation and information.

The Council is asked to endorse the proposals set out in the Communication.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 10 May 2006: “A citizens’ agenda – Delivering results for Europe” [COM(2006) 211 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

White Paper of 1 February 2006 on a European communication policy [COM(2006) 35 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 30 May 2005 on European policies concerning youth – Addressing the concerns of young people in Europe – Implementing the European youth pact and promoting active citizenship [COM(2005) 206 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 13 October 2005 on the Commission’s contribution to the period of reflection and beyond – Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate [COM(2005) 494 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European Commission White Paper of 21 November 2001: “A new impetus for European youth” [COM(2001) 681 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework for promoting employee financial participation


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

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 5 July 2002, framework for the promotion of employee financial participation [COM(2002) 364 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


At the Lisbon Summit, the Union set itself the goal of “becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. Employee participation can make a significant contribution to realising this aim. If it is handled properly, it can not only increase companies’ productivity, competitiveness and profitability but also encourage employee participation, increase the quality of employment and contribute to greater social cohesion.

The positive results that financial participation schemes for employees have produced in many countries certainly have some bearing on the fact that this question has become a Union-wide political priority. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprises have started to become aware of the possibilities offered by such schemes, i.e. motivating employees and aligning their interests with those of the shareholders, and also recruiting and keeping staff. Employee participation in profits and enterprise results therefore goes hand in hand with a certain number of advantages for enterprises, employees and the economy as a whole.

Forms of financial participation

Financial participation of employees in the profits and results of the enterprise may take many different forms. The common element – and their main characteristic – lies in the fact that they are intended to give employees, usually all employees, access to the enterprise’s profits and/or results.

The PEPPER reports (PEPPER I and PEPPER II) on promoting employee participation in profits and enterprise results and Council Recommendation 92/443/EEC divided the types of financial participation schemes into two main categories:

  • participation in profits, i.e., sharing of profits between those providing the capital and those providing the labour by giving employees a variable income, in addition to their fixed pay, linked with the profits or another measure of the enterprise’s results.
  • employee shareholding, which offers employees indirect participation in the enterprise’s results in the form of dividends and/or appreciation of the value of the capital they hold.

This communication deals with the following main aspects of employee financial participation:

  • the general principles;
  • transnational obstacles;
  • promotion of more widespread financial participation.

General principles

A review of the various forms of financial participation has shown how different the schemes are. Nevertheless, there are some essential elements and principles which characterise the majority of the schemes and the Member States’ policies.

The general principles defined in this communication may serve as a benchmark for identifying good practice;

  • voluntary participation: schemes for financial participation must be set up to respond to the real needs and interests of all the parties concerned and should not therefore be imposed;
  • the advantages of financial participation should be extended to all employees: some of the main advantages of financial participation are that employees identify more with the enterprise and it creates a sense of belonging and increases their motivation;
  • clarity and transparency: the financial participation schemes must enable employees to fully weigh up the risks and potential advantages of the scheme;
  • predefined formula: the rules on financial participation in companies must be based on a predefined formula and clearly linked to the enterprise’s results. This is vital to guarantee the transparency of such schemes;
  • regularity: these financial participation schemes must be applied regularly (this is important as the schemes are intended to reinforce and reward sustained loyalty on the part of employees);
  • any unreasonable risk for employees should be avoided: compared with other “investors”, employees generally bear the brunt of any economic problems their company runs into. This being so, it is important to take care to prevent any risks in setting up and managing the financial participation scheme;
  • a distinction should be made between pay and income from financial participation schemes;
  • compatibility with employee mobility: financial participation schemes must be set up so as to be compatible with employee mobility, both at international level and between companies.

Transnational obstacles

Differences in tax systems, social security contributions and the general legal framework or even cultural differences frequently make it impossible for enterprises to devise and apply a joint financial participation scheme in various places in Europe.

The main transnational obstacles are as follows:

  • differences in tax systems, which can raise problems on two fronts: double taxation or no taxation and substantial administrative costs for enterprises wishing to set up financial participation schemes in various countries;
  • the level of social security contributions, which can vary from one country to another and sometime discourages enterprises from extending financial participation schemes to certain countries;
  • national differences in law which can delay the introduction of financial participation at transnational level;
  • cultural differences and diverging views on financial participation, different national traditions or differences in social relations;
  • a lack of mutual recognition of financial participation schemes;
  • lack of information on financial participation schemes and policies in favour of existing financial participation.

How to promote financial participation

In order to increase employee financial participation in profits and enterprise results in Europe, the Member States have to pursue and intensify their efforts to set up a favourable legal and fiscal environment. Furthermore, as the extent to which financial participation has become established varies from one country to another, there is considerable scope for stepping up the exchange of information and experience.

The Commission will promote the exchange of information and good practice by activities such as making comparative assessments of national policies and practices, including financial participation in the peer review programme under the Employment Guidelines or organising national conferences.

Reinforcing social dialogue

All the evidence suggests that the advantages of financial participation are greater when the schemes are introduced in a partnership with employees and when they are part of an overall approach to participatory management.

The Commission attaches particular importance to supporting the social partners’ initiatives on financial participation, including exchanges of information and experience, formation of networks and research and studies.

Financial participation and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

The advantages of employee financial participation are not confined to large enterprises with profitability concerns. SMEs can also benefit from these advantages. The Commission attaches particular importance to the specific situation of SMEs and encourages research into their specific problems.

Improving information by research and studies

The Commission continues to support and carry out research projects to provide supply any information which is missing. It focuses particularly on collecting data on how and where participation schemes are implemented, the impact of financial participation on company performance, quality of work, social cohesion and the situation of financial participation in acceding countries. It also asks the European Foundation for Improving Living and Working Conditions to pursue its activities in the field of employee financial participation.

Establishing networks

In order to step up dissemination of information and experience and to make the possibilities of financial participation more widely known, it is important to promote a permanent dialogue at European level. The Commission supports the establishment of the following networks: university networks and networks of experts, social partners, enterprises and institutes.

Financial support for financial participation initiatives

Financial support is available via various channels: the “Industrial relations and social dialogue” budget heading and Community incentive measures in the field of employment. Under Article 6 of the Regulation on the European Social Fund, the Commission may finance innovative action designed to promote new approaches and identify examples of good practice.

The activities set out in this Communication initially cover the period 2002-2004. Following this, the progress achieved in meeting the defined objectives will be assessed in a process that will closely involve all the parties concerned. A decision will be taken on future initiatives on the basis of this assessment.

Actions and tools for integration

Actions and tools for integration

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Actions and tools for integration


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

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Actions and tools for integration

Document or Iniciative

Commission Staff Working Document of 8 October 2008 – Strengthening actions and tools to meet integration challenges – Report to the 2008 Ministerial Conference on Integration [SEC(2008) 2626 – Not published in the Official Journal].


This report presents the past actions and those that still need to be taken in order to develop European integration policies. The focus rests on participation, diversity management and common indicators, the priority areas for the approaches to integration. Attention is also brought to developments in the fields of employment, social inclusion and education as means of fostering immigrants’ participation in their host societies.

Promoting immigrants’ access to rights and fulfilment of their responsibilities as citizens allows for the creation of a closer connection with the host societies. Although forms of participation and policies on citizenship are varied, Member States’ policies on participation remain insufficient. In order to further immigrants’ integration, their participation in the democratic process must be supported. At the same time, information on the criteria for acquiring nationality needs to be provided and the administrative barriers reduced.

At the European Union (EU) level, integration is considered as a “dynamic two-way process of mutual accommodation” by both the immigrants and the host societies. Several migration-related diversity initiatives have already been launched at the EU and national levels. The two imminent initiatives that aim to bring together immigrants and the host populations consist of a one-stop-shop website on integration for networking among stakeholders and the European Integration Forum for dialoguing with the organised civil society. However, additional work needs to be undertaken by the host societies to foster understanding of immigrants and to guarantee immigrants’ participation.

Effective integration policies can empower immigrants and thus contribute to the prevention of their social alienation. Several initiatives that bring together stakeholders to discuss issues relating to intercultural dialogue and their role in the integration of immigrants have already been pursued. Intercultural and inter-/intra-religious dialogue are seen as effective tools in the fight against racism, xenophobia, discrimination and isolation of immigrants. However, intercultural competences must be further developed by taking a sustainable and cross-sectoral approach to intercultural dialogue and by mainstreaming it into all relevant policy areas.

Integration processes have already been the focus of several studies and different integration measures have already been initiated at the EU and national levels. Therefore, it is essential to build on these experiences by using them as a basis for the common European modules for integration. The foundation for these modules will be derived, in particular, from the Handbooks on Integration. The aim is to provide a flexible and adaptable reference point for the creation of comprehensive integration programmes.

Monitoring and evaluation practices are essential for developing and improving integration policies. Several solutions for developing common indexes already exist; nevertheless, more systematic approaches are needed for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information relating to integration. To this end, the Commission, in cooperation with experts, aims to conceive appropriate indicators that will also concentrate on the outcomes and deliverables and allow for the comparative analysis of integration policies. The results derived from these indicators will be published on the future website on integration.

In order to further promote the participation of immigrants, their integration in terms of employment, social inclusion and education should be ensured. Employment, in particular, is considered as integral to immigrants’ participation in the host society and as an essential element in the integration process. Consequently, immigrants’ access to the labour market should be facilitated.

Social inclusion and access to social protection are also crucial to the integration process. Poverty, barriers to accessing social services and discrimination undermine immigrants’ participation in the host society. Therefore, immigrants’ social inclusion constitutes one of the priorities within the EU social inclusion strategy. This topic will form the subject of the 2010 European thematic year.

Education and training must also be incorporated into integration policies as they are fundamental in promoting immigrants’ participation. At the same time, education and training also provide the material for building cultural bridges and hence a more cohesive society. For the moment though, immigrant children and youth face particular educational challenges that need to be addressed.


This report is in response to the Council Conclusions on integration of June 2007. The Council had called on the Commission to report back on the consolidation of the Common Agenda for Integration that was adopted in 2005 and on the implementation of the Common Basic Principles on integration (CBPs). It also follows on from the Commission Communication “A Common Immigration Policy for Europe: Principles, actions and tools” of June 2008.

Rights of shareholders in listed companies

Rights of shareholders in listed companies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights of shareholders in listed companies


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

Internal market > Financial services: transactions in securities

Rights of shareholders in listed companies

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the exercise of certain rights of shareholders in listed companies.


This Directive establishes the minimum requirements to facilitate the exercise of shareholders’ rights at general meetings of listed companies, particularly on a cross-border basis. It also aims to take account of the possibilities presented by modern technologies.

The Directive applies to all companies with their registered office in a Member State of the European Union and shares admitted to trading on a regulated market*. Nevertheless, Member States may exempt from this Directive undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS), undertakings whose sole purpose is the collective investment of capital provided by the public and cooperative societies.

As regards information to be communicated prior to the general meeting, companies must:

  • Issue the convocation no later than the twenty-first day before the day of the general meeting;
  • Include essential information in the convocation (date, location of general meeting, proposed agenda, description of voting and participation procedures, etc.);
  • Publish on the company’s internet site the convocation , the full text of draft resolutions and essential practical information (total number of shares and voting rights, documents intended to be submitted, or a comment against each agenda item, voting forms, if applicable).

Shareholders, either individually or collectively, must be able to put items on the agenda, which will result in a revised agenda, and to submit draft resolutions. This right may nevertheless be limited to shareholders having a minimum holding of 5% of the company’s capital. The Member State also needs to set a single deadline by which these rights should be exercised.

Shareholders may ask questions related to items on the agenda and the company is obliged to answer the questions. However, these rights are still subject to the necessary measures being taken to identify the shareholder or to ensure the good order of the general meeting.

As a result of this Directive, shareholders’ participation and voting at the general meeting may not be subject to any particular limitation other than the record date. People who are shareholders on the record date are entitled to vote at the meeting. Each Member State stipulates a single record date applying to all the listed companies registered on its territory, although they may exempt companies who issue registered shares and who are therefore able to identify all their shareholders on the date of the meeting. The record date may not be earlier than 30 days prior to the date of the general meeting and must be at least 8 days after the date for the convocation of the meeting.

Voting methods

Member States must abolish any restrictions on shareholder participation at general meetings by electronic means.

Each shareholder may vote by proxy, by issuing a proxy to any natural or legal person to participate at the general meeting and to exercise the shareholder’s rights in their own name. Member States shall abolish any restriction regarding the eligibility of persons to be appointed as proxy holders, except for requirements pertaining to legal capacity. However, Member States may impose certain restrictions or obligations in the event of potential conflicts of interest between the shareholder and the proxy holder. The number of proxy holders and the period of their appointment may also be restricted.

Member States must authorise shareholders to appoint (and revoke) their proxy holder by electronic means. Member States may not submit the validity of a proxy to any requirement other than the fact that it should be made in writing.

When national law requires prior disclosure of certain information when exercising the right to vote, that information may not, in the case of shareholders acting in a professional capacity for a client, exceed what is strictly necessary to identify the client and the number of various shares with voting rights held by the client.

Member States must authorise companies to offer their shareholders the option of voting by correspondence prior to the general meeting.

Companies must account for the exact number of votes for each resolution. However, if no shareholders request an account, Member States may allow companies only to account for the number of votes required to obtain the majority in order to pass a resolution. Companies must publish the results of voting at general meetings on their internet site no later than 15 days after the meeting is held.


In its 2003 Communication entitled “Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the European Union -A Plan to Move Forward” [COM (2003) 284 final], the Commission proposed initiatives to improve the rights of shareholders in listed companies and to resolve the issue of cross-border voting. Directive 2004/109/EC provided responses regarding information that issuers need to disclose to the market. This Directive aims to improve investor protection by making it easier for them to access information and to exercise their rights, especially on a cross-border basis.

Key terms in the act

  • Regulated market: a multilateral system, operated and/or managed by a market operator, which brings together or facilitates the bringing together of multiple third-party buying and selling interests in financial instruments.



Entry into force

Timescale for transposition into Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2007/36/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2005/0265]


(Art.10(3): 3.8.2012)

OJ L 184, 14.7.2007