Tag Archives: Partnership

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

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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 > Asia

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decisions 94/578/EC, 95/129/EC, 96/354/EC, 2001/332/EC and 2004/870/EC concerning the conclusion of the cooperation agreements between the European Community, of the one part, and of the other part, the Republic of India, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Nepal, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, respectively.

Summary

Between 1994 and 2004, the European Union (EU) concluded five similar cooperation agreements with five countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These agreements aim to develop the cooperation ties between the partners, while ensuring a respect for human rights and promoting democratic principles.

The main cooperation objectives concern:

  • trade, with the aim of increasing, diversifying and liberalising trade. Therefore, the parties must improve the opening up of their respective markets, and enhance their cooperation in customs matters in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • economy, in order to improve the business environment, dialogue between economic operators, information exchange, and entrepreneur training;
  • sustainable development, specifically for social progress and combating poverty. The EU must support the progress of partners in the fields of health, education, improving the standard of living, and promoting the role of women in society;
  • the development of human resources, vocational qualifications and the promotion of international standards on decent work;
  • rural development, increasing trade in agricultural, fisheries and farmed products, including the improvement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Agreements also provide specific objectives depending on the different needs of the country for:

  • scientific and technological cooperation, which should lead to improvements in the technical assistance with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh’s quality and control standards, and the launching of joint research projects, the mobility of researchers, and exchanges of scientific information (particularly in the fields of bio-technology, new materials and geosciences) with India;
  • environmental protection, particularly to support Pakistan and Nepal in natural resource management, erosion and deforestation; Bangladesh for reducing the risks of natural disasters; Sri Lanka for preventing industrial pollution, and India for drafting and implementing environmental legislation, research and training;
  • improving the environment for private investment with India, Nepal and Sri Lanka;
  • developing industry and services with India and Pakistan;
  • protecting intellectual property rights with India and Sri Lanka;
  • cooperation in the fields of information, culture and communications with Pakistan and Bangladesh;
  • promoting the energy sector with India, Pakistan and Nepal, recognising the importance of the energy sector for their economic and social development;
  • combating drug trafficking and money laundering, particularly with Pakistan and Bangladesh using special measures against the production and trafficking of drugs, and also the prevention of drug abuse;
  • tourism with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, particularly through studies and information exchange.

Context

SAARC is a regional cooperation organisation, established in 1985 in order to accelerate the economic and social development of its Member States. These Member States are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The EU has observer member status in the organisation, as does Burma/Myanmar, China, South Korea, the United States, Iran, Japan and Mauritius.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/578/EC Republic of India

1.8.1994

OJ L 223 of 27.8.1994

Decision 95/129/EC the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

1.4.1995

OJ L 85 of 19.4.1995

Decision 2004/870/EC, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

1.9.2004

OJ L 378 of 23.12.2004

Decision 2001/332/EC People’s Republic of Bangladesh

1.3.2001

OJ L 118 of 27.4.2001

Decision 96/354/EC Kingdom of Nepal

1.6.1996

OJ L 137 of 8.6.1996

Related Acts

Communication concerning the entry into force, in trade between the European Community and the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of the provisions laid down in Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1602/2000, concerning the definition of the concept of ‘originating products’ for the purpose of applying tariff preferences granted by the Community to certain products from developing countries (regional cumulation of origin)) [OJ C 265 of 15.9.2000].

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

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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 > Asia

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

Document or Iniciative

Commission guidance document of September 10 entitled “A maturing partnership – shared interests and challenges in EU-China relations” (updating of Commission communications of 1998 and 2001 on EU-China relations) [COM(2003) 533 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This document, adopted by the Council on 13 October 2003, reviews the achievements of the 2001 strategy towards China, and the 1998 document aimed at establishing a “global partnership” with the country. The Commission believes that the overall objectives are still largely valid, but recognises the need to update the action plan.

The new maturity of this relationship is based on closer coordination. The range of issues has widened, political dialogue has evolved and a number of sectoral agreements have been concluded. In the current climate, there is undeniable interest in acting as strategic partners, given the increasing importance of both actors on the world stage and their converging positions, particularly with regard to the essential role of organisations and multilateral systems.

Charting a course for EU action

The document sets out five priority areas, each accompanied by its context, its implementation since 2001 and the new actions proposed by the EU and China. The first is shared responsibilities in promoting global governance. According to the Commission, China could play a fundamental role in reconciling the interests of developing and developed countries, and in promoting peace and stability in Asia.

With an increasingly active and constructive foreign policy, China has seen how well the measures proposed by the 2001 strategy have progressed. Political dialogue has been strengthened, with priority on human rights and participation in it diversified. Issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao have also been addressed, as have disarmament and global environmental issues.

Co-operation on Burma/Myanmar, illegal migration and trafficking in human beings has been stepped up. On the issue of trafficking, the Commission wants to conclude a readmission agreement.

New actions proposed by the Commission in this area include reinforced political dialogue that stresses quality over quantity through the organisation of more frequent consultations, and the coordination of Member States’ policies towards China, putting China on the agenda in the EU’s dialogue with certain third countries.

There are three levels of priorities for political dialogue:

  • bilateral: human rights, finding a solution to the question of Tibet, illegal migration, greater cooperation in areas of justice and home affairs, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan;
  • regional: strengthening cooperation on issues of mutual concern in the region as regards to assuring peace and security, a continuation of China’s dynamic approach in the ASEM process, enhancing consultations with China on the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to reinforce the ARF’s role on regional security issues;
  • global: more frequent dialogue on global governance issues, the promotion of a coordinated approach and of joint EU-China initiatives, the promotion of multilateralism, of security, non-proliferation/disarmament issues, strengthened dialogue on counter-terrorism, collaboration in the face of global environmental challenges and joint research into SARS.

The second activity is supporting China’s transition to an open society based upon the rule of law and the respect for human rights. China has made progress towards the rule of law, and civil society has developed significantly. There is, however, still a significant gap between the current human rights situation in China and internationally accepted standards. Although EU-China dialogue has borne fruit, through the organisation of seminars, exchanges of views and assistance programmes, there are still issues to be resolved, such as the death penalty, administrative detention and torture. Freedom of expression, of religion and of association and the rights of minorities are still causes for concern.

The proposed new actions involve stepping up cooperation projects to complement the dialogue. This dialogue should be carried out at junior minister level, focusing on areas that are lagging behind, placing emphasis on increased visibility and transparency, and promoting exchanges between experts. Cooperation programmes should revolve around human rights and good governance, with training programmes for legal professionals, and a sharing of know-how and ensuring that it is widely applied. A third aspect involves support for civil society, encouraging contacts and providing assistance for capacity-building and the creation of networks.

Promoting China’s economic opening at home and abroad is the third activity proposed. China’s integration into the world economy is in everyone’s interest, and the Commission is eager to assist in the process. In the wake of its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has benefited greatly from globalisation, becoming a powerhouse of economic growth for the region.

Despite progress in internal reform, some problems remain. They are mainly linked to market access, services, the enforcement of intellectual property rights and adherence to international standards. Reform and opening have been accompanied by a significant rise in unemployment and underemployment, creating a sizeable rural-urban divide.

In 2001, an EU network was created to track China’s implementation of WTO commitments, with regular consultations and joint studies. Sectoral dialogue has also been stepped up, notably with regard to industrial products, the information society, environmental policies, research and the promotion of human development. New bilateral agreements have been drawn up for maritime transport and the “authorised destination status”. Proposals for agreements on administrative assistance for satellite navigation have also been set up.

The Commission believes that new actions are required in the following areas:

  • the WTO, trade and investment; The Commission is putting forward various initiatives for the adoption of WTO commitments, the Doha Development Agenda, regional integration, intellectual property rights, support for initiatives from Community industry, and other measures linked directly to trade;
  • sectoral issues, including industrial products, the information society, sanitary and phyto-sanitary questions, energy and environmental policies, nuclear research, science and technology, the ITER fusion research project and a cooperation agreement in the framework of the Galileo satellite navigation project;
  • economic and social reform; The Commission proposes supporting reforms in all these areas, promoting exchanges of experience in areas of regional and macroeconomic policies, a cooperation project for the reform of social security, dialogue on industrial policy and efforts to involve civil society more closely.

The fourth activity is the EU-China Co-operation Programme – a mutually beneficial partnership underpinning EU objectives. China is part of many Union-financed programmes in the Asian region (the Asia Information Technology and Communication Programme, Asia-Invest, Asia-Link, etc.), which has improved its cooperation with the Union. There is, however, a delay in the implementation of the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for 2002-2004, and the Commission therefore proposes completing the mid-term NIP review and drawing up a new programme to cover 2005-2006. The Chinese authorities should be involved in its preparation, and the multiannual approach should be maintained. Coordination with, and consideration of existing horizontal assistance programmes is also needed.

The fifth and final activity aims at increased EU visibility in China. The increasing access of individual Chinese citizens to sources of information should allow the EU get its message across. The Commission proposes to concentrate on four points: sharing China’s concern for a more balanced international order, the defence of a number of shared values, support for reforms underway in China, and the fact that the EU is a major global trading power and market.

Further Commission proposals in this domain include a series of activities such as a study of the perception of the EU in China, spreading more information, raising awareness in China of EU cooperation with China, and reinforcing people-to-people exchanges. Rationalising the current institutional structure, and prioritising quality and effective coordination are other concerns for which the Commission has solutions to propose.

Related Acts

Council Decision of 16 November 2004 on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters [Official Journal L 375 of 23.12.2004].

Proposal of 23 April 2004 for a Council Decision on the signing of the Cooperation Agreement on a Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) – GALILEO between the European Community and its Member States and the People’s Republic of China [COM(2003) 578 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

2004/265/EC: Council Decision of 8 March 2004 concerning the conclusion of thebetween the European Community and the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China on visa and related issues concerning tourist groups from the People’s Republic of China (ADS) [Official Journal L 083 of 20.03.2004].

Strategy document for China 2002-2006, approved on 1 March 2002 ( )

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 May 2001, “EU Strategy towards China: Implementation of the 1998 Communication and Future Steps for a more Effective EU Policy” [COM(2001) 265 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

2000/16/EC: Council Decision of 2 December 1999 concluding the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China [Official Journal L 006 of 11.01.2000].

Communication from the Commission of 25 March 1998 – Building a comprehensive partnership with China [COM (1998) 181 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission – A long-term Policy for China-Europe Relations [COM(1995) 279 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2616/85 of 16 September 1985 concerning the conclusion of abetween the European Economic Community and the People’s Republic of China [Official Journal L 250 of 19.09.1985].

Special partnership with Cape Verde

Special partnership with Cape Verde

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Special partnership with Cape Verde

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Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Special partnership with Cape Verde

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 October 2007 on the future of relations between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde [COM(2007) 641 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Republic of Cape Verde and the EU are united by historical, human, religious, linguistic and cultural ties. They share fundamental socio-political values such as democracy and human rights and the promotion of good governance, peace, security and the fight against terrorism and crime. Specifically, they share a number of priorities as regards the fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration, as a result of which Cape Verde is expected to intensify police and judicial cooperation with the EU.

The EU-Cape Verde special partnership

In view of the increasing interest of Cape Verde in approaching the EU, its outermost regions (ORs) of the North Atlantic (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries) in particular, and in order to respond to the mutual interests of the EU and Cape Verde as regards security and development, the Commission proposes a special partnership. This partnership is intended to strengthen dialogue and policy convergence between the two parties, in the context of the implementation of the Cotonou agreement.

The partnership considered is characterised by:

  • strengthening of political dialogue between the two parties, on the basis of an action plan covering the priorities for the development process of the special partnership and including the cooperation instruments provided for in the Cotonou agreement;
  • a search for forms of complementary cooperation to add to the traditional measures implemented under the Cotonou agreement;
  • promotion of an evolving process, based on a flexible action plan that can be adapted to the development of the country and of its relations with the EU and third countries;
  • pursuit of further progress in the area of good governance in Cape Verde;
  • support for closer ties with the ORs and the rest of the EU by intensifying relations with the West Africa region and within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);
  • promotion of convergence on European norms and standards, in order to strengthen the country’s comparative advantages.

The partnership will offer new perspectives. In particular, it will:

  • strengthen cooperation between the two parties at a political, economic, commercial, administrative and judicial level;
  • ensure convergence between legislation on economic and technical standards;
  • offer Cape Verde, within the framework of closer links with the ORs, access to the EU’s internal market and the possibility to participate gradually in a number of EU policies and programmes;
  • promote activities aimed at bringing Cape Verde closer to the Community acquis in the areas covered by the action plan.

The partnership action plan, which represents the overall strategic framework, is based on the following pillars:

  • The good governance policy pursued by Cape Verde, and especially the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and the participation of civil society. The partnership will also focus on the rights of children and women, the integration of immigrants, the fight against domestic violence and also the reform of the justice and public finance sectors.
  • Security and stability, through actions implemented on a cross-border and regional basis in particular, in the areas of the fight against transnational organised crime, efficient management of migration flows and maritime security.
  • Regional integration, both at OR level (through the country’s participation in the transnational Madeira, Azores, Canaries (MAC) cooperation programme for the period 2007-2013 and the cooperation mechanisms within the outermost regions) and at West Africa level (by taking into account the specificity of Cape Verde within the Economic Partnership Agreement and the use of the resources of the European Development Fund (EDF) regional indicative programmes).
  • Convergence of technology and standards policies in the sectors covered by the action plan.
  • Progress towards a “knowledge-based society” by encouraging economic, social and cultural development though education, research and information and communication technologies.
  • The fight against poverty, in particular through environmental protection, the protection of natural resources, the preservation of the marine environment and closer cooperation in the area of fisheries.

The implementation of the action plan will be funded mainly by the EDF and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of the MAC programme for the period 2007-2013. Moreover, the European Community’s general budget will support specific activities, in particular thematic programmes funded by the development cooperation instrument, and also activities financed by the stability instrument, the instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights and the humanitarian aid instrument. This funding will be added to the resources of the Cape Verde government.

The action plan will be of indefinite duration and will be reviewed periodically. The EU troika will ensure its follow-up and its implementation at political and technical level.

Related Acts

Council conclusions on the future of relations between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde. General Affairs and External Relations Council– 19 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Clean Sky

Clean Sky

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Clean Sky

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Environment > Air pollution

Clean Sky

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 of 18 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking.

Summary

The “Clean Sky” joint technology initiative (JTI) is part of the “Cooperation” specific programme (7th framework programme for research and technological development).

Aims

Created to run until 31 December 2017, Clean Sky aims principally to:

  • accelerate the development of clean air transport technologies;
  • guarantee effective coordination of aeronautics research on a European scale;
  • set up an innovative and competitive air transport system;
  • improve knowledge generation and use of research findings.

In terms of figures, “Clean Sky” aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 %, NOx by 80 % and noise pollution by 50 % by 2020.

“Integrated Technology Demonstrators” (ITD)

Six technical domains, covering all aspects of aircraft technology and known as “integrated technology demonstrators” form the structure of “Clean Sky”. They provide a framework for research operations from the experimental phase to in-flight demonstrations.

Specifically, the six ITD are:

  • the Smart Fixed Wing ITD targeting wing technologies;
  • the Green Regional Aircraft ITD (engines, energy management and new silent configurations);
  • the Green Rotorcraft ITD targeting installation of innovative blades and engines which are quieter, reduce drag, are more fuel-efficient and use environmentally-friendly flight paths;
  • the Systems for Green Operations ITD targeting equipment, architecture and thermal management;
  • the Sustainable and Green Engines ITD integrating technologies for quiet, low weight, low pressure systems and reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx);
  • the Eco-Design ITD, which will focus on the full life cycles of materials and components (design, manufacture, maintenance and destruction/recycling).

An independent technical evaluator will assess and monitor the results of research carried out in these various sectors in order to optimise the impact of the programme in terms of achieving its environmental objectives.

Members and bodies

Its founding members are:

  • the European Union (EU) represented by the Commission;
  • twelve ITD leaders and associates;
  • any public or private entity (industry, company, SME, research centre, university, etc.) established in a Member State or in a country associated with the 7th Framework Programme which, under certain conditions and subject to the consent of the governing board, may request membership.

Its bodies are:

  • the Governing Board;
  • the Executive Director;
  • the ITD Steering Committees;
  • the Technology Evaluator Steering Committee;
  • the General Forum.

A National States Representative Group will act as an external advisory body to the undertaking.

Budget

The maximum Community contribution will be EUR 800 million paid from the budget appropriation allocated to the “Transport” theme of the “Cooperation” Specific Programme. Added to this is a contribution which is at least equivalent from the other members of the undertaking, giving a total budget of EUR 1.6 billion.

General information

As a Community body, “Clean Sky” has legal status.

Further information on the objectives and activities of the “Clean Sky” JTI, its status and operation, the role and tasks of its members and bodies, and its funding, are available in the annex to the Regulation.

Background

In addition to “Clean Sky”, five other initiatives of this type are planned in the areas of miniaturisation (ENIAC), invisible information systems (ARTEMIS), innovative medicine, hydrogen and fuel cells and global monitoring for environment and security (GMES).

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 71/2008

7.2.2008 – 31.12.2017

OJ L 30 of 4.2.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 have been integrated into the original text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure

Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure

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External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 13 July 2007 – Interconnecting Africa: the EU-Africa partnership on infrastructure [COM(2006) 376 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Infrastructure in Africa: state of play

Limited access to transport, telecommunications, and energy and drinking-water services constitutes an important obstacle to reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. The development of suitable infrastructure and related services will make it possible to increase economic growth and stimulate trade and regional integration.

African transport systems remain underdeveloped, the movement of persons and goods being based essentially on road transport, with its insufficient connections and services. The continent’s energy potential, while high, is not used efficiently. Water resources are unequally distributed and subject to significant seasonal fluctuations; moreover, most of the population does not have access to drinking water and to basic sanitation. Lastly, access to telecommunications services is costly and patchy, with the African digital divide being the highest in the world.

In the 1990s, African governments and European Union (EU) Member States gradually reduced the resources allocated to developing infrastructure in the continent. More investment is therefore needed. The EU intends to pursue the progress that has already been made thanks to cooperation between the Commission, African governments and other donors. For example, the development of trade and regional economic integration have benefited from the improvement of the primary road network and seaports.

A partnership for meeting challenges

Faced with these challenges, the EU is launching a partnership with Africa for the development of large infrastructure networks in the continent. The partnership is based on the EU strategy for Africa and on the objectives defined by the short-term action plan in the field of infrastructure (i-STAP) of the African Union (AU) and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development).

The partnership is based mainly on infrastructure allowing interconnection at continental and regional level in Africa, namely:

  • transport (road and railway networks, ports, maritime and river routes, air transport), in order to reduce costs and improve the quality of services;
  • water and sanitation networks, in order to improve the management of water resources at local, national and cross-border basin level, and also access to drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities;
  • energy, in order to allow network extension, distribution in rural areas and improvement of cross-border connections;
  • information and communication technologies (ICT), to ensure adequate access to affordable technologies by supporting regulatory reform, capacity building and broadband infrastructure development.

The partnership supports physical infrastructure investment, institutional development measures and capacity building, as well as support measures for the political and regulatory framework at national level.

Africa could also benefit from the experience acquired by the EU through the development of Trans-European Networks (TENs) of regional infrastructure, in particular, the methodology for identifying priority projects and the principles for consensus-building on the harmonisation of regulatory frameworks.

Partnership operations are guided by a desire for coherence between investments at continental and regional level and national strategies for the development of infrastructure and combating poverty. The partnership therefore functions at three levels:

  • at the continental level, UA-NEPAD coordinates continental and regional priority setting;
  • at the regional level, regional indicative programmes support the policy and regulatory frameworks accompanying physical investments;
  • at the national level, UA-NEPAD and EU delegations jointly supervise national actions contributing to the achievement of partnership objectives.

The funding of operations under the partnership is based on several instruments:

  • the regional and national allocations under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), i.e. €5.6 billion. This amount represents a significant increase in the resources allocated thus far by the EDF to African infrastructures (€3.75 billion under the 9th EDF);
  • intra-ACP resources, including those allocated through the energy and water facilities.
  • the new fiduciary fund set up by the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB), aimed at cross-border infrastructure investments in particular. This fund is co-financed by the Commission, the Member States concerned and European and African financial development institutions. During the initial phase (2006-2007), the fund was credited with €87 million, which will be allocated in the form of grants from the Community and Member States, and another €260 million to be allocated in the form of loans by the EIB.

In order to ensure the success of the partnership, effective coordination between the Commission, Member States and other international initiatives and organisations such as the World Bank and the EIB is necessary. This coordination should bolster ownership of projects by beneficiaries, in particular through political commitment by governments to applying good governance in all infrastructure sectors. Private sector participation in the partnership is also encouraged.


Key figures of the Act
  • Total population of Africa with no access to drinking water: 42 %.
  • Total population with no access to basic sanitation: 60 %.
  • Total population with no access to electricity: more than 80%.
  • Total potential hydroelectric capacity converted into electricity: 7 %.

Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Topics

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

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Document or Iniciative

Final Declaration of the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference of 27 and 28 November 1995 and its work programme.

Summary

The European Union (EU) establishes a multilateral cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean basin. This partnership represents a new phase in their relationship. For the first time it addresses economic, social, human, and cultural aspects and questions of common security.

This partnership became a reality with the adoption of the Barcelona Declaration by the EU Member States and the following 12 Mediterranean non-member countries (MNCs): Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. The League of Arab States and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) (FR) were invited, as was Mauritania as a member of the UMA.

The partnership is based on a spirit of solidarity, with due regard for the characteristics specific to each of the participants. It supplements the other activities and initiatives undertaken in the interests of the peace, stability and development of the region.

Political and security partnership

The first objective of the partnership is to promote the emergence of a common area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean. This objective is to be achieved through multilateral political dialogue, in addition to the bilateral dialogues provided for by the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. The partners therefore undertake to:

  • respect human rights and fundamental principles by applying the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law, and and to exchange information in these areas;
  • respect the principles of the rule of law and democracy, while recognising the right of each partner to choose and freely develop its own political, socio-cultural, economic and judicial system;
  • respect the sovereignty of States, the equal rights of peoples and their right to self-determination;
  • respect territorial integrity, the principles of non-intervention in internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of conflicts;
  • combat terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking;
  • promote regional security, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, and adhere to international and regional nuclear non-proliferation regimes, as well as arms control and disarmament agreements.

The partners support the fair, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of conflicts in the Middle East, founded specifically on the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Economic and financial partnership

The sustainable and balanced socio-economic development of the MNCs should lead to the establishment of an area of shared prosperity in the Mediterranean.

The reforms should enable the creation of Free Trade Areas (FTAs) which involves the gradual elimination of customs barriers (taxation and non-taxation) to trade in manufactured products. The partners also envisage a gradual liberalisation of agricultural products and services.

The establishment of Euro-Mediterranean FTAs is included in the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements and the Free Trade Agreements between the MNCs. These agreements are concluded in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The partners define priorities for facilitating the establishment of the FTA:

  • adopting a customs system of cumulation of origin of goods;
  • adapting competition rules, the certification of economic operators and the protection of intellectual property rights;
  • developing the market economy, the private sector, technology transfer, and the economic integration of the MNCs;
  • modernising economic and social structures, and promoting programmes for the benefit of the neediest populations;
  • promoting free trade, harmonising customs rules and procedures, and eliminating unwarranted technical barriers to trade in agricultural products.

In addition, the economic cooperation undertaken by the partners aims to:

  • promote private savings and investments, including direct foreign investment;
  • encourage regional cooperation between the MNCs;
  • create a favourable environment for industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • achieve sustainable management of the environment, energy, natural resources and fish stocks;
  • promote the role of women in the economy;
  • modernise agriculture.

The partners must also set cooperation priorities for transport infrastructures, the development of information technologies and the modernisation of telecommunications.

Lastly, the partners must increase their financial cooperation and the EU must increase its financial assistance, specifically in the form of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Social, cultural and human partnership

The partners cooperate with the aim of developing human resources, and promoting understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies.

To this end, the Barcelona Declaration and its work programme emphasise:

  • the importance of intercultural dialogue, and of dialogues between religions;
  • the importance of the role the media can play in the reciprocal recognition and understanding of cultures;
  • cultural exchanges, knowledge of other languages, implementation of educational and cultural programmes that respect cultural identities;
  • the importance of health and social development and respect for fundamental social rights;
  • the participation of civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and strengthening cooperation between regional and local authorities;
  • combating illegal immigration, terrorism, drug trafficking, international crime and corruption.

Context

The Barcelona Declaration provides for periodic meetings of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Mediterranean partners and the EU. These Euro-Mediterranean Conferences are prepared by the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona process, which is also responsible for monitoring the process and the cooperation priorities.

A stronger partnership with Latin America

A stronger partnership with Latin America

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger partnership with Latin America

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

A stronger partnership with Latin America

At the fourth EU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit, which was held in Vienna in May 2006, the Commission paved the way to revitalising its partnership with Latin America. By identifying the new challenges currently testing the strength of ties with Latin America, the Commission proposes a new European strategy in this regard. Specifically, it puts forward possible courses of action as regards political dialogue, trade and investment, stability and prosperity, cooperation and mutual understanding

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 8 December 2005 – A stronger partnership between the European Union and Latin America [COM(2005) 636 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

A strategy to strengthen the partnership between the European Union and Latin America seems to have become necessary in the light of changes in the two regions since the last general policy communication (1995).

Such a strengthened partnership is the EU’s way of reaffirming its interest in and support for Latin America, with whom its shares the common values of human rights, democracy and multilateralism. In this regard, international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) already serve as prime frameworks reflecting these values. The EU can share its experience with Latin America to help the region to deal with the changes it has faced. It can also draw on its experience to help strengthen stability and security.

At the heart of this strategy (the detailed version of which is annexed to the Communication) is the Commission’s intention to reinforce its involvement in several fields, from the fight against social inequality to establishing an economy mindful of sustainable development.

The Commission recommends an approach whereby each Latin American party is an interlocutor as well as a partner. Among these parties, particular emphasis is placed on subregions such as Mercosur, the Andean Community and Central America. Relations with each country should be further tailored to take into account their particular circumstances. Such relations are organised along the lines of a distinction between the different countries in terms not just of their gross domestic product (GDP) but also of the role they play on the international stage (e.g. Brazil and Mexico).

Partnership

The idea of a bi-regional strategic partnership dates back to the first EU-Latin America / Caribbean Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1999. The idea has since become a reality in the form of strong relations in political, economic and cultural issues.

With this in mind, the Commission has set itself the following more or less long-term objectives:

  • establishing a network of association agreements (including free trade agreements), with the main aim of contributing to the integration of the region;
  • establishing genuine political dialogue to bolster the influence of both regions on the international scene;
  • developing effective sectoral dialogue with a view to reducing social inequality and promoting sustainable development;
  • reinforcing the framework designed to help Latin American countries attract more European investment, thereby contributing to economic development;
  • tailoring aid and cooperation to the needs of the countries involved;
  • increasing mutual understanding through education and culture.



Strategy to revitalise the partnership

The strategy to revitalise the partnership takes into account the new political, social and economic realities of both partners, given the changes that they have experienced since 1995. This enables priority courses of action to be determined.

It is essential to step up and focus political dialogue. Both partners advocate multilateralism in their relations, but need to be more visible both in the regions themselves and on the international stage. Political dialogue of this kind will enable them to conduct an efficient partnership, by giving a true picture of their respective strengths.

Political dialogue should be confined to a certain number of issues, particularly issues of common interest, such as UN reform, peace-keeping, crisis prevention or crisis situations in certain countries of the region.

It is necessary to foster a climate which is favourable to trade and investment between the two regions in order to improve market access and increase trade. The EU is the largest foreign investor in Latin America. However, despite significant trade and investment flows, the two regions’ growth potential should be better utilised.

In order to create such a climate, it is necessary to strengthen the multilateral framework provided by the WTO, which is based on the recognition of common rules. It is also necessary for the EU to negotiate association agreements with each country and free trade agreements with regions that are sufficiently integrated (such as Mercosur), and to tap the potential of existing association agreements with Mexico and Chile.

Businesses in both regions are directly involved. Latin American businesses may enjoy easier access to Europe’s markets, particularly by means of the Generalised System of Preferences. The onus is placed on regional integration in Latin America, which would enable it to stand up to European competition. Trade partners must also discuss how best to eliminate trade barriers.

For their part, European businesses should enjoy favourable legal conditions in Latin America. This will be achieved by stepping up the regulatory dialogue for the adoption of common rules and standards and strengthening macro-economic dialogue as a way to stimulate growth and investment in a context of macro-economic stability. The role of Europe’s cutting-edge sectors must be particularly strongly promoted as a way to contribute to the region’s development.

The EU wishes to support the region’s effort to ensure stability and prosperity, particularly as regards healthy democratic governance. Reducing social inequality (particularly poverty and exclusion), combating illegal drug trafficking and organised crime are tough challenges; such phenomena weaken democracy and split societies. Society itself should be more closely linked to democratic governance; environmental protection should also always be a consideration, given Latin America’s vast biodiversity.

Social cohesion should be factored into any action undertaken as part of the partnership with Latin America. Considered a point of common interest at the Guadalajara Summit (2004) and the Vienna Summit (2006), promoting social cohesion is seen as the way to fight poverty and inequality and to improve social integration through a combination of economic growth, higher employment, fairness and solidarity. Such cohesion should, in particular, be adapted to the specific circumstances of each country and subregion. In this regard, the Commission proposes to start bi-regional dialogue and to set a Social Cohesion Forum meeting every other year. It also intends closely to involve international organisations and private and state actors in the region. The Commission would like to see social cohesion become a priority issue of aid and development cooperation policy for the period 2007-2013.

Supporting democratic governance helps to modernise state government. The Commission proposes strengthening cooperation, increasing civil society’s and citizens’ participation in political life and setting up, on the basis of a proposal from the European Parliament, an EU-Latin America Transatlantic assembly.

Enhancing security is another area that the EU wishes to support. This concerns essentially the fight against drugs, which should be pursued on a basis of shared responsibility, and the fight against crime (including money laundering, corruption, etc.); these efforts should focus on transparency through good financial, fiscal and legal governance.

The EU also considers regional and subregional integration to be very important and actively supports it, e.g. through association and free trade agreements. Further regional integration should stimulate economic growth and investment. It depends on deeper territorial integration owing to the geographical configuration of the region; better infrastructure and interconnectivity networks in sectors such as transport, water and energy need to be developed. With the help of loans from the European Investment Bank, a newly-created Latin American facility should help develop and strengthen such networks.

Economic sustainable development essentially depends on sound natural resource management in order to ensure long-term prosperity for the region. The Commission therefore proposes enhancing cooperation and discussion on the environmental aspects of sustainable development, focusing specifically on climate change, energy, water, biodiversity and forests. It suggests that Environment Ministers should meet before each EU-LAC Summit and that discussion of such issues should be further encouraged within the UN.

Given the links between the two regions, they are well placed to engage in political dialogue on conflict prevention and crisis management.

With a view to improving development cooperation and mutual understanding between the EU and Latin America, the Commission puts forward several proposals which aim to:

  • focus on priority themes such as social cohesion and regional integration and to concentrate 2007-2013 aid and cooperation on specific sectors, the main objective being to combat poverty; furthermore, greater coordination of European aid should be achieved thanks to European consensus on development policy;
  • acknowledge the specific role of certain actors in the region, such as Brazil and Mexico, by setting up political dialogue and further tapping the potential of association agreements;
  • build an EU-LAC common area of higher education, particularly via the development of university exchanges under the Alßan, Alfa and Erasmus mundus programmes;
  • improve communication and the visibility of both regions in order to foster mutual understanding, particularly as regards cultural cooperation; organising a Europe Week in all Latin American countries could go some way to achieving this.

Related Acts

Vienna Declaration (PDF ) of 12 May 2006, Fourth EU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit.

Joint Declaration of 27 February 2006 on Implementation of the Latin American – European Union Strategic Partnership on Water and Sanitation Affairs (PDF ).

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.

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Topics

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

Humanitarian aid

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations (2008-2012)

Document or Iniciative

Framework Partnership  Agreement with humanitarian organisations.

Summary

The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid of the European Commission (DG ECHO) does not intervene directly in the field; its assistance is distributed and implemented by its partners. As a result, Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) form the basis of its work. Since its creation in 1992 ECHO has always made use of FPAs and two types are currently in force: a framework agreement with international organisations and a framework agreement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). There is also a Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement between the European Community and the United Nations (FAFA) governing ECHO-financed humanitarian aid operations carried out by UN humanitarian services.

This new FPA with NGOs is in force from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012 and it may be renewed tacitly by the Commission for a maximum of one year. It is the fourth FPA in the history of DG ECHO, following the FPAs adopted in 1993, 1998 and 2003, and aims to simplify and to increase flexibility of the contractual instruments with the partners, as well as to improve the implementation of humanitarian aid using a result-oriented approach. With this in mind, the two key objectives of “continuity” and “high-quality partnership” have been taken from the previous FPA.

General provisions

The humanitarian aid of the European Union (EU) is provided through programmes and projects supported by the European Community, which can finance the purchase and delivery of all products, materials and services necessary for their implementation in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96, the legal basis for DG ECHO and FPAs.

The FPA defines the common principles governing the partnership between ECHO and NGOs and establishes rules and procedures applicable to humanitarian operations carried out in partnership. It also defines the criteria for the selection of partners and aims to establish long?term cooperation between ECHO and NGOs in order to ensure quick, effective and efficient aid. The signing of a partnership agreement is, in principle, the precondition for making financial grants in support of specific humanitarian operations, but the FPA is not a financing agreement as such.

The principal aims of the FPA are:

  • to optimise the results and implementation of humanitarian aid operations, with principles of economy and efficiency in addition to well-defined objectives and performance indicators;
  • to simplify procedures and clarify rules;
  • to promote the idea of high-quality partnership through carefully chosen partners and a commitment to improvement.

The quality of the partnership must be manifested when carrying out the humanitarian project. This quality must be based on transparency and accountability towards the parties concerned, formulation of strategies seeking efficiency of the humanitarian response, access to fair working conditions for humanitarian workers and the promotion of a culture of learning linked to best practice. Information and communication must flow between partners.

Selection and evaluation of partners

All NGOs that adhere to ECHO’s values, principles and objectives are eligible partners after verification that they meet predetermined criteria. The eligibility criteria are:

  • to be an autonomous non-profit organisation with its head office in a Member State. The Commission will verify the organisation’s act of incorporation and status with national authorities;
  • to provide audited financial statements for the two previous financial years. The Commission will verify annual activity reports for the two last years certifying a minimum of three years of operational experience in the field;
  • to demonstrate sufficient and verifiable administrative capacity, both by the organisation chart and the list of management board members;
  • to be able to certify the moral integrity of the organisation and its management board;
  • to have endorsed a voluntary code of conduct or charter stipulating adhesion to the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality in delivering humanitarian assistance.

After eligibility, aptitude is also evaluated. Technical and logistical capacities, administrative and financial management capacities, experience, previous results, implementation capacity and impartiality will be taken into consideration for selection and verified with national authorities on-site.

Monitoring and control

In order to control NGO activities in a more effective way, two control mechanisms have been set out in the new FPA:

  • mechanism “A” (A for action) for monitoring of the implementation of actions, in?depth checks of the final report and ex post audits of actions;
  • mechanism “P” (P for prior evaluation and for internal procedures), based on ex ante evaluation of internal control procedures, risk management and the award of contracts by the NGOs, as well as ex post audits of the implementation of their rules and procedures.

The Commission periodically assesses the NGOs which are party to FPAs using the following two-stage procedure:

  • the first stage, which is carried out annually and is compulsory for all NGOs, aims to verify the eligibility and aptitude criteria. In this context, the Commission is to receive a copy of the annual accounts, an external audit report and a copy of the annual activity report for the previous financial year, as well as any additional documentation considered relevant;
  • the second stage consists of an in-depth evaluation, which is to be performed at least once every three years.

Suspension or termination of the partnership agreement

Following the annual evaluation, the Commission can either confirm its partnership with the NGO or suspend the FPA or terminate it by giving prior notice. In the event of non-compliance with the criteria, the Commission may suspend the partnership with 45 days’ written notice. In the event of suspension, the NGO is no longer eligible for new financing during the suspension period but it may see its active status restored if it can show that it once again meets the aptitude criteria. Where there are grounds for suspecting an infringement of the contractual obligations by the NGO, the Commission may suspend the FPA with immediate effect.

After one year’s suspension, the partnership agreement will be terminated. Other cases of termination result from non-compliance with the eligibility requirements set out above, breach of the values, principles or objectives of FPAs and cases of substantial irregularity which cause or may cause loss to the Community budget. Here too, 45 days’ written notice must be given.

Actions eligible for Community financing

Humanitarian assistance involves supplying food, water and sanitation, shelter and health services, short-term rehabilitation, reconstruction work, protection of victims of conflict, and disaster-preparedness operations.

These operations must conform to the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence *. They must be focused on the beneficiaries, be based on the needs of the population in distress and use best practice in the humanitarian field. To this end, NGOs must:

  • allocate funds according to need;
  • foster participation of the beneficiaries;
  • base their operations on local capacity while respecting culture, structure and tradition;
  • establish a link between emergency assistance, rehabilitation and development;
  • cooperate to support affected communities’ capacity to respond to future humanitarian crises.

The operations may be launched on the initiative of the Commission or the NGO; they may be financed wholly or in part by the European Community.

Key terms in the act
  • Principle of humanity: humankind must be treated humanely in all circumstances; it is necessary to save lives and alleviate suffering, while ensuring respect for the individual.
  • Principle of neutrality: neutrality means not taking sides in hostilities or engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
  • Principle of impartiality: provision of humanitarian aid must not be based on nationality, race, religion or political point of view.
  • Principle of independence: humanitarian agencies must formulate and implement their own policies independently of government policies or actions.

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger economic and political partnership for 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 > Industrialised countries

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM(2005) 196 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The European Commission wants to give new quality to the economic partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United States. In this initial stage of reviewing a global partnership, which is designed to include a barrier-free market, the proposals in question focus mainly on trade and investment, the highest volume of which worldwide is generated as a result of the relationship between the EU and the United States. In 2003, trade in goods and services came to almost EUR 600 billion and related principally to foreign direct investment (FDI).

The Commission’s proposals form the basis for boosting growth and employment while respecting sustainable development and removing the barriers to trade and investment. They also seek to provide a new framework which can be used to meet common challenges such as international competition.

Improving the functioning of the transatlantic partnership

The Commission is proposing a number of initiatives in order to improve the functioning of the transatlantic partnership in three areas: regulation, knowledge and innovation, and border control.

The initiatives relating to regulation are based principally on policy cooperation, which is to be extended to a greater number of sectors in order to promote the transatlantic market. Policy cooperation within a well-defined regulatory framework is designed to guarantee fair competition in a situation in which the volume of trade is high, and forms part of the efforts to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed in view of the difficulty of using the same model for all the sectors concerned. Cooperation can also vary in intensity, ranging from the exchange of information to the adoption of binding standards and including the establishment of ties on a formal or informal basis.

Other regulatory initiatives to strengthen cooperation between the two parties should also be envisaged in order to eliminate barriers to trade and thus promote competitiveness. They include the following:

  • facilitation of investment, in particular by eliminating ownership restrictions in the United States;
  • competition policy for those concerned based on the coordination of enforcement activities and the exchange of non-confidential information in an appropriate framework;
  • the opening-up of procurement markets between the United States and the EU despite the barriers which EU companies still face when trying to access the American market; this calls for the deepening of relations between the two partners at bilateral level and the definition of a clear framework at multilateral level, such as within the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on aviation services between the EU and the United States, which are currently confined within a regulatory framework reflecting the political and technological landscape of the 1940s; an agreement of this kind would provide a sound economic and legal basis for transatlantic air services;
  • maritime transport, which carries 90% of all international trade: cooperation in this field should be strengthened and could include issues such as the law of the sea, data exchange, maritime security and environmental protection;
  • financial markets: access to capital is fundamental to investment and innovation, which is why functional equivalence should be encouraged in various financial areas, such as accounting standards and insurance, and should be promoted and strengthened in order to achieve true integration of the European and US financial markets;
  • the free movement of persons is essential: it has not been fully achieved for nationals of certain Member States or for companies and their affiliates; the possibility of granting affiliates the special status of “trusted persons” should be examined in order to facilitate international movement of travellers while bearing in mind security procedures;
  • the mutual recognition of professional qualifications should be encouraged, particularly in economic sectors.

Initiatives relating to knowledge and innovation will contribute fully to the growth and integration of the European and US economies. They relate to the following:

  • new technologies. as regards information and communication technologies (ICT) between the EU and the United States, coordination of the regulators, going beyond EU-US dialogue on the information society, should be strengthened in order to prevent the emergence of new obstacles in a rapidly evolving area; with regard to space, a structured dialogue should take place covering key areas such as Galileo and GPS, and the elimination of barriers to the creation of a properly functioning transatlantic market for the space industry;
  • the protection of intellectual property rights as a fundamental economic objective shared by both the EU and the US: the strengthening of cooperation in this area involves efforts at domestic and international level to combat counterfeiting and piracy; it also involves observance of the standards established by the WTO;
  • research and development: as these are key elements of the renewed Lisbon programme and generate growth, they will be the subject of greater cooperation between the two partners under the 7th framework programme for research and development (7th FPRD) in areas such as industrial materials, fuel cells and biotechnology;
  • energy: the EU and the US should work together more closely by means of policy dialogues in order to face new challenges and find alternatives to traditional energy sources, such as by developing clean technologies and renewable energies;
  • higher education and vocational training: as the current agreement on higher education and vocational training expires at the end of 2005, it should be renewed and reinforced in order to promote exchanges of university teachers, researchers and students and develop measures on issues concerning the quality and compatibility of education and training systems.

New security measures for border controls were imposed in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Commission feels that the right balance must be struck between heightened security requirements and the continuation of open and secure trade and passenger transport.

While reconciling trade and security requirements, the transatlantic market will be based mainly on the principles of reciprocity and mutual recognition. These principles will apply to the following areas:

  • implementing the agreement on enhanced customs cooperation in the area of transport security, for example with regard to the concept of single points of access and e-customs;
  • exchanging best practice in order to achieve equivalence between the European concept of “authorised economic operator” (AEO) and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT);
  • avoiding duplications of controls which arise from the application of parallel sets of – sometimes contradictory – existing standards;
  • reducing the risk of trade barriers associated with the implementation of the new US law to combat bioterrorism;
  • developing global security standards, notably by promoting the security standards agreed between the EU and the US through the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • combating corporate fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and the financing of terrorism.

Political involvement essential

The New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), which was established in 1995, should be renewed. Its most important goals have been achieved regarding the intensity of exchanges between the EU and the United States on a vast range of subjects. Regular dialogue has been established between interlocutors who previously had very little contact. There has also been increased cooperation on foreign policy issues.

However, economic cooperation has had a limited impact, particularly with regard to the legislative and regulatory involvement of the stakeholders. In the same way, the EU-US dialogue has suffered from a relative lack of political commitment, with the EU sometimes being poorly understood.

This is why none of the economic initiatives presented in this communication can be successful without real political intent translated into practical action. This could include the following, for example:

  • a high-level regulatory cooperation forum, which would meet before EU-US Summits and submit an annual roadmap with appropriate objectives and priorities;
  • a dialogue between European and US legislators on the priorities for regulatory cooperation;
  • cooperation to address joint concerns regarding international policy or even to advance bilateral proposals in international fora;
  • the conclusion of binding sectoral agreements.

For them to have a full impact on dialogue, transatlantic relations should be more strategic and effective in order to realise a shared vision of a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous international order. A new transatlantic declaration could be drawn up underlining the values and developing the priorities of joint action based on the recognition of the economic interdependence of the United States and the EU.

Context

This communication is in line with the “EU-US Declaration on Strengthening our Economic Partnership” (PDF ), which was adopted at the EU-US Summit at Dromoland Castle (Ireland) in 2004, during which the parties concerned put forward ideas on how to strengthen transatlantic economic integration. Reviewing and strengthening the partnership in this way can lend new impetus to relations between the EU and the United States.

The Commission is proposing that an economic declaration be adopted and that political oversight be put in place to ensure that these commitments are effective, particularly through the adoption of binding agreements.

Moreover, prior to the drawing up of a joint economic declaration, a public consultation was launched by the Commission in 2004 in order to identify the areas with which the present communication deals.

Related Acts

EU-US Declaration, of 20 June 2005, at the Washington Summit: “Initiative to Enhance Transatlantic Economic Integration and Growth” (PDF )

The EU and the United States declared that they wished to remove the impediments to trade and investment and enhance growth and innovation with a view to making further progress towards integration of the transatlantic market and providing more opportunities for businesses.
In the Declaration, the two partners listed ten points covering areas in which action should be taken and which are dealt with in greater detail in the Initiative annexed to the Declaration:

  • promoting regulatory cooperation and standards by identifying cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to improve regulatory quality and reduce divergences; exchanges of experience and the sharing of knowledge are encouraged through a high-level dialogue in accordance with the roadmap for EU-US regulatory cooperation (PDF )and through a high-level forum bringing together regulators representing both partners;
  • stimulation of open and competitive capital markets in order to ensure that transatlantic financial markets operate seamlessly; the main areas for action include efforts to combat financial fraud and money laundering, the reform of financial markets and the improvement of dialogue on macroeconomic and structural issues of common interest;
  • spurring innovation and technological development, which are a source of growth and prosperity, by promoting cooperation, for example, in basic research, space research, nanotechnologies, transport, cyber-security and IT; the initiatives would affect sectors relating to higher education and vocational training, commerce, information and even medicine;
  • enhancing trade, development and security by strengthening customs cooperation in order to ensure the security of persons and goods in transit; in this regard, the WCO already offers a framework of standards on the security of world trade; cooperation between the two partners should also be strengthened by adopting security standards, particularly as regards air cargo traffic, improved cooperation in research and development of security-related technologies, better compatibility of the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator concept and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), measures to facilitate business and tourist travel (“trusted persons” initiative) and a policy of reciprocal visa exempt travel for short-term stays;
  • promoting energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energies and economic development and encouraging new clean energy technologies for sustainable and coordinated policies; the two partners also stated that they would support developing countries in this area;
  • protecting intellectual property rights by actively combating piracy and counterfeiting, applying international standards and ensuring the efficient application of standards on patents;
  • facilitating investment by providing efficient, comprehensive and easily accessible information on investment regimes and policies and by removing existing obstacles;
  • improving coordination on competition policy and the enforcement of competition rules, in particular by exploring ways of exchanging confidential information, which does not currently take place;
  • strengthening coordination and cooperation on procurement;
  • encouraging cooperation in the field of services, in particular with regard to aviation services and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Responsibility for implementing these initiatives and establishing the work programmes lies with the senior levels of EU and US government, with progress to be reviewed at the EU-US Summits. At the same time, cooperation between legislators and stakeholder consultation will also be encouraged in order to help strengthen the partnership.