Tag Archives: Russia

Security of energy supply in the EU and international cooperation

Security of energy supply in the EU and international cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Security of energy supply in the EU and international cooperation

Topics

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

Energy > Security of supply external dimension and enlargement

Security of energy supply in the EU and international cooperation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 7 September 2011 On security of energy supply and international cooperation – “The EU Energy Policy: Engaging with Partners beyond Our Borders” [COM(2011) 539 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication defines a strategy of cooperation beyond the borders of the European Union (EU) in order to ensure its energy supply and to promote its objectives in the field of energy. This strategy is based on four main objectives:

  • building up the external dimension of the EU’s internal energy market;
  • strengthening partnerships for secure, safe, sustainable and competitive energy;
  • improving access to sustainable energy for developing countries;
  • better promoting EU policies beyond its borders.

Objective 1: building up the EU’s internal energy market

Member States often favour the negotiation of bilateral agreements in the field of energy supply. For this reason the European Commission wishes to set up an information exchange mechanism on intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in order to improve coordination within the internal energy market. Agreements could also be adopted with third countries at EU level.

It is essential for the EU to diversify its sources of energy in order to ensure continuity of supply. The EU therefore intends to put follow-up actions in place in order to:

  • ensure the continuity of the building of the infrastructure defined in the strategy Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond;
  • promote supply from the Southern Corridor;
  • ensure a continuous supply of gas and oil from the East through cooperation with Russia and Ukraine, while supporting the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian transmission network;
  • develop renewable energy projects with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

The Commission considers it necessary to establish differentiated types of cooperation suited to each partner. It therefore intends to initiate several projects, with the main ones seeking to:

  • conclude negotiations with Switzerland aimed at full integration of electricity markets;
  • encourage cooperation with States wishing to join the EU;
  • develop an EU-Southern Mediterranean partnership to promote electricity and renewable energy by 2020.

Russia is an energy security partner of vital importance for the EU. The Commission therefore wishes to develop privileged relations with this country by stepping up the implementation of the EU-Russia partnership and by preparing an EU 2050 Energy Roadmap. An agreement is to be concluded between the EU, Russia and Belarus on the technical rules for the management of electricity networks in the Baltic region.

Objective 2: strengthening partnerships for secure, safe, sustainable and competitive energy

Besides Russia, the EU is obliged on the one hand to strengthen its partnerships with its hydrocarbon suppliers, such as Norway, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Libya, and, on the other hand, to extend new dialogues with emerging producers. It is vital to emphasise good energy governance.

In the context of its cooperation activities, the EU must not lose sight of the objective of reducing carbon emissions at global level. It therefore proposes to invite industrialised and emerging countries to work on the creation of reliable and transparent global energy markets, on the promotion of energy efficiency and low carbon energy, and on research and innovation projects in this field.

The EU considers it essential to step up work on a comprehensive legal environment for EU relations with suppliers and transit countries. To do this, it actively supports the Energy Charter and, in particular, work on its core trade, transit and investment mandate.

The Commission also wishes to promote nuclear safety and security standards globally. To this end, it intends to extend the scope of the Euratom agreements and to advocate for international legally binding nuclear safety standards, particularly at the level of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It also intends to address the safety of offshore operations, including with hydrocarbon producers within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Objective 3: improving access to sustainable energy for developing countries

In its development policy, the Commission has set itself the aim of making sources of energy (particularly electricity) accessible to the regions with the fewest resources, while respecting environmental imperatives. To achieve these aims, it wishes to mainstream energy in all EU development policy instruments, and to facilitate access of least developed countries to climate financing.

Objective 4: better promoting EU policies beyond its borders

The Commission has defined four types of energy partner:

  • market integration partners;
  • key energy suppliers and transit countries;
  • key energy players worldwide;
  • developing countries.

For each of these partners, it proposes the use of appropriate instruments selected from among the existing legal and political instruments, such as the Energy Community Treaty, the strategic energy dialogues or other instruments.

The Commission also wishes to improve coordination between Member States in order to speak with a single voice beyond its borders. To do this, it intends to set up a Strategic Group for International Energy Cooperation.

To ensure the best possible follow-up of its projects, the Commission is to establish a database of energy projects in partner countries funded by the EU, EU Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnership and Cooperation Agreements : Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Topics

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

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs): Russia, Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

Acts

Council and Commission Decisions 99/602/EC, 99/614/EC, 99/515/EC, 99/490/EC, 99/491/EC, 98/401/EC, 97/800/EC, 98/149/EC, 99/593/EC, 2009/989/EC on the conclusion of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan of the other part, respectively.

Summary

Since the end of the 1990s, the European Union (EU) concluded ten similar partnership and cooperation agreements (PCAs) with: Russia and the New Independent States of Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The aims of these partnerships are to:

  • provide a suitable framework for political dialogue;
  • to support the efforts made by the countries to strengthen their democracies and develop their economies;
  • accompany their transition to a market economy;
  • encourage trade and investment.

The partnerships also aim to provide a basis for cooperation in the legislative, economic, social, financial, scientific, civil, technological and cultural fields. The PCA with Russia also provides for the creation of the necessary conditions for the future establishment of a free trade area.

Joint PCA objectives

The general principles concern respect for democracy, the principles of international law and human rights. The market economy is also an objective set out in all the PCAs.

The PCAs establish a bilateral political dialogue between the European Union (EU). They aim to encourage the convergence of their positions on international issues of mutual concern, to cooperate for stability, security and respect for democracy and human rights. The dialogue will take place at ministerial level within the Cooperation Council, at parliamentary level within the Parliamentary Committee and at senior civil servant level. Diplomatic channels and meetings of experts will also be part of the political dialogue process.

With regard to trade in goods, the EU and the ten countries referred to will accord to one another Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. They will also set up free transit of goods via or through their territory. For goods admitted temporarily, each party grants the other party exemption from import duties and taxes. Quantitative restrictions on imports may no longer apply between the parties and goods must be traded at their market price. In the event of injury or threat of injury caused by imports, the Cooperation Council must seek a solution acceptable to both parties. In the case of a party from the African, Caribbean and Pacific States, certain textile products and nuclear material are not affected by these provisions. However, they do apply to coal and steel.

The conditions concerning employment, the setting-up of a business and the activities/operation of companies, the cross-border supply of services, current payments and capital are to be found in the provisions on trade and investment. As regards employment, the parties undertake to prevent discrimination against nationals from one of the parties who are lawfully employed in another. The PCA with Russia sets out initiatives to coordinate social security.

With regard to companies, the agreements provide that:

  • the setting up of companies on EU territory must be carried out under conditions which are no less favourable than those in other third countries;
  • companies operating on EU territory must be able to enjoy treatment no less favourable than that accorded to EU companies;
  • branches must operate under the same conditions as branches of third countries;
  • European companies which locate in an NIS (New Independent State of the former Soviet Union) must do so under conditions of establishment and operation which are no less favourable than those of companies which receive the best treatment, be they domestic or third-country companies.

These conditions do not apply to air, inland waterway and maritime transport. For Russia, they also apply to certain banking and insurance services listed in Annex 6 to its PCA.

The parties undertake to take the necessary measures to progressively authorise the cross-border supply of services. For Russia, certain sectors listed in the annexes may be regulated domestically. With regard to international maritime transport, the parties must apply effectively the principle of unrestricted access to the market and trade on a commercial basis.

With regard to current payments and capital, the parties undertake to authorise all current payments which are connected to the movement of goods, services or persons. The free movement of capital must also be guaranteed for direct investment and the liquidation or repatriation of these investments and of any profit stemming therefrom.

All the PCAs except that with the Republic of Moldova also contain a chapter on the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property and on legislative cooperation.

As regards economic cooperation, most PCAs cover similar fields. They focus on social and economic development, the development of human resources, support to businesses (in particular privatisation, investment and development of financial services), agriculture and the food sector, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, regional cooperation and monetary policy. In essence, economic cooperation is aimed at contributing to the economic reform and rehabilitation process and to sustainable development in the NIS. The PCAs encourage social and economic reforms and the restructuring of economic and trading systems.

Specific PCA objectives

Other areas of cooperation listed in the PCAs are:

  • cooperation in the areas of democracy and human rights (only for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan);
  • cooperation on the prevention of illegal activities and the prevention and control of illegal immigration, with initiatives on money laundering, the fight against drugs and illegal immigration (except for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Moldova);
  • cultural cooperation;
  • financial cooperation in the field of technical assistance.

Institutional provisions

The agreements establish a Cooperation Council responsible for supervising the implementation of the PCAs. It meets at ministerial level once a year. The Council is assisted by a Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

The PCAs are concluded for an initial period of ten years but are automatically renewed on a yearly basis unless one of the parties objects.

17 Each PCA contains a series of annexes and a protocol on mutual assistance between authorities on customs matters, which form an integral part of the text.

Neighbourhood Policy

In 2003 the EU launched its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) to prevent the emergence of any new fault lines between itself and its neighbours after the 2004 enlargement. The ENP is designed to promote close relations between the EU and its partners with a view to establishing an area of stability, prosperity and security. Together with the partner countries in the Mediterranean, the countries of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, are the core partner countries in the ENP. The PCAs set the framework within which the ENP is implemented in conjunction with each of the partner countries in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 99/602/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Armenia

1.7.1999

OJ L 239 of 9.9.1999

Decision 99/614/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Azerbaijan

1.7.1999

OJ L 246 of 17.9.1999

Decision 99/515/EC of 31 May 1999, Georgia

1.7.1999

OJ L 205 of 4.8.1999

Decision 99/490/EC of 12 May 1999, Republic of Kazakhstan

1.7.1999

OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

Decision 99/491/EC of 12 May 1999, Kyrgyz Republic

1.7.1999

OJ L 196 of 28.7.1999

Decision 98/401/EC of 28 May 1998, Republic of Moldova

1.7.1998

OJ L 181 of 24.6.1998

Decision 97/800/EC of 30 October 1997, Russian Federation

1.12.1997

OJ L 327 of 28.11.1997

Decision 98/149/EC of 26 January 1998, Ukraine

1.3.1998

OJ L 049 of 19.2.1998

Decision 99/593/EC of 31 May 1999, Republic of Uzbekistan

1.7.1999

OJ L 229 of 31.8.1999

Decision 2009/989/EC of 29 January 2009, Tajikistan

1.1.2010

OJ L 350 of 29.12.2009

Related Acts

All the agreements concluded between the EU and the countries of Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia and Russia may be consulted in the European Commission’s treaty database.

Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the interim agreement between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European – Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part, on trade and trade-related matters [COM(2009) 287 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

PREVIOUS DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission of 10 October 1995 – Towards a European Union strategy for relations with the Independent States of Central Asia [COM(1995) 206 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Prospects for cooperation in science and technology with the New Independent States (NIS) [COM(1995) 190 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

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

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 12 May 2004, entitled “European Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper” [COM(2004) 373 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

This is the follow-up to two previous communications in 2003 on “A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” and on a “New Neighbourhood Instrument”. Its aim is to map out the next steps in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Principles and scope

According to the Commission, the ENP should have a comprehensive, coherent and effective approach. By giving new impetus to cooperation with the new neighbours, it will strengthen stability, security and well-being in the region.

Regarding its geographical coverage, the Commission recommends the inclusion of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia within the scope of ENP. It also proposes, as in the March 2003 communication on a wider Europe, some conditions to be met for fuller integration of Belarus in the ENP. In the present circumstances, the EU’s commitments to Belarus will focus on democratic development and support for civil society. The Commission also recommends looking into how Libya could be incorporated into the ENP, but states that integration into the Barcelona process is the first step.

Joint ownership of the process, differentiation between partners and better use of existing instruments are other key points for the Commission. In its opinion, the ENP brings added value through its enhanced and more focused policy approach, the opportunity it creates to attain a significant degree of integration, the encouragement it offers to instigate reform, the incentive to resolve bilateral problems, its clearly defined priorities, its increase in funding and its assistance to partners.

Action plans

The priorities in the bilateral action plans concluded with each partner will fall into two broad areas: firstly, shared values and foreign and security policy, secondly actions which will bring partner countries closer in a number of priority fields, e.g. economic and social development, trade and the internal market, justice and home affairs, and connections and contacts. The bodies set up under the various agreements will be responsible for monitoring and the Commission will draw up periodic reports to review and adapt the action plans.

Fundamental human rights and freedoms lie behind this policy which is intended to promote a commitment to shared values. Political dialogue will be strengthened through the ENP in the sectors identified in the action plans, with effective multilateralism as the constant goal.

The policy also envisages enhanced preferential trade relations and increased financial and technical assistance, offering the prospect of a stake in the EU internal market. Dialogue and cooperation on the social dimension also need to be enhanced. Issues related to the movement of workers will also continue to be addressed within the framework of the various agreements.

Trade and the internal market are another chapter of major significance. Legislative and regulatory approximation must be pursued and the ENP will provide ways and means to deepen trade liberalisation and regional integration. Regarding trade in goods, administrative cooperation needs to be improved with a view to the gradual elimination of non-tariff barriers. For agricultural products, convergence on sanitary and phytosanitary controls is essential. Lastly, legislative approximation is required in the area of free trade in services. Likewise, the investment climate must be improved, independent competition authorities set up and the tax system modernised and made more transparent.

The functioning of public institutions needs to be improved in order to deal with challenges in the field of justice and home affairs, such as migration pressure, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.

Another key aspect of the ENP is “connecting the neighbourhood”. The Commission recommends improving and strengthening energy and transport network connections. The environment, information society and research and innovation are other sectors requiring action for their improvement. The connections do not just need to be physical, but between persons too. Cultural, educational and social links should also be encouraged.

Regional cooperation

The ENP will be differentiated in its application. To the East, the priorities are:

  • reinforced cooperation on the economy, business, employment and social policy, trade and infrastructure;
  • environment, nuclear safety and natural resources;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • people-to-people issues.

In the Mediterranean region, regional and sub-regional cooperation must build on the ‘acquis‘ of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. At regional level, the strategic priorities are:

  • South-South integration;
  • sub-regional cooperation;
  • harmonisation of the regulatory and legislative environment.

The priorities for cooperation in this region are:

  • infrastructure interconnections;
  • environment;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • trade, regulatory convergence and socio-economic development.

Supporting the ENP

Substantial financial support is already channelled through the instruments of the ENP, amounting to a total of roughly EUR 3 700 million between 2000 and 2003. Over the same period, the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) allocated approximately EUR 60 million, while the European Investment Bank provided loans to the Mediterranean countries totalling about EUR 3 400 million. Lastly, macrofinancial assistance and humanitarian aid were provided to third countries facing exceptional needs.

The Commission has proposed to introduce a new set of harmonised instruments for assistance to third countries, including those presently covered by Tacis and MEDA. A recent communication recently also envisaged the possibility of a new neighbourhood instrument. In view of the number of legal and budgetary questions to be resolved, a two-phase approach will be used and the new instrument will not be introduced until 2006. Starting from 2007, it will support cross-border cooperation as well as regional cooperation projects involving all the partner countries. EIB lending capacity will also be reinforced.

Of the three alternatives presented in the July 2003 communication, the strategy paper concludes that the one that best responds to needs is the option of creating a single new regulation to govern a Neighbourhood Instrument to fund activities both inside and outside the Union. In addition, the Commission proposes to use a single budget chapter, drawing on the cohesion and external policies headings for the full amount of the instrument.

In the Commission’s view, Article 181a TEC would be the appropriate legal basis. As this article concerns cooperation with third countries, it should allow funding of joint actions. The instrument will build on the principles of existing cross-border programmes such as partnership, multi-annual programming and co-financing. It will cover all borders, support trans-national cooperation involving beneficiaries in at least one Member State and one partner country and replace existing internal and external cross-border programmes.

The new instrument will operate through two separate funding windows. Window One will support cross-border cooperation, with programmes that are primarily bilateral. Window Two will provide more flexible support for wider trans-national cooperation with cooperation mostly focussed on specific themes, e.g. the environment, integration into energy, telecommunication and transport networks, public health and the prevention of and fight against organised crime.

A substantial increase will take place in the budget and provisions will be inserted to allow for reallocation of funds among programmes and projects. This will ensure that obstacles to absorption of funds are eliminated and good performance rewarded.

For more information about the EU neighbourhood policy, please go to the dedicated ENP site.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 11 March 2003, entitled “Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: A new Framework for relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” [COM(2003) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Communication of 1 July 2003, entitled “Paving the Way for a New Neighbourhood Instrument” [COM(2003) 393 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

 

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

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

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Document or Iniciative

European neighbourhood and partnership instrument – Inter-regional programme – Strategy paper 2007-2013, indicative programme 2007-2010 .

Summary

The inter-regional programme (IRP) supports the achievement of the objectives of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) and the strategic partnership with Russia. It focuses on dialogue and cooperation between the countries benefiting from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), and also between the latter and the European Union (EU).

Being part of the ENPI, the IRP provides financial support to activities whose inter-regional implementation has an added value in terms of visibility, coherence, efficiency and flexibility. It also promotes a more important role for governments, universities, towns and regions in order to ensure effective implementation and to boost the impact of initiatives and actions undertaken.

Programmes

The strategy paper 2007-2013 and the indicative programme 2007-2010 identify the priority action areas of the IRP. They distinguish five priority areas for the period 2007-2010.

The promotion of reforms through EU advice and experience aims at supporting the reform process in ENPI beneficiary countries. On the basis of experience acquired during the transition process of the ten new Member States, this priority is based mainly on the following:

  • the technical assistance and information exchange programme (TAIEX), which provides targeted advice and know-how, notably as regards convergence of legislation forming the Community acquis.
  • support for the improvement of public institutions and management systems (SIGMA) launched by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Europe. Its objective is to facilitate economic integration and political cooperation with the EU.

Promotion of higher education and student mobility, is an area that is essential for the development of partner countries, mutual understanding between peoples and interpersonal contact. The Tempus programme constitutes a framework for reform of higher education and the promotion of cooperation between establishments. A scholarship scheme will be established in order to promote student and teacher mobility. The latter will be based on experience gained from the Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window programmes. A more important role will be assigned to partner countries as regards programme management.

Promotion of cooperation between local actors in partner countries and the EU is a fundamental objective of the ENP based on the exchange of experience and know-how. However, given the lack of structures, a cooperation programme will be set up first of all between local and regional authorities in order to strengthen democratic governance and sustainable regional and local development.

Promotion of the implementation of ENP and the Strategic Partnership with Russia concerns primarily their thematic policy areas, such as energy, environment and infrastructures. This programme supports information and dialogue activities in particular at inter-regional level in order to strengthen mutual understanding amongst opinion formers and citizens in partner countries.

The objective of promoting investment projects in ENP partner countries is to mobilise additional investments in order to support an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness involving the EU and its neighbours. These additional funds will make it possible to improve the infrastructures connecting the EU with neighbouring countries in the areas of transport and energy, to meet the common environmental challenges and to support socio-economic development in partner countries.

Arrangements

Funding for IRP for the period 2007-2010 amounts to 523.9 million, of which 40 million has been allocated to the first priority action area, 218.6 million to the second, 14.3 million to the third and 250 million to the fifth. The envelope for the fourth objective depends on the progress of the ENP and the partnership with Russia.

The indicative programme 2007-2010 gives an idea of the expected results for each priority, such as:

  • the improvement in the legal and regulatory frameworks and their implementation;
  • reform and modernisation of higher education in partner countries and better mutual understanding;
  • a transparent selection process and greater visibility for mobility and scholarship schemes;
  • strengthening of governance by local and regional authorities in partner countries and strengthening of links between them;
  • effective action and information and dialogue activities at inter-regional level in order to create awareness of ENP action.

In order to measure their impact, partners define performance indicators at the time the programmes are being drawn up (number of partnerships, visibility, progress identified in the reports, national and thematic spread of actions, relevance of activities, etc.).

Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation

Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation

Topics

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

Transit Kaliningrad – Russian mainland: proposals and implementation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 18 September 2002 – Kaliningrad: Transit [COM (2002) 510 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication takes stock of the discussions held between the European Union (EU) and Russia concerning the transit of persons and goods to and from Kaliningrad oblast. It does not cover small border traffic since this issue is not specific to the situation of Kaliningrad.

Assessment

On the key political issue, movement of people, the Schengen acquis is based on the principle that the EU’s security can best be protected if persons transiting through the territory of EU Member States provide adequate documentation. The visa requirement for Russian citizens will remain as long as Russia appears on the list of third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of the Member States of the EU.

In addition to the flexibilities set out in the “Common Line” * (cheap or free multiple-entry transit visas), the Commission believes that issuing a special transit document (“Facilitated Transit Document”) should be considered. The document would be deemed equivalent to a multiple-entry transit visa for bona-fide persons who are Russia citizens travelling frequently and directly between Kaliningrad and the Russian mainland. Lists of frequent travellers could be provided in advance by the Russian authorities. The Document would then be issued at low cost or free of charge by the consulates of the candidate countries concerned.

The Commission is willing to study further the feasibility of visa exemption for passengers on non-stop trains. The security of these trains would require that they travel at sufficiently high speed, and that the coaches are so constructed, as to prevent passengers from leaving the train without the permission of the Lithuanian authorities.

The introduction of the Facilitated Transit Document would require:

  • the full cooperation of the candidate countries and adequate administrative and financial support from the European Commission;
  • the full cooperation of Russia, especially regarding:
  • the establishment of new consulates;
  • the provision of lists of Russian citizens considered eligible for the “Facilitated Transit Document”;
  • the readmission of overstayers by way of the conclusion and implementation of a readmission agreement and the ratification of the border agreement with Lithuania;
  • acceleration of the procedure for issuance of international passports to its citizens within a fixed timetable. During a short transitional period, internal Russian passports could be accepted in conjunction with visas/Facilitated Transit Documents.

The EU would need to guarantee to the candidate countries that their acceptance, and implementation, of the above flexibilities would not in itself create any risk of delay in lifting internal border controls, i.e. full integration into the Schengen area.

The Commission recommends that the EU’s position be based on the following package of measures in addition to what has already been set out in the Common Line of 13 May 2001:

  • a “Facilitated Transit Document” could be issued by consular authorities in EU or candidate countries to Russian citizens travelling by road or rail. This would assume Russian cooperation in quickly agreeing to the establishment of new consulates requested by Lithuania;
  • the Facilitated Transit Document would not be issued at the border;
  • the EU should examine the Russian proposal to open discussions on defining the conditions necessary for the eventual establishment of a visa-free travel regime;
  • solutions to the problem of movement of people and goods should be paralleled by broader cooperation regarding the future of the Kaliningrad region.

Background

The Seville European Council invited the Commission to submit an additional study on the possibilities for a solution to the transit of persons and goods to and from Kaliningrad. This Communication is the Commission’s response on this issue.

Key terms used in the act
  • Common Line: The Common Line agreed by the General Affairs Council on 13 May 2002 (document 8304/02) sets out the basic positions of the Schengen acquis and provides for flexibilities including: issue of multiple-entry visas which could be valid for a substantial period of time. These include favourable treatment for certain professionals such as lorry drivers and could be issued on a case by case basis; before the lifting of internal border controls, flexibility on visa fees; visa exemption for certain categories of persons (e.g. holders of diplomatic and service passports and air and sea crew members).
  • FRTD: Facilitated Rail Transit Document
  • FTD: Facilitated Transit Document

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 22 December 2006 on the functioning of the facilitated transit for persons between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation [COM (2006) 840 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission is pleased that, three years after its entry into force, the facilitated transit system is running smoothly and both partners are satisfied with the implementation. The FTD/FRTD system * seems also to fulfil the requirements of the Schengen acquis, as no illegal immigration under this scheme has been noted.

Therefore the Commission sees no need to change the system. In a long-term perspective, the facilitated transit regime will depend on the future development of visa policy arrangements between the EU and Russia.

The Commission will continue to support the transit scheme financially through the External Borders Fund.

Two points still await further examination:

  • The FRTD * is affixed on a separate form and not as required by Regulation (EC) No 693/2003 in the passport of the person travelling. As a consequence, there is no way of checking whether the FRTD is used for a single return trip or frequent trips. The correct application would also enhance requests for FTDs * as they can be obtained for multiple trips at the cost of EUR 5 (frequent traveller);
  • the question of shortening border control formalities could be discussed further on a bilateral basis if Lithuanian, Russian and Belarusian authorities are interested. Two possibilities appear feasible:
  • firstly, instead of two stops (one on each side of the border) to have only one stop at each border. Border authorities of both countries would carry out their controls simultaneously;
  • secondly, provide for an arrangement where both sides carry out their controls while the train is travelling.

 

Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia

Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia

Topics

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

Facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas with Russia

Another agreement on readmission of illegals entered into force on the same date.

Document or Iniciative

2007/340/EC: Council Decision of 19 April 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of issuance of short-stay visas.

Summary

This decision concludes the agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation to facilitate on a reciprocal basis the issuance of short-stay visas to citizens of the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation for intended stays of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days.

The agreement between the European Community and Russia and a protocol to the agreement concerning the Member States that do not fully apply the Schengen arrangements are annexed to the decision.

Content of the agreement

For the categories of citizen indicated below, the following documents constitute sufficient justification of their journey to the other Party:

  • for members of official delegations, an official invitation to take part in a meeting and a letter issued by an authority of a Member State or of the Russian Federation confirming that the individual concerned is a member of its delegation;
  • for drivers engaged in international cargo and passenger transportation between the European Community and Russia, a written request from the national association of carriers of Russia or a national association of carriers of a Member State;
  • for business people, a written invitation from a host legal person, company or organisation;
  • for journalists, a certificate issued by a professional organisation proving that the person concerned is a qualified journalist and a document issued by his/her employer stating that the purpose of the journey is to carry out journalistic work;
  • for participants in international sports events and the persons accompanying them, a written invitation from the host organisation;
  • for close relatives, a written invitation from the host person;
  • for participants in scientific, cultural and artistic activities, a written invitation from the host organisation to participate in those activities;
  • for pupils, students and accompanying teachers, a written invitation or certificate of enrolment from the host primary school or university.

Diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Member States and of Russia issue multiple-entry visas valid for up to:

  • 5 years to members of national and regional governments and parliaments, constitutional and supreme courts, and spouses and children of EU or Russian citizens who regularly visit Russia or the EU respectively;
  • 1 year to members of official delegations, business people, drivers engaged in international cargo and passenger transportation between the Russian Federation and the Member States, participants in international sporting events, participants in scientific, cultural and artistic events, and journalists. Validity can be extended for a period ranging from 2 to 5 years, subject to certain conditions.

The fee for processing visa applications is 35. The fee is waived for the following categories:

  • the applicant’s close relatives, spouse and children;
  • members of official delegations;
  • members of national and regional governments and parliaments, constitutional courts and supreme courts;
  • pupils, students and accompanying teachers;
  • disabled persons and the person accompanying them;
  • participants in international sporting events;
  • participants in scientific, cultural and artistic activities;
  • persons who have presented documents proving that they need to travel on humanitarian grounds.

Diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Member States must take a decision on visa applications within ten calendar days of receiving the application and the requisite documents. This may be extended to 30 days when further scrutiny of the application is needed.

Citizens of the European Union and of Russia whose identity documents are lost or stolen in the course of their stay may leave the territory of the host state on presentation of valid identity documents issued by a diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member States or of the Russian Federation.

Background

In a joint statement adopted on the occasion of the St Petersburg Summit on 31 May 2003, the European Union and the Russian Federation agreed to examine the conditions for visa-free travel in a long-term perspective. In a statement on EU enlargement and EU-Russia relations agreed on 27 April 2004, they confirmed their intention to facilitate visa issuance to their citizens and to launch negotiations with a view to concluding an agreement. On the day that this agreement was concluded, 19 April 2007, a readmission agreement was also concluded.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/340/EC OJ L 129 of 17.5.2007

Agreement on readmission with Russia

Agreement on readmission with Russia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement on readmission with Russia

Topics

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

Agreement on readmission with Russia

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/341/EC of 19 April 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation on readmission.

Summary

This decision concerns the conclusion of the agreement on readmission * between the European Community and Russia. This agreement is set out in the annex. It does not apply to Denmark.

Readmission obligation

Russia will readmit, upon application by a European Union (EU) country, any person not, or no longer, fulfilling the conditions in force for entry or residence, provided that it is established that the person concerned is a Russian national.

Nationality can be established by means of at least one of the documents listed in the annex to the agreement, even if its period of validity has expired. If none of the documents listed in the annex can be presented, the competent diplomatic representation or consular post of Russia or the EU country concerned will interview the person to be readmitted without undue delay in order to establish his or her nationality.

Russia will also readmit any non-EU country national or stateless person not, or no longer, fulfilling the conditions in force for entry or residence, provided that evidence can be furnished that this person:

  • holds a valid visa issued by Russia;
  • holds a valid residence authorisation issued by Russia;
  • unlawfully entered the territory of the EU country directly from Russian territory.

The readmission obligation does not apply if:

  • the non-EU country national or stateless person has only been in airside transit via a Russian international airport;
  • an EU country has issued a visa or residence authorisation to the person concerned;
  • the person concerned enjoyed visa-free access to the territory of the requesting EU country *.

Proof of the grounds for the readmission can be furnished by means of at least one of the documents listed in the annex to the agreement.

The reciprocal obligation of EU countries applies mutatis mutandis according to the rules set out above.

For 3 years following the entry into force of the agreement, the readmission obligation will be applicable only to stateless persons and nationals from non-EU countries with which Russia has concluded bilateral arrangements on readmission.

Readmission procedure

Any transfer of a person to be readmitted requires the submission of a readmission application to the requested country *. By way of derogation, no application is needed where the person concerned is in possession of a valid national passport and, where necessary, also holds a valid visa or residence authorisation.

If a person has been apprehended in the border region of the requesting country after illegally crossing the border coming directly from the territory of the requested country, the former may submit a readmission application within two working days following this person’s apprehension (accelerated procedure).

Any readmission application must contain the following information:

  • the particulars of the person concerned;
  • indication of the evidence regarding nationality, unlawful entry and residence;
  • where appropriate, a statement indicating that the person to be transferred may need help or care, and any other protection or security measure.

The application for readmission must be submitted to the authority of the requested country within a maximum of 180 days from the date when the requesting country’s competent authority has gained knowledge that the person concerned does not fulfil, or no longer fulfils, the conditions for entry or residence.

A reply must be given in writing within a maximum of 25 days, which may be extended, on request, to 60 days. In the case of a readmission application submitted under the accelerated procedure, a reply has to be given within two days.

Upon expiry of the above-mentioned time limits, the readmission is deemed to have been agreed to.

Reasons must be given for refusal of a readmission application.

If the reply is positive, the person concerned will be transferred within 90 days. In the case of a transfer under the accelerated procedure, the time limit is two days.

After the requested country has given a positive reply to the readmission application in respect of its own nationals, the competent diplomatic mission or consular office will issue, without delay, a travel document required for the return of the person concerned with a period of validity of 30 days.

For the readmission of stateless persons and non-EU country nationals, the requesting country issues to the person concerned a travel document recognised by the requested country; if the former is an EU country, this document is drawn up in line with the standard form set out in the Council recommendation of 30 November 1994.

Before transferring a person, the Russian authorities and those of the EU country concerned agree on the transfer date, the border crossing point and any escorts required. Any means of transport is allowed. Return by air may be by scheduled or charter flights.

All transport costs incurred in connection with readmission and transit as far as the border-crossing point of the requested country are borne by the requesting country.

Final provisions

This agreement is without prejudice to the rights and obligations conferred under international law, and notably under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950.

The parties are to set up a joint readmission committee responsible in particular for monitoring the application of this agreement, deciding on arrangements necessary for its uniform execution and proposing amendments to it.

EU countries and Russia are to conclude implementing protocols that lay down rules on the competent authorities, border crossing points, languages of communication, modalities for readmission under the accelerated procedure, conditions for escorted transfers, proofs and evidence additional to those listed in the annexes to this agreement, etc.

This agreement enters into force on the first day of the second month following the date on which the parties notify each other that the ratification or approval procedures have been completed. Following the completion of this procedure, the agreement entered into force on 1 June 2007.

Background

This agreement is the fifth Community agreement on readmission concluded with non-EU countries. The other agreements were concluded with Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka and Albania.

This decision was adopted at the same time as that on the conclusion of an agreement to facilitate the issuing of visas with Russia. These two agreements are part of the introduction of the “four common spaces” between the EU and Russia, one of which is the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice. These agreements follow the Joint Statement of 31 May 2003 agreed on the occasion of the Saint-Petersburg summit, stating that the EU and Russia agree to timely conclude the negotiations on a readmission agreement.

Key terms used in the act
  • Readmission: the transfer by the requesting country and admission by the requested country of persons (nationals of the requested country, third-country nationals or stateless persons) who have been found illegally entering, being present in or residing in the requesting country;
  • Requesting country: the country submitting a readmission application;
  • Requested country: the country to which a readmission application is addressed.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/341/EC

19.4.2007

OJ L 129 of 17.5.2007

EU-Russia environmental cooperation

EU-Russia environmental cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-Russia environmental cooperation

Topics

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

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

EU-Russia environmental cooperation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 17 December 2001 – EU-Russia environmental cooperation [COM(2001)772 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The dialogue and cooperation conducted between the European Union (EU) and Russia must be strengthened with regard to the environment.

The progress achieved by Russia in this area should benefit its socio-economic development, particularly in the energy and water resource management sectors, by complying with international standards for products and services intended for export, and promoting investment.

Existing cooperation frameworks

The Agreement on partnership and cooperation adopted in 1997 and its joint work programme on the environment are the partners’ principal instruments in this area.

The partners also set environmental objectives under the framework of:

  • the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue ;
  • the EU common strategy on Russia adopted in June 1999 (energy efficiency, sustainable use of natural resources, combating pollution, waste management, etc.);

The country must also renew its commitment to international cooperation, particularly under the framework of the Northern Dimension policy and the Conventions concerning the Regional Seas (the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and Atlantic Ocean), as well as the implementation of multi-lateral agreements on the environment and combating climate change.

Cooperation priorities

However, the partners’ cooperation objectives must be expanded. The new priorities are primarily based on Russia’s national objectives for the environment and resource management. In particular, these concern conserving ecosystems and developing an environmentally-friendly economy. These priorities must also comply with the principles of the European strategy for sustainable development.

In addition, the partners establish a set of short-term priorities, in particular:

  • energy and natural resource savings through the development of adapted technologies, processes and products;
  • improving environmental standards, controls and assessments;
  • waste water treatment and reducing atmospheric pollution;
  • combating industrial pollution by applying the ‘polluter pays principle’;
  • establishing mechanisms to encourage investment, including foreign investment.

Context

This Communications followed on from the 7th EU-Russia Summit on 17 May 2001 during which the partners confirmed their desire to strengthen their strategic cooperation.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2006/890/Euratom of 4 December 2006 concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Atomic Energy Community of a Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation and of the Protocol on Claims, Legal Proceedings and Indemnification to the Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation (notified under document number C(2006) 5219).