Tag Archives: Sustainable development

Conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture

Conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture


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

Agriculture > Environment

Conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 of 24 April 2004 establishing a Community programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1467/94


During the period 2004-06, the Commission is implementing a Community programme covering plant, microbial and animal genetic resources * which are or could be of use in agriculture. The amount allocated to the programme is 10 million.

The Commission selects the actions to be part-financed under the programme on the basis of calls for proposals and following evaluation by independent experts. Proposals may be submitted by a public sector body or any natural or legal person who is a national of a Member State and established in the Community, in an EFTA/EEA country, or in an associated country in accordance with the conditions stipulated in a bilateral agreement.

The actions, which may last for a maximum of four years, may be of three types:

  • targeted actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 50% of their total cost and including:
    – transnational actions promoting the ex situ and in situ conservation *, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture;
    – the establishment of a European decentralised, permanent and widely accessible web-based inventory of genetic resources currently conserved in situ including in situ/on-farm genetic resources conservation activities;
    – the establishment of a European decentralised, permanent and widely accessible web-based inventory of the ex situ collections (gene banks) and in situ resources;
    – the promotion of regular exchanges of technical and scientific information among competent organisations in the Member States;
  • concerted actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 80% of their total cost, transnational in character and promoting the exchange of information on thematic issues for the purpose of improving the coordination of actions and programmes in the sphere concerned;
  • accompanying actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 80% of their total cost and comprising information, dissemination and advisory actions, training courses and the preparation of technical reports.

Once an action has been approved, the Commission will conclude a grant agreement with the participants setting out detailed criteria for the reporting, dissemination, protection and exploitation of the results of the action.

The Commission is assisted by a Committee on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture. The Commission may also call on the assistance of scientific and technical experts for the implementation of the programme.

At the end of the programme, the Commission will appoint a group of independent experts to report on the implementation of the Regulation, to assess the results and to make appropriate recommendations. The group’s report will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Key terms used in the act
  • “Plant genetic resources” means those of agricultural crops, horticultural crops, medicinal plants and aromatics, fruit crops, forest trees and wild flora which are or could be of use in agriculture.
  • “Genetic material” means any material of plant, microbial or animal origin, including reproductive and vegetative propagating material, containing functional units of heredity.
  • In situ conservation” means the conservation of genetic material in ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species or feral breeds in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated animal breeds or cultivated plant species, in the farmed environment where they have developed their distinctive properties.
  • Ex situ conservation” means the conservation of genetic material outside its natural habitat.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 7.5.2004 OJ L 162 of 30.4.2004

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development


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

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2001/332/EC of 26 February 2001 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.


The cooperation put in place between the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh should contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the fight against poverty. Bangladesh is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Areas of cooperation

Special attention is paid by the partners to the fight against drugs and against HIV/AIDS. Their actions comprise:

  • prevention measures, monitoring and fighting AIDS;
  • information provision and educational activities;
  • improving access to health services and treatment for the sick;
  • the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Trade cooperation aims at the expansion of trade and the opening up of markets. It takes place in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. The partners therefore need to make progress towards removing trade barriers and resolving transit or re-export issues. They must improve customs cooperation and information sharing.

Moreover, the country must make progress in its undertakings as regards the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights.

Economic cooperation aims particularly at:

  • facilitating contacts between economic operators, business communities, enterprises and investors;
  • improving the business environment and conditions for investment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • promoting technology transfer.

The agreement enshrines the principle of reciprocal access by the partners to their respective public works contracts. They apply the principle of free access to international maritime transport contracts.

In the area of the environment, cooperation must make it possible in particular to:

  • reduce the risks of natural disasters, and combat soil degradation in particular;
  • develop environmental policy and workers’ training;
  • promote sustainable and non-polluting energies.

The partners share knowledge in the field of science and technology. They cooperate in combating the production of drugs and money laundering.

A key point of the partnership is the development of workers’ rights and skills. International Labour Organization (ILO) instruments are to be implemented (in the areas of child labour, forced labour, freedom of association, trade union rights, etc.). Furthermore, measures are to be taken to foster education and vocational qualifications, particularly for the poorest population sectors.

Regional cooperation

Cooperation actions may be undertaken with other countries in the region, as a priority in the fields of:

  • technical assistance and workers’ training;
  • the promotion of intra-regional trade;
  • support for regional cooperation organisations (such as the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC));
  • examining questions with a regional dimension, particularly in the sectors of transport, communications, the environment and health.

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system


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

Transport > Bodies and objectives

Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

Document or Iniciative

Commission White Paper of 28 March 2011: “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” [COM (2011) 144 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In this White Paper, the Commission sets out to remove major barriers and bottlenecks in many key areas across the fields of transport infrastructure and investment, innovation and the internal market. The aim is to create a Single European Transport Area with more competition and a fully integrated transport network which links the different modes and allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight. To this purpose, the roadmap puts forward 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade, explained in detail in the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the White Paper.

The White Paper shows how we can achieve the transformation of our transport system, keeping our objective to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 % by 2050 through:

  • developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems;
  • optimising the performance of multimodal logistic chains, including by making greater use of more energy-efficient modes;
  • increasing the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure use with information systems (including SESAR and Galileo) and market-based incentives (such as the application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles).

It also sets ten goals to guide policy and measure our progress inter alia on:

  • phasing out conventionally fuelled cars and trucks from cities by 2050;
  • shifting 30 % of medium and long distance road freight to other modes by 2030;
  • using cars for less than half of middle distance travel by 2050; or
  • halving road traffic deaths by 2020 and achieving near-zero casualties in road transport by 2050.

In order to implement the above goals, a genuine single European transport area needs to be established by eliminating all existing barriers between modes and national systems, easing the process of integration and facilitating the emergence of multinational and multimodal operators. A single European transport area would facilitate the movement of EU citizens and freight, reduce costs and improve the sustainability of EU transport. A transformation of the current European transport system will only be possible through a combination of initiatives at all levels and covering all transport modes.

In air transport, the initiatives include the completion of the Single European Sky, the deployment of the future European air traffic management system (SESAR), as well as revising the Slot Regulation to make more efficient use of airport capacity. In rail transport, the initiatives include the development of a Single European Railway Area, opening the domestic rail passengers market to competition, and establishing an integrated approach to freight corridor management. In maritime transport, the European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers should be further developed into a “Blue Belt” of free maritime movement both in and around Europe, with waterborne transport being used to its full potential. In road transport, the initiatives include the review of the market situation of road freight transport as well as the degree of convergence on road user charges, social and safety legislation, transposition and enforcement of legislation in EU countries.

The Commission also proposes initiatives concerning e-Freight, the EU approach to jobs and working conditions across transport modes, security of cargo and land transport. Proposed initiatives also aim to improve the safety in all transport modes, including civil aviation safety and the transport of dangerous goods.

Innovation is also paramount to this strategy and the EU recognises the need to promote the development and use of new technologies. The Commission therefore proposes a regulatory framework for innovative transport, including:

  • appropriate standards for CO2 emissions of vehicles in all transport modes;
  • vehicle standards for noise emission levels;
  • public procurement strategies to ensure rapid up take of new technologies;
  • rules on the interoperability of charging infrastructure for clean vehicles;
  • guidelines and standards for refuelling infrastructures.

One of the White Paper’s top priorities is to complete the trans-European transport network: TEN-T. This is essential for creating employment and economic growth because the network aims to provide a seamless chain linking all modes of transport – air, rail, road and sea.

Finally, to promote sustainable behaviour in EU transport, the White Paper puts forward the following initiatives:

  • promote awareness of alternative means of transport (walking, cycling, car sharing, park & ride, intelligent ticketing);
  • review and develop vehicle labelling for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency;
  • encourage carbon footprint calculators, allowing better choices and easier marketing of cleaner transport solutions;
  • include eco-driving requirements in the future revisions of the driving licence directive;
  • consider reducing maximum speed limits of light commercial road vehicles, to decrease energy consumption and enhance road safety.

Transport and the environment

Transport and the environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Transport and the environment


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

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

Transport and the environment

Document or Iniciative

Council report of 6 October 1999 to the European Council of Helsinki on the strategy on the integration of environment and sustainable development into transport policy.


This Council strategy defines the objectives of action by the European Union (EU) and the Member States to minimise the environmental impact of transport. It aims to ensure that environmental questions are taken into account when drawing up and implementing transport policy in the sectors concerned.

The strategy recognises the positive results of certain measures already taken at EU level, but underlines that further progress is required in the following areas:

  • avoidance and/or elimination of the negative effects of traffic growth, particularly through land use measures and infrastructure charging;
  • promotion of public transport, inter modal and combined transport and environmentally less harmful modes (e.g. railways and inland waterway);
  • further research and technological development, in particular to reduce CO2 emissions and noise;
  • raising of awareness among the public, vehicle drivers and the industry of how to reduce the environmental impact of transport, e.g. through indicators and vehicle standardisation.

The strategy calls on Member States to take these measures at national level and within the framework of international organisations. The Commission is invited to gather and disseminate information (including indicators) in these areas, present proposals on pricing and emission standards and encourage the transport sector in various ways.

A number of measures preceded and followed this strategy in various transport sectors: road, rail, maritime and air transport.

Infrastructure charging

It is possible to make users bear certain environmental costs resulting from their use of transport, particularly where they use transport infrastructures (“polluter pays” principle). This taking account of external environmental costs in infrastructure charging is authorised by two sectoral Directives. There is, however, no common legislative framework for all transport modes that would propose a common methodology and timetable in order to avoid distortions of competition.

As regards the transport of goods by road, Directive 1999/62/EC provides a common framework for fixing user charges for motorway infrastructures or those with similar characteristics. The Directive does not provide for charging for environmental costs in addition to the infrastructure cost per se. It does however allow charges to be varied to take account of levels of pollution from heavy goods vehicles and the time of day. The proposed revision of this Directive will be adopted soon and will allow Member States to apply tolls and user charges on all other roads. The principal changes are as follows:

  • application of the Directive to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from 2012, where currently it applies only to vehicles over 12 tonnes;
  • greater scope for varying tolls on the basis of environmental criteria (to encourage the use of cleaner vehicles) and time of day (to discourage traffic during peak hours and thus reduce jams);
  • variation of tolls on the basis of vehicle emission classes will be compulsory after 2010, with possible derogations;
  • possibility of introducing a increased toll on certain trans-European corridors in mountain areas to allow cross-financing of alternative transport infrastructures.

For rail transport, Directive 2001/14/EC allows the variation of charges on the basis of revenue neutrality but does not make it compulsory to charge for environmental costs in addition to infrastructure costs and these are not charged to the railway operators. Few infrastructure managers apply such variation in practice.

Proposals concerning charging for port and airport infrastructures, as well as a framework communication, are contained in the Commission work programme for 2006.

Road transport

The adoption since 1970 of a number of Directives relating to emissions from motor vehicles, whether light vehicles (cars, light commercial vehicles) or heavy vehicles (lorries, buses) has had the effect of gradually reducing emissions of gases and particles as well as, to some extent, the noise from the vehicles used. The reductions in atmospheric emissions laid down by EURO I to V concern four main pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particles and hydrocarbons.

As regards CO2, the Community objective is to achieve an average emission level from new vehicles of 120 g CO2/km. Europe has a three-pronged approach in this connection:

  • voluntary commitments by the automobile industry under which European (ACEA), Japanese (JAMA) and Korean (KAMA) car makers have undertaken to reduce average emissions from new vehicles by 25% between 1995 and 2008-2009 (from 186 g CO2/km in 1995 to 140 g CO2/km in 2008-2009). Compliance with these commitments is the subject of annual reports by the Commission;
  • better information for consumers on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions;
  • introduction of fiscal measures to promote the purchase of less polluting vehicles.

Moreover, the standards relating to transport fuel quality have been significantly improved, in particular as regards their sulphur content. The EU has also established an indicative percentage of biofuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes in each Member State (2% in 2005 and 5.75% in 2010).

Directive 1999/30/EC lays down limit values for NOx, SO2, particles and lead and alert thresholds for SO2 and NOx in ambient air. Member States must ensure that up-to-date information on the concentrations of these substances is regularly made available to the public. The limit values for NOx were due to be reached in 2001, those concerning SO2 and the EU10 in 2005 and those concerning NO2 and lead in 2010.

Non-road land transport

Polluting emissions from railway transport are regulated by the Directive on non-road mobile machinery.

Under Directive 96/48/EC on the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system, the technical specifications for interoperability (TSI) on high-speed rolling stock lay down noise limits. Following its amendment in 2004, Directive 2001/16/EC does the same for the trans-European conventional rail system.

Maritime and inland waterway transport

The EU has adopted a strategy to reduce the atmospheric emissions of seagoing ships. It has also put in place a raft of measures on maritime safety in order to prevent further ecological disasters like the Erika or Prestige. These measures concern among other things the prevention of pollution caused by ships, mechanisms for cooperation in the event of marine pollution and the possibility of criminal sanctions against those responsible for marine pollution.

Polluting emissions from inland waterway vessels are regulated by the Directive on non-road mobile machinery.

Air transport

In a communication on air transport and the environment, the Commission identified the pillars of a strategy for incorporating environmental concerns in air transport policy: improving technical environmental standards relating to noise and atmospheric emissions; strengthening economic incentives; helping airports in their environmental efforts; promoting research and development in the long term.

As regards noise, the EU has adopted rules on noise management in Community airports. These rules are based in particular on decisions taken within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). They include a ban on access to European airports for the noisiest aircraft and aircraft construction standards.

In its communication on aviation and climate change, the Commission weighs up the options for reducing the impact of the aviation sector on climate change. Apart from pursuing the possibilities available in relation to research, air traffic management and energy taxation, it also proposes to incorporate the air transport sector into the Community greenhouse gas emissions trading system.

Transport and noise

Under Directive 2002/49/EC, Member States have to map ambient noise levels from major transport infrastructures and urban transport in agglomerations. They must also draw up ambient noise management plans aimed at reducing harmful exposure and protecting quiet areas. Community legislation does not define limit values for ambient noise and leaves Member States and the competent authorities in question to decide how to protect against noise.


The growth in vehicle numbers and use is a threat to the environment and the health of European citizens.

The European Environment Agency measures, analyses and, under the TERM (Transport & Environment Reporting Mechanism), regularly reports on the environmental impact of transport. The Agency underlines the risks of the EU failing to meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The thematic strategy on atmospheric pollution fixes targets for the reduction of certain pollutants and reinforces the legislative framework to combat atmospheric pollution using a two-pronged approach: improving Community environmental legislation and including air quality considerations in related policies. As provided for in the strategy, the Commission has proposed a new “EURO V” standard to reduce polluting emissions from light motor vehicles and in particular reduce emissions from vehicles with diesel engines by 80%. The strategy also envisages a number of measures to reduce emissions of SO2 and NOx from ships (these emissions are forecast to exceed emissions from land sources by 2020).

The proposal for a Directive on energy end use efficiency and energy services underlines the important role of fuels and the transport sector in relation to energy efficiency and energy saving. It lays down a number of measures to this end.

The thematic strategy on the urban environment underlines the need to introduce plans for the sustainable urban transport of persons and goods, including environmental requirements, and linked to policies on optimum land use. It announces the distribution by the Commission of a practical guide for urban authorities to help them introduce such plans and disseminate good practice.

The formulation of this strategy was requested by the Vienna European Council (December 1998). There were calls for other strategies in the various sectors of Community action at that European Council and the Cologne European Council (June 1999). The European Council in Cardiff (June 1998) laid the foundations for coordinated action at Community level on the integration of environmental requirements in European Union policies.

Related Acts

Decision No 1753/2000/EC

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000 establishing a scheme to monitor the average specific emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars [Official Journal L 202, 10.8.2000].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, of 31 March 1998, on Transport and CO2: developing a Community approach [

COM(98) 204

– Not published in the Official Journal].

White paper: European transport policy for 2010

White paper: European transport policy for 2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about White paper: European transport policy for 2010


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

Transport > Bodies and objectives

White paper: European transport policy for 2010

This document aims to strike a balance between economic development and the quality and safety demands made by society in order to develop a modern, sustainable transport system for 2010.

Document or Iniciative

White Paper submitted by the Commission on 12 September 2001: “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” [COM(2001) 370 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission has proposed 60 or so measures to develop a transport system capable of shifting the balance between modes of transport, revitalising the railways, promoting transport by sea and inland waterway and controlling the growth in air transport. In this way, the White Paper fits in with the sustainable development strategy adopted by the European Council in Gothenburg in June 2001.

The European Community found it difficult to implement the common transport policy provided for by the Treaty of Rome. The Treaty of Maastricht therefore reinforced the political, institutional and budgetary foundations for transport policy, inter alia by introducing the concept of the trans-European network (TEN).

The Commission’s first White Paper on the future development of the common transport policy, published in December 1992, put the accent on opening up the transport market. Ten years later, road cabotage has become a reality, air safety standards in the European Union are now the best in the world and personal mobility has increased from 17 km a day in 1970 to 35 km in 1998. In this context, the research framework programmes have been developing the most modern techniques to meet two major challenges: the trans-European high-speed rail network and the Galileo satellite navigation programme.

However, the more or less rapid implementation of Community decisions according to modes of transport explains the existence of certain difficulties, such as:

  • unequal growth in the different modes of transport. Road now takes 44% of the goods transport market compared with 8% for rail and 4% for inland waterways. On the passenger transport market, road accounts for 79%, air for 5% and rail for 6%;
  • congestion on the main road and rail routes, in cities and at certain airports;
  • harmful effects on the environment and public health and poor road safety.

Economic development combined with enlargement of the European Union could exacerbate these trends.

Road transport

– Objectives: To improve quality, apply existing regulations more effectively by tightening up controls and penalties.

– Figures: For carriage of goods and passengers, road transport dominates as it carries 44% of freight and 79% of passenger traffic. Between 1970 and 2000, the number of cars in the European Union trebled from 62.5 million to nearly 175 million.

– Problems: Road haulage is one of the sectors targeted because the forecasts for 2010 point to a 50% increase in freight transport. Despite their capacity to carry goods all over the European Union with unequalled flexibility and at an acceptable price, some small haulage companies are finding it difficult to stay profitable. Congestion is increasing even on the major roads and road transport alone accounts for 84% of CO2 emissions attributable to transport.

– Measures proposed: The Commission has proposed:

  • to harmonise driving times, with an average working week of not more than 48 hours (except for self-employed drivers);
  • to harmonise the national weekend bans on lorries;
  • to introduce a driver attestation making it possible to check that the driver is lawfully employed;
  • to develop vocational training;
  • to promote uniform road transport legislation;
  • to harmonise penalties and the conditions for immobilising vehicles;
  • to increase the number of checks;
  • to encourage exchanges of information;
  • to improve road safety and halve the number of road deaths by 2010;
  • to harmonise fuel taxes for commercial road users in order to reduce distortion of competition on the liberalised road transport market.

Rail transport

– Objectives: To revitalise the railways by creating an integrated, efficient, competitive and safe railway area and to set up a network dedicated to freight services.

– Figures: Between 1970 and 1998 the share of the goods market carried by rail in Europe fell from 21% to 8.4%, whereas it is still 40% in the USA. At the same time, passenger traffic by rail increased from 217 billion passenger/kilometres in 1970 to 290 billion in 1998. In this context, 600 km of railway lines are closed each year.

– Problems: The White Paper points to the lack of infrastructure suitable for modern services, the lack of interoperability between networks and systems, the constant search for innovative technologies and, finally, the shaky reliability of the service, which is failing to meet customers’ expectations. However, the success of new high-speed rail services has resulted in a significant increase in long-distance passenger transport.

– Measures proposed: The European Commission has adopted a second ” railway package ” consisting of five liberalisation and technical harmonisation measures intended for revitalising the railways by rapidly constructing an integrated European railway area. These five new proposals set out:

  • to develop a common approach to rail safety with the objective of gradually integrating the national safety systems;
  • to bolster the measures of interoperability in order to operate transfrontier services and cut costs on the high-speed network;
  • to set up an effective steering body – the European Railway Agency – responsible for safety and interoperability;
  • to extend and speed up opening of the rail freight market in order to open up the national freight markets;
  • to join the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF).

This “railway package” will have to be backed up by other measures announced in the White Paper, particularly:

  • ensuring high-quality rail services;
  • removing barriers to entry to the rail freight market;
  • improving the environmental performance of rail freight services;
  • gradually setting up a dedicated rail freight network;
  • progressively opening up the market in passenger services by rail;
  • improving rail passengers’ rights.

Air transport

– Objectives: To control the growth in air transport, tackle saturation of the skies, maintain safety standards and protect the environment.

– Figures: The proportion of passenger transport accounted for by air is set to double from 4% to 8% between 1990 and 2010. Air transport produces 13% of all CO2 emissions attributed to transport. Delays push up fuel consumption by 6%.

– Problems: To sustain such growth, air traffic management will need to be reformed and airport capacity improved in the European Union. Eurocontrol (the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) is limited by a decision-making system based on consensus.

– Measures proposed: Creation of the Single European Sky is one of the current priorities, due to the following measures:

  • a regulatory framework based on common rules on use of airspace;
  • joint civil/military management of air traffic;
  • dialogue with the social partners to reach agreements between the organisations concerned;
  • cooperation with Eurocontrol;
  • a surveillance, inspection and penalties system ensuring effective enforcement of the rules.

Besides this restructuring of the airspace, the Commission wishes to harmonise the qualifications for air traffic controllers by introducing a Community licence for air traffic controllers.

Alongside creation of the single sky, more efficient use of airport capacity implies defining a new regulatory framework covering:

  • the amendment of slot allocation in 2003. Airport slots grant the right to take off or land at a specific time at an airport. The Commission will propose new rules on this subject ;
  • an adjustment of airport charges to encourage the redistribution of flights throughout the day;
  • rules to limit the adverse impact on the environment. The air industry must get to grips with problems such as the noise generated by airports. The European Union must take account of the international commitments entered into within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). With this in mind, the European Commission recently adopted a proposal for a directive to ban the noisiest aircraft from airports in Europe. In 2002 the ICAO will have to take specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Consideration is also being given to taxes on kerosene and the possibility of applying VAT to air tickets;
  • intermodality with rail to make the two modes complementary, particularly when the alternative of a high-speed train connection exists;
  • establishment of a European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) to maintain high safety standards;
  • reinforcement of passenger rights, including the possibility of compensation when travellers are delayed or denied boarding.

Sea and inland waterway transport

– Objectives: To develop the infrastructure, simplify the regulatory framework by creating one-stop offices and integrate the social legislation in order to build veritable “motorways of the sea”.

– Figures: Since the beginning of the 1980s, the European Union has lost 40% of its seamen. For all that, ships carry 70% of all trade between the Union and the rest of the world. Each year, some two billion tonnes of goods pass through European ports.

– Problems: Transport by sea and transport by inland waterway are a truly competitive alternative to transport by land. They are reliable, economical, clean and quiet. However, their capacity remains underused. Better use could be made of the inland waterways in particular. In this context, a number of infrastructure problems remain, such as bottlenecks, inappropriate gauges, bridge heights, operation of locks, lack of transhipment equipment, etc.

– Measures proposed: Transport by sea and transport by inland waterway are a key part of intermodality, they allow a way round bottlenecks between France and Spain in the Pyrenees or between Italy and the rest of Europe in the Alps, as well as between France and the United Kingdom and, looking ahead, between Germany and Poland.
The Commission has proposed a new legislative framework for ports which is designed:

  • to lay down new, clearer rules on pilotage, cargo-handling, stevedoring, etc.;
  • to simplify the rules governing operation of ports themselves and bring together all the links in the logistics chain (consignors, shipowners, carriers, etc.) in a one-stop shop.

On the inland waterways, the objectives are:

  • to eliminate bottlenecks;
  • to standardise technical specifications;
  • to harmonise pilots’ certificates and the rules on rest times;
  • to develop navigational aid systems.

Intermodality (combined transport)

– Objectives: To shift the balance between modes of transport by means of a pro-active policy to promote intermodality and transport by rail, sea and inland waterway. In this connection, one of the major initiatives is the ” Marco Polo ” Community support programme to replace the current PACT (Pilot Action for Combined Transport) programme.

– Figures: The PACT programme launched 167 projects between 1992 and 2000. The new “Marco Polo” intermodality programme has an annual budget of 115 million euros for the period between 2003-2007.

-Problems: The balance between modes of transport must cope with the fact that there is no close connection between sea, inland waterways and rail.

– Measures proposed: The “Marco Polo” intermodality programme is open to all appropriate proposals to shift freight from road to other more environmentally friendly modes. The aim is to turn intermodality into a competitive, economically viable reality, particularly by promoting motorways of the sea.

Bottlenecks and trans-European networks

– Objectives: To construct the major infrastructure proposed in the trans-European networks (TENs) programme, identified by the 1996 guidelines, as well as the
priority projects selected at the 1994 Essen European Council .

– Figures: Of the 14 projects selected in Essen, three have now been completed and six others, which are in the construction phase, were expected to be finished by 2005, states the Communication.

– Problems: The delays in completing the trans-European networks are due to inadequate funding. In the case of the Alpine routes which require the construction of very long tunnels, it is proving difficult to raise the capital to complete them. The Commission has proposed, in particular, completion of the high-speed railway network for passengers, including links to airports, and a high-capacity rail crossing in the Pyrenees.

– Measures proposed: The Commission has proposed two-stage revision of the trans-European network guidelines. The first stage, in 2001, was to revise the TEN guidelines adopted in Essen to eliminate bottlenecks on the main routes. The second stage in 2004 will focus on motorways of the sea, airport capacity and pan-European corridors on the territory of candidate countries. The Commission is looking at the idea of introducing the concept of declaration of European interest where specific infrastructure is regarded as being of strategic importance to the smooth functioning of the internal market.
The priority projects are:

  • completing the Alpine routes on grounds of safety and capacity;
  • making it easier to cross the Pyrenees, in particular, by completing the Barcelona-Perpignan rail link;
  • launching new priority projects, such as the Stuttgart-Munich-Salzburg/Linz-Vienna TGV/combined transport link, the Fehmarn Belt linking Denmark and Germany, improving navigability on the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen, the Galileo radionavigation project, the Iberian high-speed train network and addition of the Verona-Naples and Bologna-Milan rail links plus extension of the southern European TGV network to N?mes in France;
  • improving tunnel safety by having specific safety standards for both railway and road tunnels.

On infrastructure funding and technical regulations, the Commission has proposed:

  • changes to the rules for funding the trans-European network to raise the maximum Community contribution to 20%. This would apply to cross-border rail projects crossing natural barriers, such as mountain ranges or stretches of water, as well as to projects in border areas of the candidate countries;
  • establishment of a Community framework to channel revenue from charges on competing routes (for example, from heavy goods vehicles) towards rail projects in particular;
  • a directive designed to guarantee the interoperability of toll systems on the trans-European road network.


– Objectives: To place users at the heart of transport policy, i.e. to reduce the number of accidents, harmonise penalties and develop safer, cleaner technologies.

– Figures: In 2000 road accidents killed over 40 000 people in the European Union. One person in three will be injured in an accident at some point in their lives. The total annual cost of these accidents is equivalent to 2% of the EU’s GNP.

– Problems: Road safety is of prime concern for transport users. However, spending fails to reflect the severity of the situation. Users have the right to know what they are paying and why. Ideally, the charge for use of infrastructure should be calculated by adding together maintenance and operating costs plus external costs stemming from, for example, accidents, pollution, noise and congestion. Finally, non-harmonisation of fuel taxes is another obstacle to smooth operation of the internal market.

– Measures proposed:

On road safety, the Commission has proposed:

  • a new road safety action programme covering the period 2002-2010 to halve the number of deaths on the roads;
  • harmonisation of penalties, road signs and blood-alcohol levels;
  • development of new technologies such as electronic driving licences, speed limits for cars and intelligent transport systems as part of the e-Europe programme. In this connection, progress is being made on protection of vehicle occupants, on making life safer for pedestrians and cyclists and on improving vehicle-speed management.

On charging for use of infrastructure, the Commission has proposed:

  • a framework directive to establish the principles of infrastructure charging and a pricing structure, including a common methodology to incorporate internal and external costs and aiming to create the conditions for fair competition between modes.
    (a) In the case of road transport, charges will vary according to the vehicle’s environmental performance (exhaust gas emissions and noise), the type of infrastructure (motorways, trunk and urban roads), distance covered, axle weight and degree of congestion.
    (b) In the case of rail transport, charges will be graduated according to scarcity of infrastructure capacity and adverse environmental effects.
    (c) In the case of maritime transport, the measures proposed will be linked to maritime safety;
  • a directive on the interoperability of toll systems to be put in place on the trans-European road network.

On fuel tax, the Commission has proposed:

  • separating fuel taxes for private and commercial uses,
  • establishing harmonised taxation of fuel used for commercial purposes.

Other measures have been proposed to improve intermodality for multimodal journeys, in particular for those using rail and air successively, including integrated ticketing and improvements in baggage handling.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, of 22 June 2006, on the mid-term review of the White Paper on transport published in 2001 “Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent” [COM(2006) 314 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Towards a strategy for soil protection

Towards a strategy for soil protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a strategy for soil protection


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

Environment > Soil protection

Towards a strategy for soil protection

To formulate a plan with a view to developing a Community strategy for soil protection.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication of 16 April 2002 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection [COM (2002) 179 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

One of the objectives of the Sixth Environmental Action Programme is to protect soils against erosion and pollution. It is to fulfil this objective that the Commission is publishing this Communication, which paves the way for developing a strategy on soil protection. For the purpose of this Communication, soil is defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms.

This Communication describes the functions of soil, which include:

  • producing food,
  • storing, filtering and transforming minerals, water, organic matter, gases, etc.,
  • providing raw materials,
  • being the platform for human activity.

The Communication also identifies the main threats to soil in Europe: erosion, decline in organic matter, soil contamination, soil sealing (caused by the covering of soil for housing, roads and other infrastructure), soil compaction (caused by mechanical pressure through the use of heavy machinery, overgrazing or sporting activities), decline in soil biodiversity, salinisation (excessive accumulation of soluble salts of sodium, magnesium and calcium) and floods and landslides. All these processes are either driven or exacerbated by human activity and some degradation processes have increased over recent decades. The economic consequences and restoration costs linked to the threats to soil are huge.

The Communication examines the international initiatives taken to address soil degradation, as well as action undertaken by EU Member States and Candidate Countries. As regards Community initiatives as such, the Communication stresses that an explicit Community policy does not exist at this stage. However, measures implemented under other policies (environmental, agricultural, regional, transport, research) contribute to soil protection.

Building blocks of a thematic strategy

It is therefore essential that the EU develop a Community thematic strategy for soil. This strategy will be presented in 2004. It will take into consideration the principles of precaution, anticipation and environmental responsibility, and will focus on initiatives already being undertaken in environmental policies, better integration of soil protection in other policies, soil monitoring and new actions based on monitoring results.

In environmental policy, new legislation will supplement existing legislation:

  • in 2002: 4th Daughter Directive on air quality and a directive on mining waste;
  • in 2003: revision of the Sewage Sludge Directive and Communication on Planning and Environment, focusing on sustainable use of soil;
  • by the end of 2004: directive on compost and other biowaste.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will encourage organic farming, the maintenance of terraces, safer pesticide use, use of certified compost, forestry, afforestation and other measures for soil protection. Under the review of the CAP, the Commission intends to expand the financial commitment to rural development and soil protection.

As regards soil monitoring, the Commission will propose, by June 2004, legislation on a Community information and monitoring system for soil threats. This monitoring will provide the basis for future legislative initiatives and will be used as a tool to adjust and review existing policies in the field of soil protection.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work


2009 Employment in Europe Report

2009 Employment in Europe Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2009 Employment in Europe Report


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

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

2009 “Employment in Europe” Report

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2009” [Not published in the Official Journal].


The year 2009 has been marked by the international financial crisis, which hugely affected the labour markets, after many years of growth in employment in Europe.

Although European Union (EU) countries may have been affected in different ways, they have all experienced a decrease in job offers. The Commission observes that certain population groups are more affected by the job losses: lower-skilled young people, temporary workers and older workers.

Through the internal flexibility of companies (shorter working hours, temporary partial unemployment, etc.) and wage concessions by workers, certain countries were able to limit the job losses. However, in 2010, the unemployment rate was expected to reach 11% in the EU.

In this context, European policies have a particular role to play. They must help to preserve jobs, help people into employment and support the most vulnerable. In addition, the Lisbon Strategy cycle comes to an end in 2010, and the EU must also develop new policy priorities in order to prepare for the transition to a low-carbon “green” economy.

Analysis of labour markets

European labour markets are relatively dynamic, which indicates that job offers correspond to demand. In fact in all the EU countries, workers can change job (22% per year), return to work or leave unemployment with relative ease.

However, long-term unemployment persists for certain population groups; it continues for more than a year for 45% of people affected. The most vulnerable people are women, older and low-skilled workers. To tackle this type of unemployment, the Commission recommends recourse to appropriate employment policies, based on the principles of flexicurity.

Climate change and the development of labour markets

The EU must adopt policies aimed at developing a competitive low-carbon economy. This transition towards a green economy must have a positive impact on the labour market, specifically through:

  • the construction of new infrastructures;
  • the development of new technologies;
  • direct employment in the renewable energy sector (production, installation and maintenance);
  • the development of new service sectors.

Forecasts indicate that the sustainable development sector could create between 2.3 and 2.8 million jobs between now and 2020.

Initially, high-skilled workers will benefit from the jobs created. Education and training actions should then help to increase the general skills level in the labour markets.

The Commission also recommends the introduction of policies based on the principles of flexicurity, a respect for workers’ rights and an increase in social spending.

Finally, the Commission highlights the need to reinforce social dialogue and the assessment of labour markets.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewable energy


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

Energy > Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power (thermal and photovoltaic), hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass – are an essential alternative to fossil fuels. Using these sources helps not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation and consumption but also to reduce the European Union’s (EU) dependence on imports of fossil fuels (in particular oil and gas).
In order to reach the ambitious target of a 20% share of energy from renewable sources in the overall energy mix, the EU plans to focus efforts on the electricity, heating and cooling sectors and on biofuels. In transport, which is almost exclusively dependent on oil, the Commission hopes that the share of biofuels in overall fuel consumption will be 10% by 2020.


  • Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • Renewable Energy Road Map
  • “Intelligent Energy for Europe” programme (2003-2006)
  • The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund
  • Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004


  • Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources
  • Support for electricity from renewable energy sources


  • Biomass Action Plan


  • EU strategy for biofuels
  • Motor vehicles: use of biofuels


  • Promotion of offshore wind energy

Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs

Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs


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

Regional policy > Review and the future of regional policy

Implementation of the partnership for growth and jobs (first report)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 25 January 2006 to the Spring European Council – Time to move up a gear – Part 1: The new partnership for growth and jobs [COM(2006) 30 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The partnership for growth and jobs needs to be converted into a genuine reform with the help of the Community Lisbon Programme and the national reform programmes (NRPs). The Commission reviews their progress here.

Community Lisbon Programme

The Commission has already adopted two-thirds of the planned measures. However, certain measures have yet to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council or rely for funding on an agreement on the financial framework (2007-2013). Some noteworthy measures have been added to those already planned:

  • a communication on research and innovation;
  • the development of an integrated industrial policy;
  • initiatives to improve the tax and customs environment;
  • investigations into more competitive markets in energy and financial services;
  • a proposal to create a single payment area in Europe;
  • new Community funding available for SMEs to improve energy supply and demand.

National reform programmes

All Member States have drawn up NRPs and appointed national Lisbon coordinators. Some have streamlined internal coordination in order to improve policy coherence. The Commission does not consider it necessary at this stage to adapt the integrated guidelines and feels it is too early to propose formal, country-specific recommendations. The emphasis at this stage must be on implementing the partnership and the specific measures proposed at Community and national levels. The Commission draws the Member States’ attention to the individual evaluations of each NRP, drawing conclusions on the macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment aspects, and on specific points which will require particular attention (weaknesses).

Macroeconomic aspects

Analysis of the NRPs from a macroeconomic point of view shows that:

  • many factors complicate short-term and long-term budgetary discipline, making the macroeconomic problem more serious for Member States;
  • Member States are trying to cut spending rather than increase taxes. However, it has yet to be clearly defined where and how savings can be made;
  • the measures proposed in the “euro zone” are geared mainly towards future public finances but do not aim to support labour market adjustments or to create more competitive internal markets;
  • despite recognition of the problem of ageing populations in Europe, NRP measures appear to be piecemeal or insufficient;
  • only some Member States have taken an integrated approach in planning their NRP.

Microeconomic aspects

The following conclusions may be drawn with regard to microeconomic issues:

  • the NRPs reflect the need to increase investment in research and promote innovation;
  • 18 of the 25 Member States have set investment targets relative to GDP which at EU level will equate to 2.6% by 2010, falling short of the overall target of 3%. This figure is currently 1.9% for the EU;
  • initiatives relating to transport infrastructure and communication technologies could receive support from the cohesion and rural development funds;
  • access to internal markets (energy and services) deserve greater attention. The application of Community Directives in this area is a beginning;
  • initiatives to foster a more positive attitude towards entrepreneurship do not go far enough. Education can help to reduce the stigma of failure;
  • Member States need to adopt a more integrated approach in order to improve the rule-making which affects business and at the same time supplement action at Community level;
  • comprehensive and coordinated implementation of the different microeconomic policies may achieve much greater benefits than the sum of the individual policies put together.


The Commission draws the following conclusions with regard to employment:

  • the proposed employment objectives are inspired by Community objectives but are often piecemeal and do not take the life cycle approach;
  • greater attention should be given to “flexicurity”, facilitating the transition from one job to another with adequate social protection and a reliable lifelong learning system;
  • the reform of education systems concentrates mainly on the quality and transparency of qualifications, as well as access to them. Investment needs to be stepped up.

Overall conclusions

The NRPs are a good basis for implementing the partnership for growth and jobs, but not all are of equal quality:

  • some have set clear targets and timetables, with specific measures and budget details. Others lack such information;
  • the three dimensions (macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment) could be more closely integrated so that one measure would benefit several sectors;
  • only some Member States provide for measures to remove obstacles to market access;
  • the cohesion and rural development funds will be needed to achieve the Lisbon objectives, although the macroeconomic repercussions of using these funds will need to be taken into account. Coordination mechanisms need to be put in place for planning the use of these funds and drafting the NRPs.

Key areas

The Commission calls on the Member States to implement their national reform programmes fully and on time. To correct the shortcomings which emerged from the evaluations, it proposes four integrated actions which it intends to implement by the end of 2007:

Action 1: Investing more in knowledge and innovation

The Lisbon objective was to boost R&D spending to 3% of GDP by 2010 (1% from the public sector, 2% from the private sector). Member States must increase public spending and make it more effective through wider use of fiscal incentives and closer coordination with the other Member States with regard to spending. Public procurement has a part to play in transforming the results of research into innovation. At the same time, more competitive markets encourage businesses to be more innovative.

The private sector must be able to make a greater contribution to funding for higher education, and the link between universities and business must be strengthened. The objective should be to increase investment in higher education to 2% of GDP.

Action 2: Unlocking the business potential of SMEs

By 2007, every Member State should have set up a one-stop shop to assist would-be entrepreneurs to fulfil administrative requirements all in one place – electronically, where possible. They must set up similar one-stop shops for VAT and for the recruitment of a first employee. The time taken to set up a business should be cut in half, and start-up fees should be as low as possible.

By that date they must also adopt a methodology for measuring administrative costs for national rules and regulations. This exercise should facilitate initiatives to reduce these administrative costs. The Commission will propose similar initiatives at Community level.

Action 3: Responding to globalisation and ageing

Member States must help people to work longer, and they need to reform pension schemes, for example by changing the statutory retirement age, enhancing financial incentives for older workers to remain in work, offering more training opportunities to workers over the age of 45 or allowing gradual retirement. Disability schemes, together with health care and long-term care systems, should also be reviewed to make them more effective.

The entry of young people into the labour market, in line with the Youth Pact, is another important factor. By 2007, young people who have left school should be offered a job or additional training within 6 months, or within 100 days by 2010.

The Commission wishes to consult the social partners on better ways to reconcile family and professional life. It also plans to present a report in order to seek agreement on ‘flexicurity’ by the end of 2007, comprising the following elements:

  • reduction of labour market segmentation and undeclared work;
  • Member States to establish lifelong learning strategies to prepare people for change, supported by the European Social Fund and the Globalisation Adjustment Fund;
  • removal of obstacles to worker mobility by reaching a political agreement on the portability of supplementary pension rights.

Action 4: Moving towards an efficient EU energy policy

The Commission is proposing an energy policy designed to ensure that energy is secure, competitive and sustainable. The security of supply will be improved by:

  • strengthening and deepening the internal energy market (in particular completing the energy market by 1 July 2007), by promoting more competition in the electricity and gas markets, and by more integration between the gas pipeline systems of the Member States);
  • exploiting the potential of renewable energy sources and promoting more efficient use of energy;
  • developing a more focused, coherent and integrated approach to ensuring the security of energy.

A Green Paper has been published on ways to achieve these objectives.


The Commission intends to involve national (and regional) parliaments, local authorities and other stakeholders in the implementation of the NRPs, particularly where there has not been sufficient time to do so during the preparation of the programmes. It proposes to involve the social partners by holding an extraordinary Social Summit. The NRPs must be further developed and strengthened by mutual learning among Member States. Those Member States which have not yet set targets with regard to future R&D spending and the employment rate should do so. The Commission and Member States will ensure that the open method of coordination, in the areas of education and training, social protection and social inclusion, also makes a strong contribution to the objectives.

With regard to the implementation of the Community Lisbon Programme, the Commission has proposed a roadmap setting out the major steps required for measures supplementing the NRPs.

The European Union institutions and the Member States need to define a communication strategy to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the new partnership for growth and jobs at local, regional and national levels. This is essential in order to develop a sense of ownership on the part of all involved.


As provided for at the Spring European Council in 2005, the Commission has drawn up the first report on the implementation of the new partnership for growth and jobs. With this report, the 2006 Spring European Council will be able to review progress made and comment on any adjustments to the integrated guidelines, which serve as a basis for the national reform programmes and the Community Lisbon Programme.

Green public procurement

Green public procurement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green public procurement


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

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

Green public procurement

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 16 July 2008 on Public procurement for a better environment [COM(2008) 400 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The objective of this Communication is to provide guidance on how to reduce the environmental impact caused by public sector consumption and how to use Green Public Procurement (GPP) * to stimulate innovation in environmental technologies, products and services.

More specifically, the Communication proposes instruments which should enable the main obstacles to increased take-up of green public procurement to be removed. The Commission recommends the following:

  • setting common green public procurement criteria;
  • encouraging publication of information on life cycle costing of products;
  • increasing certainty about legal possibilities to include environmental criteria in tender documents;
  • establishing political support for the promotion and implementation of green public procurement through a political target linked to indicators and future monitoring.


This Communication covers all public procurement procedures, both above and below the thresholds defined by European public procurement Directives. The Commission has identified ten priority sectors for GPP:

  • construction;
  • food and catering services;
  • transport;
  • energy;
  • office machinery and computers;
  • clothing and other textiles;
  • paper and printing services;
  • furniture;
  • cleaning products and services;
  • equipment used in the health sector.

Common GPP criteria

The Commission highlights the need to define common green public procurement criteria. A preliminary set of criteria for products and services in the ten priority sectors has been established in the framework of a “Training Toolkit” (EN). The criteria have been based on criteria used in the granting of the European Eco-label, in particular, or, in the absence of a European label, national ecolabels and are the result of cooperation between the Commission and a group of experts made up of representatives from Member States.

GPP criteria are divided into two categories:

  • the “core” criteria are designed to allow easyapplication of green public procurement and are focused on the key area(s) of environmental performance of a product. They are aimed at keeping administrative costs to a minimum for companies who have to comply with the criteria and public authorities who have to enforce compliance with them. The Commission proposes that by 2010, 50% of all public procurement should comply with these criteria;
  • the “comprehensive” criteria take into account more aspects or are based on higher levels of environmental performance, for use by authorities that want to go further in supporting environmental goals.

Assessment and monitoring

In order to monitor green public procurement, the Commission proposes to establish two types of indicators: quantitative indicators to assess the progress of the policy and its impact on the supply side, and impact-oriented indicators allowing assessment of the environmental and financial gains made. In 2010, the Commission will evaluate the situation and produce a review which will serve as the basis for setting future targets.


The potential for green public procurement was first highlighted in the European Union in 2003 in the Commission Communication on integrated product policy. In 2004, Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC, which constitute the European framework for the procurement of public contracts, clarified how purchasers can integrate an environmental dimension into the tendering process. The Commission handbook “Buying green!”, adopted in August 2004, aims to further clarify how these new rules can be used to conclude green public contracts.

The new European Union strategy for sustainable development, adopted by the Council in June 2006, set a target that by 2010 the average level of green public procurement in the EU should be the same as the 2006 level of the best performing Member States in this area.

This Communication is part of the Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production and the Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP), which establishes a framework for the implementation of instruments aimed at improving the environmental performances of products.

Key terms of the Act

  • Green public procurement: a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.