Tag Archives: Third countries

Media Mundus audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries 2011-2013

Media Mundus audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries 2011-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Media Mundus audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries 2011-2013


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

Audiovisual and media

Media Mundus audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries 2011-2013

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1041/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing an audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries (MEDIA Mundus).


This Decision aims at establishing the programme MEDIA Mundus for the funding of projects for international cooperation with professionals from third countries in the audiovisual sector during the period 2011-2013.


The programme is intended for professionals worldwide. However, the project coordinator must be resident in one of the following countries:

  • Member States;
  • EFTA States that are members of the EEA;
  • countries which declare a willingness to be members of the programme and pay a contribution calculated on the same basis as their contribution to the MEDIA 2007 programme.

What are the conditions for participation in the programme?

Projects proposed must fulfil the following conditions:

  • be carried out jointly by European and third-country professionals;
  • have a minimum of three partners with a view to creating an international network;
  • be coordinated by a European professional and include at least one partner from a third country.

What are the objectives of the programme?

The programme aims to increase the diversity and competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry and to promote Europe’s role in culture.

Information exchange, training and market intelligence

Under the programme, European and third-country professionals meet in order to enhance their understanding of their respective audiovisual markets, particularly in terms of operating conditions, legal frameworks, financing systems and possibilities for cooperation.

It involves establishing professional training on:

  • the conditions of production, co-production, distribution and the exhibition and dissemination of audiovisual works internationally;
  • the inclusion of new technologies throughout the value chain (production, post-production, distribution, marketing and archiving).

Competitiveness and distribution

The introduction of the programme should facilitate the search for foreign partners for European audiovisual works, whilst supporting the organisation of co-production markets.

Moreover, the programme should promote international sales of audiovisual works.


At this level, the programme should:

  • improve the programming and exhibition conditions of audiovisual works in European and third-country cinemas;
  • improve broadcasting and distribution conditions for third countries’ audiovisual works on European distribution channels and European works on international distribution channels;
  • facilitate the organisation of events and initiatives, in particular aimed at young audiences.

What is the programme budget?

The financial allocation for implementing the programme throughout the 2011-2013 period is EUR 15 million (of which 13.5 million is dedicated to supporting projects).


Prompted by the effects of the digital revolution on the conditions of production and dissemination of works, the audiovisual sector has changed significantly over the last 20 years, in particular from a technical standpoint. Furthermore, its international role is increasing with regard to the protection of cultural diversity. In this context, the public consultation on MEDIA Mundus demonstrated a willingness among European professionals and their third-country counterparts to cooperate so as to better promote the circulation of audiovisual works and film literacy.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 1041/2009/EC


OJ L 288 of 4.11.2009

Related Acts

Council Decision 2010/478/EU of 26 July 2010 concerning the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation in the audiovisual field, establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the Community programme MEDIA 2007, and a Final Act [OJ L 234, 4.9.2010].

EU support for business sector development in third countries

EU support for business sector development in third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU support for business sector development in third countries


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

Development > Sectoral development policies

EU support for business sector development in third countries

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 19 May 2003: “European Community Cooperation with Third Countries: the Commission’s approach to future support for the development of the business sector” [COM(2003) 267 final – not published in the Official Journal].


On the basis of past experience in supporting business sector development in third countries, the Commission has identified five areas of intervention or instruments on which it will base its approach:

  • overall policy dialogue and support, in particular as regards macroeconomic and trade policy, and good governance, providing the regulatory framework;
  • investment and inter-enterprise cooperation promotion activities;
  • facilitation of investment financing and development of financial markets;
  • support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the shape of non-financial services;
  • support for micro-enterprises.

“Third countries” here include developing countries, countries in transition and/or reconstruction, the so-called “emerging economies”, Mexico and the OECD countries. The term does not include the candidate countries for accession to the EU.

Businesses concerned include private sector enterprises of whatever size and those public sector enterprises operating under market conditions.

Overall policy dialogue and support

The Community’s action in this area will aim at creating, through dialogue with its local counterparts, a policy framework at national and regional level to support and foster competitiveness, the market economy and good governance.

This will encompass technical assistance in support of reforms, particularly in the areas of legislation, banking, finance, taxation, public expenditure, customs procedures, trade facilitation measures, institution building and administrative efficiency.

Investment and inter-enterprise cooperation promotion activities

Community support for the promotion of investment and technology transfer from industrialised to developing countries will aim, at national and regional levels, to enhance:

  • sustainable and environmentally friendly investment (especially from abroad);
  • inter-enterprise cooperation agreements with a view to increasing the competitiveness of the economies concerned, and in particular enhancing export prospects.

Depending on the level of development of the countries involved, Community support could include strengthening the role of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), providers of investment-related services and other private intermediaries (Chambers of Commerce and Industry, professional associations, consultancies).

Facilitation of investment financing and development of financial markets

On the assumption that more efficient financial markets are essential for healthy private sector development in developing countries, the Commission intends to provide the appropriate framework for supplying well-developed and efficient financial services for SMEs.

The instruments that will be set up, especially the investment financing facilities, will ensure that high-quality and dedicated financial services are available to private companies in both the formal and informal sectors.

This should in particular mobilise private savings flows (both domestic and foreign) to finance investments that are essential for a thriving business sector.

Support for SMEs in the form of non-financial services

On the understanding that effective business development services are essential for the growth of SMEs and micro-enterprises, the Commission will encourage private sector companies to enhance their competitiveness, gain access to modern technology, improve management and seek new markets.

Several measures will be introduced, including:

  • initial and ongoing guidance for companies and professional associations;
  • upgrading of skills to help modernise enterprises and encourage the creation of networks of enterprises or cooperatives;
  • assistance with preparing and implementing business plans; etc.

Support for micro-enterprises

In many countries, micro-enterprises are the ideal means of participating in economic growth, particularly for the most disadvantaged. The greatest obstacle to the development of such enterprises is a shortage of appropriate local services, both financial and non-financial, the lack of a business culture and information about markets, and access to financial resources.

To support micro-enterprise development, the Commission proposes, in addition to the macro-and micro-economic criteria noted above, helping third countries to:

  • strengthen institutions and the capacity of intermediary bodies which represent micro-enterprises and act as providers of public goods;
  • encourage micro-finance institutions to develop new services and financial products which are well adapted to the medium- and long-term needs of small and micro-enterprises;
  • integrate micro-finance within local financial systems;
  • improve the performance of micro-finance bodies.

Implementation and follow-up

The Commission plans to retain complete control of the monitoring and assessment of the instruments put in place, and of policy, programming and design aspects of these five areas of intervention. This may also involve the implementation of specific measures, including technical assistance.

As regards the implementation and management of financial instruments, including micro-finance and non-financial services (Business Development Services), the Commission plans to make full use of intermediaries with whom it will establish appropriate management/financial agreements or conventions.

The Commission will also seek to promote and develop more effective cooperation and coordination between the Community’s external assistance programmes and the activities of the European Investment Bank and other financial intermediaries, particularly in third countries.

Common framework for joint multiannual programming

Common framework for joint multiannual programming

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common framework for joint multiannual programming


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

Common framework for joint multiannual programming

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 March 2006: Increasing the impact of EU aid: A common framework for drafting country strategy papers and joint multiannual programming [COM(2006) 88 final – Official Journal C 130 of 3 June 2006].


The programming framework for the country strategy papers (CSPs) is a multiannual programming instrument that was adopted in 2000 as part of the reform of the management of the Commission’s external aid. Between 2000 and 2006 it was applied in the programming of the CSPs and the regional strategy papers (RSPs) for all the developing countries benefiting from the European Development Fund (EDF) and from the ALA, Meda, Tacis and Cards programmes. The use of CSPs/RSPs was a way of improving the quality of the Commission’s programming. The quality and effectiveness of the CSPs was further improved by the 2004 and 2005 mid-term reviews; the regional strategies were revised in 2005.

The communication proposes an updating of the 2000 CSP framework with a view to introducing joint multiannual programming aimed at:

  • facilitating the gradual alignment of lenders on the multiannual programming cycles of the partner country;
  • increasing the possibility of synchronising the programming processes of the Member States and the Commission.

Joint multiannual programming is one of the components of the European Union (EU) action plan for effective aid and one of the principles set out in the European Consensus on Development.

The principles of effective programming

The Commission recommends that the structure of the CSPs and its main components be guided by the following principles:

  • compliance with cooperation and partnership agreements and consistency with regional strategies;
  • compatibility with the objectives of the European Consensus (eradication of poverty, sustainable development, promotion of democracy, etc.);
  • consistency between the objectives of development policy and those of other policies defining relations with the partner country;
  • allowance for the diverse nature of partners, as regards both general policy and cooperation programmes, and for cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, human rights and a sustainable environment;
  • sharing of information between all concerned and complementarity between the activities of the Commission and the Member States and those of other international donors;
  • use of budget support, whether general or sectoral, for implementation;
  • focus on a limited number of areas for inclusion;
  • preparations for the strategy and programming on the basis of the partner country’s agenda;
  • a results-based approach to programming, implementation and evaluation in order to measure the impact of aid;
  • involvement of civil society, the private sector, local authorities and parliaments in drawing up and implementing the cooperation strategy;
  • regular evaluation of the performance of CSPs with a view to adjusting strategies in the light of the findings.

The essential components for CSPs

The Commission proposes that the CSPs include the following components, which, in its view, are essential:

  • the framework for relations between the donor and the partner country (including association and partnership agreements);
  • country analysis:

– the political, economic, commercial, social and environmental situation in the partner country;
– the partner country’s agenda, including the development strategy;
– the viability of the country’s current policies and medium-term strategies;

  • an overview of past and present cooperation with the donor;
  • a description of the state of the partnership with the country;
  • the donor’s cooperation strategy and specific objectives, the consistency of the strategy with other external aid instruments and policies, and complementarity with other donors;
  • a national indicative programme (NIP), i.e. a work programme covering several years and defining measurable objectives, the target groups, the programmes for achieving those objectives, the contribution to be made by the donor, the nature and scope of the support mechanisms, the results expected and an implementation timetable;
  • annexes, including a summary table for the country, a short environmental profile, a prospective donor matrix, a migration profile, an account of consultations with non-state actors and a harmonisation roadmap where there is one.

Using these components, the Commission will draw up its CSPs on the basis of a gradual approach starting immediately with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and followed at a later date by Asia, Latin America, the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy and Russia.

The procedure for drawing up a CSP

Joint programming must be a process that is:

  • flexible and thus able to take on different forms depending on the situation in the partner countries and on the donors and their readiness for harmonisation;
  • gradual in that it must make provision for gradual stages of integration as the situation develops;
  • open in that it should not be restricted to Member States and can merge into any existing processes aimed at introducing joint programming;
  • conducive to the partner country playing a leading role in preparing the ground and coordinating joint programming. If the country does not have that capacity, it must be given the support it needs to acquire it;
  • a forum for the Commission delegations and other development partners on the ground so as to ensure frequent exchanges between headquarters and local offices.

The stages of joint programming

The first stage of joint programming is joint analysis of the elements essential for drawing up a cooperation strategy, namely:

  • evaluation of the global political situation;
  • appraisal of the country’s macroeconomic, social and environmental background;
  • formulation of the partner country’s priorities;
  • analysis of lessons from cooperation in the past and analysis of consistency with the partner country’s other policies.

The second stage is the formulation of a joint strategic response involving:

  • joint setting of cooperation objectives with the partner country;
  • selection of focal areas, including a division of labour between the partners (donor matrix);
  • an outline of financial allocations and risk analysis, and commitments by the partner countries on the basis of a joint agreement.

Related Acts

Council conclusions on “Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness: delivering more, better and faster”. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 11 April 2006 [Not published in the Official Journal].

The Council approves the Commission proposal concerning joint multiannual programming and adopts the benchmark model for a common framework for drawing up country strategy papers and the principles concerning joint multiannual programming.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 March 2006: ” Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness – The challenges of scaling up EU aid 2006-2010″ [COM(2006) 85 final- Official Journal C 130 of 3 June 2006].

Communication from the Commission of 2 March 2006: ” EU Aid : Delivering more, better and faster” [COM(2006) 87 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Closer practical cooperation

Closer practical cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Closer practical cooperation


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

Closer practical cooperation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on strengthened practical cooperation – New structures, new approaches: improving the quality of decision making in the common European asylum system [COM(2006) 67 – not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission feels that practical cooperation will enable asylum services to become familiar with the practices of others and to develop closer working relations. The main goal is to improve convergence in decision-making in this area.

The European Union (EU) aims to provide asylum authorities with a “common tool box”. The Commission feels that, through using the same tools and applying the same safeguards, Member States will also build trust and confidence in each others’ systems and achieve greater consistency in practice.

Such trust and confidence is needed if we are to establish a Single Procedure. The Commission’s Single Procedure Communication proposed a range of actions which could be taken to enable greater convergence between Member States and ensure that all applications for protection in the EU are covered by the same procedural guarantees. Single Procedure activities should be aimed at:

  • identifying where changes need to be made in Member States’ administrative practice in order to implement the first-stage instruments;
  • assessing how the quality and efficiency of asylum systems can be improved through including all possible grounds for protection in one decision;
  • identifying best practice in managing resources in a Single Procedure.

The Commission’s intention is to improve the collection and processing of Country of Origin Information (COI) as this is central to the asylum decisions taken by Member States. COI enables the asylum authorities of Member States to verify statements made by applicants concerning their need for protection and to establish whether the applicant should benefit from international protection.

In order to enhance cooperation between Member States’ asylum authorities, the Commission proposes to:

  • establish common guidelines on the production of COI;
  • establish a “common portal” to Member States’ COI databases;
  • find a pragmatic solution to the translation difficulties facing Member States in dealing with COI from different sources.

The result of these activities should lead in the longer term to the future development of an EU COI database.

The Commission also intends to propose the establishment of an asylum cooperation network which it would manage itself. The aim of such a network will be to:

  • improve convergence in asylum policies;
  • contribute to the harmonised implementation of the first stage of the Common European Asylum System;
  • lay the foundations for the establishment of a fully fledged Common European Asylum System.

It will provide a systematic basis for exchanging information, promoting best practice and establishing a repository of expertise.

The Hague Programme says that the structures involved in practical cooperation should be transformed into a European support office for all forms of cooperation between Member States relating to the Common European Asylum System.

At this stage the Commission feels that the European support office could be given a technical support function for the operation of the COI “common portal” and an EU COI database. It could also incorporate a training facility on all aspects related to the application of the Common European Asylum System. The office would also coordinate responses to particular pressure situations.

As practical cooperation expands, demands relating to the coordination of Member States’ activities may exceed the capacity of the future asylum cooperation network. The Commission considers that cooperation activities will soon acquire a critical mass, requiring a more structured devolution of technical functions. The Commission will report early in 2008 on the progress achieved. On the basis of this report, a feasibility study will be carried out on the establishment of a European support office.

In addition to the specific mandate of the asylum cooperation network, some asylum activities could be carried out by the Commission, making use of the advice of expert groups such as the Eurasil network.

The Commission also points out that asylum burdens could be felt disproportionately by a few Member States. While the Temporary Protection Directive provides for solidarity between Member States in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons, it does not provide an adequate response to the kind of particular pressure on asylum services and reception capacities experienced by Member States.

To improve this situation, the Commission proposes:

  • amending the European Refugee Fund so that Member States can quickly access funds for emergency actions;
  • streamlining the procedure contained in the ARGO programme enabling quicker access to funding for urgent actions;
  • setting up expert teams to address reception and processing issues for sudden arrivals of large numbers at the external border of the EU.

Longer-term options include a comprehensive assessment of particular pressure situations which have occurred in the past and the setting up of a network of Member State information officers in selected third countries.

The Commission also proposes to focus on training of asylum service personnel. The agreement of key principles of good practice for administrative acts such as interviewing and decision making would provide a firm basis for the development of a European curriculum leading to even greater convergence in practice and administrative methods.

The first wave of practical cooperation will encourage Member States to present projects together with other like-minded Member States. The Commission feels that such actions must be supported, but points out that existing financial opportunities, through the ARGO Programme and the Community Actions of the European Refugee Fund, do not provide the flexibility or increased funding needed. To address this shortfall, the Commission therefore intends to make proposals to amend the ERF and the ARGO Programme to ensure that delivery of the Hague priorities can be supported.


With the adoption on 1 December 2005 of the Asylum Procedures Directive, the first phase of the Common European Asylum System was completed. The deadline set by the Hague Programme for the completion of the second phase of the establishment of the Common European Asylum System – establishing a common asylum procedure – is 2010.

In this programme, the European Council also called for the establishment of appropriate structures involving the national asylum services of the Member States with a view to facilitating practical cooperation. Such cooperation constitutes a common approach through administrative consistency and the sharing of expertise, resources and knowledge. The Hague Programme says that these structures should be transformed into a European support office for all forms of cooperation between Member States relating to the Common European Asylum System.


External relations and enlargement

External relations and enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about External relations and enlargement


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

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > External relations and enlargement

External relations and enlargement

The European Union Member States have to share an extremely mobile and often overtapped resource. The survival of the fisheries sector requires the implementation of common rules beyond Community waters. For this reason, on behalf of the European Union, the European Commission negotiates bilateral fisheries agreements with third countries, participates in various regional fisheries organisations (RFOs) and contributes to drawing up international agreements.
For that matter, the adoption of the Community fisheries laws by applicant countries is a prerequisite for the success of their EU membership process.


  • Dimension extérieure de la politique commune de la pêche réformée
  • Autorisation to fish in third-country waters
  • Partnership agreements with Non-EU Member Countries
  • Black Sea Synergy


  • Participation in Regional Fisheries Organisations


Ongoing enlargement

  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Agriculture, fisheries and food safety
  • Croatia – Agriculture, fisheries and food safety
  • Turkey – Agriculture, fisheries and food safety
  • Iceland – Agriculture, fisheries and food safety

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

May 2004 enlargement

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environment: cooperation with third countries


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

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Our land, seas, rivers and air are under attack from factors which do not recognise international borders; when it comes to protecting the environment, the issues go well beyond the scope of national or regional considerations. The European Union and its individual Member States actively pursue a pro-environment policy in the context of successive EU enlargements, in bilateral relations with non-EU countries or regional groupings, and when negotiating and signing up to international agreements.


Ongoing enlargement

  • Turkey – Environment
  • Croatia – Environment
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Environment
  • Iceland – Environment

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Enlargement of May 2004

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia


General framework

  • Environmental integration in external relations
  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy
  • Integrating sustainable development into Community cooperation policy

Bilateral relations

  • EU-Russia environmental cooperation

Regional relations

  • Environment strategy for the Mediterranean
  • Europe-Asia cooperation strategy
  • Pan-European cooperation after enlargement
  • Multilateral Environment for Europe process
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • European Union Strategy for Danube Region
  • Baltic Sea Strategy


Air and climate

  • Kyoto Protocol on climate change
  • Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution
  • Protocol on Heavy Metals


  • Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean
  • Helsinki Convention on the protection of the Baltic Sea
  • OSPAR Convention
  • Maritime safety: Bunkers Convention
  • Helsinki Convention: trans-boundary watercourses and international lakes
  • Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

Nature and biodiversity

  • The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity
  • Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)
  • Bern Convention
  • Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  • Conservation of migratory species – Bonn Convention
  • Convention on the Protection of the Alps


  • United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought


  • The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals
  • Basel Convention
  • Transboundary effects of industrial accidents

Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries

Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries


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

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries (Green Paper)

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 28 November 2006 on diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries [COM(2006) 712 final – Official Journal C 30 of 10.02.07].


Despite the existing provisions in the field of diplomatic and consular protection, a Eurobarometer survey shows that few citizens are actually aware this right exists. This Commission Green Paper proposes courses of action for:

  • giving citizens more comprehensive information;
  • examining the scope of the protection which citizens should be offered;
  • initiating a debate on the resources that the Union should have for this (creation of “common offices”);
  • developing links with third-country authorities
  • ensuring citizens are informed of their rights.

The Commission wishes to ensure that citizens are more fully informed about their rights as regards diplomatic and consular protection under Article 20 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty) and Article 46 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. The institutions and the Member States should ensure that citizens and the business sectors involved in passenger transport, such as travel agencies, are provided with regular information. This could be done by distributing information leaflets, posting information on the “Europa” site and on the websites of Commission delegations in third countries, putting up posters in places such as airports, railway stations, ports, etc. The Commission also moots the possibility of citizens’ putting questions about consular and diplomatic protection to ” Europe Direct “.

If their country does not have an embassy or consulate in a given third country, citizens must be given information about other Member States’ embassies and consulates there. There are currently only three countries where all 25 Member States have either an embassy or a consulate: the People’s Republic of China, the United States of America and the Russian Federation.

The Commission proposes adopting a recommendation calling on the Member States to print Article 20 EC in the passports of all Community nationals as a way of reminding citizens of their rights. It also suggests publishing any measures connected with the implementation of Article 20 EC in the Official Journal.

As regards travel advice, each Member State issues advice to its nationals, giving its own assessment of the risk entailed, which may differ from that of other Member States. The possibility of coordinated presentation of the different advice given should be investigated.

Ensuring extensive protection of citizens

Article 20 of the EC Treaty obliges Member States to protect EU citizens as they would their own nationals. That said, the type of protection offered differs from State to State: citizens are therefore confronted with as many protection schemes as there are Member States. The Commission considers that differences between the various aspects of protection should be examined over the longer term, and intends to look into the possibilities of offering citizens similar protection, irrespective of nationality.

The European Commission wishes to explore the following courses of action:

  • Protecting European citizens working and living in third countries. The Commission suggests including provisions protecting Union citizens working and living in third countries in Member States’ bilateral agreements with third counties, in order to apply Decision 88/384/EEC as intended.
  • Protecting EU citizens’ family members who are not nationals of a Member State. Community nationals and their non-Community family members must be protected jointly, for instance, in the event of evacuation or repatriation in times of conflict. The Commission suggests extending consular protection to EU citizens’ family members who are nationals of a third country, either by amending Decision 95/553/EC or by means of a Commission proposal based on Article 22 of the EC Treaty.

The aftermath of the tsunami at the end of 2004 revealed the scale of the task of identifying and repatriating remains. Third-country local authorities can require a series of formalities, such as a mortal remains certificate or health and police certificates confirming death and causes of death, public health requirements concerning the coffin, or a certified translation of the administrative documents. The families of victims therefore have to cope with the complex procedures and costs of repatriation.

The European Commission considers it important to prevail on all Member States to accede to the Council of Europe Convention of 26 October 1973 on the transfer of corpses, which is designed to simplify administrative formalities for repatriating remains but which only fifteen Member States have ratified. Furthermore, the European Commission envisages setting up a European compensation system for the costs of repatriating remains. It also wishes to simplify procedures for financial advances.

Setting up “common offices” between Member States

Requests for protection should not cause any particular problem when dealing with individual situations, such as loss of documents. However, the situation may be different in the case of large groups of people in the wake of pandemics, acts of terrorism or military conflicts.

The European Commission considers that there needs to be a fair division of tasks between the Member States in cases of requests for assistance or repatriation by a large number of citizens whose own State has no representation. The Commission envisages setting up common offices between Member States and staff training to help streamline functions and save on the fixed costs of the structures of Member States’ diplomatic and consular networks. The functions performed by these common offices could be based on a system of deputising between Member States. In the long term, common offices could perform consular functions, such as issuing visas or legalising documents.

Inserting consent clauses in mixed agreements entered into with third countries

Finally, the Commission notes that implementation of Article 20 EC requires the consent of the third countries. It suggests inserting a consent clause in mixed agreements concluded with third countries and looking into the possibilities of getting the consent of third countries for the Union to exercise a duty of protection, via the Commission delegations, in cases relating to Community competence.

Any interested parties may contribute to this Green Paper until 31 March 2007.