Tag Archives: Training

European Youth Pact

European Youth Pact

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Youth Pact


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

European Youth Pact

Document or Iniciative

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


The Communication draws attention to the three strands of the Pact adopted by the European Council in March 2005:

  • employment, integration and social advancement;
  • education, training and mobility;
  • reconciliation of family life and working life.

The measures to be taken in these three areas will have to be fully incorporated into the revised Lisbon Strategy, the European Employment Strategy, the Social Inclusion Strategy and the ” Education and Training 2010 ” work programme.

For the purpose of implementing the different measures, the Member States will draw on the “integrated guidelines for growth and employment”, within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Commission’s text highlights the aspects of the integrated guidelines and the Community Lisbon programme that are relevant to the Pact.

Measures for the employment, integration and social advancement of young people

The following guidelines have the most relevance for young people:

  • promotion of a life-cycle approach to work (entailing, inter alia, renewed efforts to build employment pathways for young people and to reduce youth unemployment, in tandem with resolute action to eliminate gender gaps in employment, unemployment and pay);
  • creation of inclusive labour markets for job-seekers and disadvantaged people;
  • improvement in the matching of labour market needs;
  • expansion of investment in human capital;
  • adjustment of education and training systems in response to new skills requirements.

The Member States will receive financial assistance from the European Social Fund and the European Investment Bank for implementing the necessary measures. The Commission wants the Member States to devise tailor-made action plans providing job search assistance, guidance services and training. The Communication also proposes that:

  • the Commission and the Member States give priority to young people in the mutual learning programme on employment in 2005;
  • the Commission and the Member States, through the Social Inclusion Strategy, improve the situation of the most vulnerable young people;
  • the Commission launch a study on the social integration of highly disadvantaged young people in 2005.

Measures for education, training and mobility

The priorities are:

  • reducing the number of early school leavers;
  • widening access to vocational, secondary and higher education, including apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training;
  • defining common frameworks to make qualification systems more transparent;
  • tackling the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • implementing the Europass decision;
  • developing a “Youthpass”.

The Commission intends, during 2005 and 2006, to:

  • adopt a Communication on entrepreneurship education;
  • propose a European Qualifications Framework;
  • adopt a Recommendation on key competences.

The Communication looks at ways of enhancing young people’s mobility, highlighting a number of initiatives:

  • in 2006, the European Year of Worker Mobility, specific initiatives will be taken for the benefit of young people entering the job market;
  • from 2007, there will be follow-up to the 2002-05 action plan of the Commission and the Member States for skills and mobility;
  • the Member States will be asked to boost implementation of the Recommendation on the mobility of students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers;
  • the Commission will adapt tools such as EURES and PLOTEUS with a view to enhancing the opportunities for young people to work and study abroad;
  • the Commission will, in 2005, make recommendations on a mobility card for young people in Europe;
  • the Commission will think about extending the “Working holidays” initiative;
  • the Commission and the Member States will, in 2007, implement new forms of European Voluntary Service.

Measures for reconciling family life and working life

The Communication makes it clear that a better balance is needed between work and family life in order to tackle the problems associated with demographic ageing and a low birth rate. With a view to better reconciling family and working life, the Commission will encourage:

  • the Member States to make provision for quality accessible and affordable childcare facilities and care for other dependants;
  • the Member States, assisted by the Commission, to develop new forms of work organisation, such as flexitime, tele-working, maternity and parental leave.

Following on from the Green Paper on Europe’s changing demographics, the Commission has launched a process of consultation with the aim of identifying policies to be pursued or reinforced at European and national levels.


The citizenship of young people is a focal point of the open method of coordination. With a view to improving participation, information, voluntary activities and knowledge of youth issues, the Council adopted 14 common objectives in 2003 and 2004. In its Communication of October 2004 [COM(2004) 694 final], the Commission gave a positive evaluation of the activities conducted at European level, while stressing the need for suitable measures at national level to consolidate the common objectives.

The Pact and associated actions ought to give rise to better understanding and greater knowledge of youth in the areas concerned, namely:

  • employment;
  • integration and inclusion;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • mobility;
  • recognition of youth work.


The Communication draws attention to other policies which are relevant to young people:

  • since 2005, the European campaign “For Diversity – Against Discrimination” has been extended to young people;
  • a European initiative for the health of children and young people is planned for 2006;
  • studies focusing specifically on youth will be undertaken as part of the Sixth Research Framework Programme;
  • the Seventh Research Framework Programme will include youth-related research, which could focus on the impact of young people’s participation in representative democracy and voluntary activities;
  • the Commission will launch, in 2005, a public consultation on sport.


Policy actions targeting young people should be accompanied by programmes supporting projects that encourage young people to become active citizens. Various European programmes support such projects:

  • European Social Fund;
  • European Regional Development Fund;
  • Rural Development Fund;
  • ” Youth ” and “Youth in Action”;
  • Integrated Lifelong Learning Programme;
  • ” Citizens for Europe “;
  • Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme;
  • Marie Curie Programme;
  • European Science Education Initiative.


As far as the Pact itself is concerned, the European Council has emphasised the need to consult young people and their organisations both on the development of national reform programmes for the Lisbon Strategy and on follow-up action. National youth councils should, in any event, be among those consulted.

The Commission also intends to consult young people and the European Youth Forum on youth policy. This consultation process will culminate in the holding of a Youth Assembly in 2005. In addition, the Commission hopes that this assembly will be a precursor of “annual encounters” between young people and Commissioners.


This Communication builds on the European Youth Pact adopted by the Heads of State or Government during the European Council of March 2005.

Adoption of the Pact coincides with the completion of the first cycle of implementing the White Paper on a new impetus for European youth, published in 2001.

Related Acts

Resolution of the Council of 24 November 2005 on addressing the concerns of young people in Europe — implementing the European Pact for Youth and promoting active citizenship[Official Journal C 292/5 of 24.11.2005]
The Council invites the Member States to develop structured dialogue with young people and their organisations at national, regional and local level on policy actions affecting them, with the involvement of researchers in the youth field. It calls on the Member States and the Commission to:

  • encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning, for example through developing a “Youthpass” and considering its inclusion in Europass, and consider the validation of such learning;
  • identify obstacles to and exchange, develop and apply good practice concerning young people’s mobility in order to make it easier for them to work, volunteer, train and study throughout the European Union and further afield;
  • evaluate the framework for European cooperation in the youth field in 2009.

Conclusions of the Council Presidency at the end of the European Council meeting on 22 and 23 March 2005

The European Council called on the Member states, within the framework of the European Employment Strategy and the Social Inclusion Strategy, to improve the education, training, mobility, vocational integration and social inclusion of young people, while facilitating the reconciliation of working life and family life.

The Pact should ensure the overall consistency of initiatives to be taken in these different areas. Its success depends on the involvement of all parties concerned, first and foremost youth organisations.

Vocational training

Vocational training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Vocational training


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

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

Vocational training

Citizens must be able to acquire the skills, knowledge and competences required of them in today’s knowledge-based economy. Vocational education and training (VET) plays a key role. European cooperation in VET aims to ensure that the European labour market is open to all. Based on the Copenhagen process, it consists of the development of common European frameworks and tools that enhance the transparency, recognition and quality of competences and qualifications, as well as facilitate the mobility of learners and workers. The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are the main bodies involved in supporting cooperation in VET.


  • Priorities for vocational education and training (2011-2020)
  • The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training
  • A new impetus for cooperation in vocational education and training
  • Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)
  • European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET
  • European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)
  • European Qualifications Framework
  • EUROPASS – Serving citizen mobility
  • EUROPASS-Training
  • Education and training in the nuclear energy field
  • Right of residence for students


  • Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-13
  • Leonardo da Vinci (Phase II) 2000-2006
  • Iris
  • Force
  • Eurotecnet
  • Comett II
  • Comett I


  • Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
  • European Training Foundation (ETF)
  • Advisory Committee on Vocational Training
  • Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training)


  • System for the recognition of professional qualifications
  • Lawyers: freedom of establishment

Report on employment in Europe 2004

Report on employment in Europe 2004

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on employment in Europe 2004


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

Report on employment in Europe 2004

Document or Iniciative

Commission report on Employment in Europe 2004. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].


Economic growth in the enlarged European Union slowed in 2003 whilst world growth accelerated, driven by the United States and Japan. As a result, employment growth in the EU in 2003 was virtually zero, unlike in the United States where jobs continued to be created steadily.

It is the most vulnerable sectors of the labour market in the European Union, especially the industrial sector, young people and the low skilled, that suffer most in this difficult situation. What is more, the employment situation is very uneven throughout the 25 Member States, with close to half of them seeing employment decline in 2003 and the other half enjoying employment growth of more than 1 %.

Employment is a key element of the Lisbon strategy, which is intended to increase the volume and enhance the quality of work and its role as a promoter of social inclusion and cohesion. The employment strategy is built around three quantitative objectives, namely an employment rate of 70 % for the entire population, 60 % for women and 50 % for older people by 2010. Although progress was made in 2003 in terms of women’s and especially older people’s employment, the employment rate as a whole stagnated at around 63 %.

In general, the failure to hit the Lisbon targets reflects the structural problems in the labour market in the various Member States. Radical reforms are required to enhance the prospects of employment for women, young people and older persons. At the same time, these efforts to increase the rate of employment must be accompanied by an increase in productivity and job quality.

The key factors in employment: institutions active labour market and policies (ALMPs)

To increase the rate of employment, it is crucial for the economy to open up to trade. However, in the current situation, two specific instruments may also need to be deployed: expenditure on ALMPs and the use of part-time work. As far as ALMPs are concerned, the report views the measures on behalf of young people and to improve public employment services as being particularly effective. Their positive impact on employment is even more marked in countries where unemployment and social security benefits are lower in comparison with income from employment.

However, the report plays down the long-term impact of tax incentives on employment. The level of taxation and social security contributions does not appear to affect the overall rate of employment appreciably, although it does have a detrimental effect on low-skilled employment. As a general rule, ALMPs are more effective where wage bargaining is coordinated at central or sectoral level than in decentralised bargaining systems.

Employment in services is lagging behind the United States

There is a considerable gap in employment in the services sector between the EU and the United States, where the sector accounts for a greater proportion of the labour market. This is particularly true in the case of women and older workers, which means that there is untapped potential for creating jobs in services. The highest job creation rates in the United States are for both the most highly and least skilled jobs, although some EU Member States are equally as dynamic in this area.

The differences in employment in services between Europe and the United States reflect radical differences in consumption patterns and the level of final demand. Easier access to work for women and older persons in the United States generates a greater demand for services which explains why jobs are being created more quickly in this sector. The less dynamic employment situation in the EU is accounted for less by inflexibility, which is frequently cited as an obstacle to creating low-skilled jobs, than by weak household consumption.

In order to better tap the potential for employment in services, it is up to the Member States to set up a genuine single market in services and also to redirect public investment towards creating relatively well-paid and highly-productive jobs in social education and health services.

Education and training to get people out of low-paid and insecure employment

The various types of contracts and new forms of recruitment enable enterprises to respond more effectively to demand in real time. However, this flexibility carries the risk of lower job security for certain workers, which can adversely affect productivity and equality of employment. Although it is possible to make the transition from a temporary or low-paid job to a more stable and better paid job in most cases, the rate of exclusion from the labour market is still very high for vulnerable workers. There are marked differences between the Member States for workers attempting to make the transition from unemployment to insecure employment and then to permanent employment.

Women, the low-skilled and older workers are more likely to have temporary contracts and are more vulnerable in terms of pay and advancement prospects. The report takes the view that qualifications and training offer the best opportunities of strengthening a person’s position in the labour market. As a rule, flexibility should not marginalise the most vulnerable workers. Active labour market policies must deploy public employment and training services to make it easier to gain access to and improve one’s position in the labour market.

Employment and globalisation

In terms of growth and employment, the European economies have benefited from integrating their markets and from the increasing pace of globalisation. In the short term, the 2004 enlargement should not have a significant effect on pay and employment in the EU. By contrast, technological progress and higher productivity in some sectors are likely to lead to more restructuring and relocation. Transitional policies must be implemented to enable workers who have been relocated or laid off to retrain or strengthen their position in the labour market.

The differences in pay vis-à-vis international competitors in some sectors will not necessarily result in job losses in the EU. Policies geared to productivity and research will enable flexible and highly qualified labour forces to reap the benefits of globalisation. EU companies will need to modernise to maintain their competitive edge if job security is to be safeguarded for everyone.


Despite the efforts made to reform its labour markets, the EU is not on schedule to hit the employment targets set in Lisbon for 2010. The report’s priority recommendation is to encourage greater participation of women and older persons in the labour market, mainly by creating more jobs in services. Moreover, training and public employment services must be developed in order to strike a balance between flexibility and job security. The European employment strategy offers a suitable instrument for reinforcing national action on employment and harnessing globalisation for the benefit of the EU’s economic and social objective.


Report from the Commission (2003). Employment in Europe 2003 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission (2002). Employment in Europe 2002 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission (2001). Employment in Europe 2001 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission (2000). Employment in Europe 2000 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package


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

Transport > Rail transport

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2004 entitled “Further integration of the European rail system: the third railway package [COM(2004) 140 final – not published in the Official Journal].


In 2001 the Commission set out its objectives for the reform of rail transport in the White Paper ” European transport policy for 2010: time to decide “.The present communication announces the third railway package. The Commission proposes the opening-up of services to competition by 2010 and puts forward proposals concerning the certification of drivers and strengthening of passengers’ rights.

This third railway package comprises two directives and two regulations (of which one was rejected by the Parliament):

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 142 final] on the certification of drivers

In its communication the Commission stresses the impact of driver training on safety. It considers that driver skills fall into two categories:

  • general skills relating to the job of driver;
  • more specific skills relating to line knowledge, the rolling stock and the operating procedures of the railway undertaking for which the driver works.

With the opening-up of the rail freight markets, a growing number of drivers will find themselves operating on the network of another Member State. The Commission therefore wishes to establish:

  • a certification system attesting that the driver has sufficient general knowledge, authenticated by a licence issued to the individual driver that is recognised and valid throughout the Community;
  • a series of certificates attesting to specific knowledge (relating to a specific route, rolling stock and railway undertaking) and allowing the driver to operate.

Proposal for a Regulation [COM(2004) 143 final] on passengers’ rights

In order to make the railways more attractive, the Commission also wishes passengers’ rights to be better protected – particularly with regard to reimbursement for train delays. The situation of passengers on international journeys is often less secure. The Commission therefore considers that the current international arrangements, based on the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), are inadequate and do not directly create passengers’ rights.

Access to information and fares, and the option of buying international rail tickets easily, are in the Commission’s view the very least that is needed to make rail services attractive. In addition, the Commission wishes liability to be clearly defined in the event of accidents, incidents or train delays. On this last point, compensation thresholds should be set and the various channels for passengers’ appeals clearly identified. Lastly, the Commission considers that greater account should be taken of the needs of people with reduced mobility.

In the Commission’s view, these arrangements to protect passengers’ rights will be all the more vital once the market is opened up for certain services.

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 139 final] on opening up the passenger transport market

The Commission stresses the contrasts between regional, national and international rail traffic and wishes to take these diverse segments into account by combining two models for opening up to competition:

  • under the first, a competitive procedure can be used to award a public service contract. In the Commission’s view this model would work well for suburban and regional services, which transport the vast majority of passengers. It forms the basis of the Commission’s proposal to modernise Regulation No 1191/69 on public service obligations;
  • the other model consists in opening up access to the infrastructure for operators wishing to provide international services. This model would be better suited to long-distance services and to specific services where commercial innovation is likely to attract new customers.

The competitors will need to have:

  • rolling stock and drivers authorised for service in the Member States in which they plan to operate;
  • a railway undertaking licence in a Member State;
  • a safety certificate issued by the national safety authority of each of the Member States they plan to cross;
  • infrastructure capacity, in order to provide a regular service.

The Commission therefore wishes all international services to be opened up to competition on 1 January 2010. This opening-up also includes cabotage on international services (carriage of passengers between two places within the same Member State).

Interoperability requirements

The Commission also points out that integrating Europe’s railway systems requires technical harmonisation in order to ensure the interoperability of rolling stock and equipment.

A fourth proposal rejected by the Parliament

The Commission had also made a proposal for a regulation aiming to improve the quality of rail services. It was rejected first time round by the Parliament. In particular the text proposed establishing mandatory minimum clauses in transport contracts, among which there was a proposal for a compensation system in case of freight being delayed or damaged. It would have encouraged railway undertakings and their clients to regulate quality management contractually.

The role of universities in the Europe of knowledge

The role of universities in the Europe of knowledge

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The role of universities in the Europe of knowledge


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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

The role of universities in the Europe of knowledge

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 5 February 2003 – The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge [COM(2003) 58 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Given their central role, the creation of a Europe of knowledge is for the universities a source of opportunity, but also of major challenges. Indeed universities go about their business in an increasingly globalised environment which is constantly changing and is characterised by increasing competition to attract and retain outstanding talent, and by the emergence of new requirements for which they have to cater. Yet European universities generally have less to offer and lower financial resources than their equivalents in the other developed countries, particularly the USA. Are they in a position to compete with the best universities in the world and provide a sustainable level of excellence? This question is particularly topical as enlargement draws nearer, considering the frequently difficult circumstances of universities in the accession countries as regards human and financial resources.

The European university landscape

European universities are characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity, which is reflected in organisation, governance and operating conditions, including the status and conditions of employment and recruitment of teaching staff and researchers.

There are some 3 300 higher education establishments in the European Union and approximately 4 000 in Europe as a whole, including the other countries of western Europe and the candidate countries. They take in an increasing number of students, over 12.5 million in 2000, compared with fewer than 9 million ten years previously. They employ 34 % of the total number of researchers in Europe, with significant variations from one Member State to another (26 % in Germany, 55 % in Spain and over 70 % in Greece).

The European Union produces slightly more science and technology graduates than the USA, while having fewer researchers than the other major technological powers. This apparent paradox is explained by the fact that fewer research posts are open to science graduates in Europe, particularly in the private sector: only 50 % of European researchers work in the business sector, compared with 83 % of American researchers and 66 % of Japanese researchers. Despite this, the universities are responsible for 80 % of the fundamental research carried out in Europe.

Universities and the European dimension

Universities are essentially organised at national and regional levels and seem to have difficulty in finding a truly European dimension. Student mobility, for instance, is still marginal in Europe. In 2000, a mere 2.3 % of European students were pursuing their studies in another European country. However, the EU funds a variety of initiatives to promote research, education and training at both European and international levels.

In the area of research, European universities receive around one third of the funding available under the fifth (1998-2002) and sixth (2002-2006) framework programmes for technological research and development, and particularly the support actions for research training and mobility (Marie Curie actions). As far as education and training are concerned, universities are very much involved in all the actions of the SOCRATES programme, particularly the ERASMUS action. The LEONARDO programme supports projects on mobility between universities and the business sector, involving 40 000 people between 1995 and 1999. Universities are also involved in the eEurope initiative and its eEurope 2005 Action Plan, which encourages all universities to develop online access (“virtual campus”) for students and researchers.

This cooperation also extends to other regions of the world. Most of the Community research Framework Programme is open to every country in the world and in particular provides support for cooperation with the countries in the Mediterranean region, Russia and the Newly Independent States, as well as developing countries. Through the TEMPUS programme the EU supports university cooperation with the countries of the former Soviet Union, south-east Europe and, since its extension in 2002, the Mediterranean region. There are also initiatives covering relations with other geographical areas, e.g. ALFA and Asia-Link.

Universities and new European challenges

Universities are facing an imperative need to adapt and adjust to a whole series of profound changes:

  • Increased demand for higher education. The low birth rate in Europe coincides with an increased demand for higher education, which is expected to continue in the years ahead, firstly because of the policy adopted by certain governments of increasing the number of students in higher education and also because new needs are emerging in relation to lifelong learning.
  • The internationalisation of education and research. European universities are attracting fewer students and in particular fewer researchers from other countries than their American counterparts. The former in 2000 attracted some 450 000 students from other countries, while the latter attracted over 540 000, mostly from Asia. However, the USA in proportion attracts many more students from other countries at advanced levels in engineering, mathematics and informatics, and are successful in keeping more people with doctorate qualifications: some 50 % of Europeans who obtained their qualifications in the USA stay there for several years, and many of them remain permanently. European universities in fact offer researchers and students a less attractive environment. This is partly due to the fact that they often do not have the necessary critical mass, which prompts them to opt for collaborative approaches, e.g. creation of networks, joint courses or diplomas. But other factors, outside the university, also play an important role, e.g. the rigidities of the labour market or a lower level of entrepreneurship entailing fewer employment opportunities in innovative sectors.
  • To develop effective and close cooperation between universities and industry. Cooperation between universities and industry needs to be intensified by gearing it more effectively towards innovation, new business start-ups and, more generally, the transfer and dissemination of knowledge.
  • The proliferation of places where knowledge is produced. The increasing tendency of the business sector to subcontract research activities to the best universities mean that universities have to operate in an increasingly competitive environment.
  • The reorganisation of knowledge. This is to be seen in the increasing diversification and specialisation of knowledge, and the emergence of research and teaching specialities which are increasingly specific and at the cutting edge. It is also seen in the fact that the academic world has an urgent need to adapt to the interdisciplinary character of the fields opened up by society’s major problems, such as sustainable development, the new medical scourges and risk management. Yet the activities of the universities, particularly when it comes to teaching, tend to remain organised within the traditional disciplinary framework.
  • The emergence of new expectations. Universities must cater for new needs in education and training which stem from the knowledge-based economy and society. These include an increasing need for scientific and technical education, horizontal skills, and opportunities for lifelong learning, which require greater permeability between the components and the levels of the education and training systems.

Universities and new European challenges

Excellence in human resources depends largely on available financial resources, but is also affected by working conditions and career prospects. Generally speaking, career prospects in European universities, characterised by the multiplicity of configurations, are limited and shrouded in uncertainty. However, while there are many challenges, there is also a great deal at stake. This Communication focuses on three factors:

  • Ensuring that European universities have sufficient and sustainable resources. Traditionally, public funding is the main source of funding for research and education in European universities. Possible alternative sources are:

    1. private donations, as in the case of the United States;
    2. the sale of services (including research services and flexible lifelong learning possibilities), particularly to the business sector;
    3. contributions from students, in the form of tuition and enrolment fees. In Europe, these contributions are generally limited or even prohibited, in order to allow democratic access to higher education;
    4. application of the results of research and the creation of spin-off companies. Since the mid-1990s, the number of young technological (“spin-off”) companies created by universities has been on the rise in Europe. Their average density nevertheless is far smaller than it is around the American campuses. A major obstacle to better application of university research results is the way intellectual property issues are handled in Europe. In addition, European universities do not have well-developed structures for managing research results. They are less well developed, for instance, than those of public research bodies. Another contributory factor is the lack of familiarity of many university staff with the economic realities of research, particularly the managerial aspects and issues regarding intellectual property.
  • Increasing universities’ excellence in research and teaching. This Communication calls on European universities to identify the areas in which different universities have attained, or can reasonably be expected to attain, the excellence judged to be essential at European or at international level, in order to concentrate funding on them to support academic research. The concentration of research funding on a smaller number of areas and institutions will lead to increased specialisation of the universities, which will make it possible to obtain appropriate quality at national level in certain areas, while ensuring excellence at European level.
    In addition, to counter the current trend among European universities of recruiting people from the country or region in which they are established, or even within the institution itself, the Communication proposes to strengthen not only intra-European academic mobility, but also mobility between universities and industry, thus opening up new career opportunities for young researchers.
  • Opening up universities to the outside world and increasing their international attractiveness. For European universities, a broader international perspective means greater competition with universities on the other continents, particularly American universities, when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent from all over the world. While European universities host almost as many foreign students as American universities, in proportion they attract fewer top-level students and a smaller proportion of researchers. All in all, the environment offered by the European universities is less attractive. Financial, material and working conditions are not as good, and arrangements with regard to visas and residence permits for students, teachers and researchers are inappropriate and poorly harmonised.
    The regions of the EU are therefore called upon to play an important part in strengthening European cohesion through the development of technology centres and science parks, the proliferation of regional cooperation structures between the business sector and the universities, the expansion of university regional development strategies and the regional networking of universities.

As the aim of this Communication is to start a debate on the role of universities, the Commission intends to review the contributions it has received by the end of May 2003.


In order for European universities to play a key role in achieving the strategic goal set at the Lisbon European Council, i.e. to make the European Union (EU) the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, this Communication is intended to start a debate on the role of European universities in the knowledge society and economy. While the birth and growth of the knowledge economy and society rely on the combination of four interdependent elements, i.e. the production of new knowledge, its transmission through education and training, its dissemination through the information and communication technologies and its use through new services or industrial processes, it is Europe’s universities which are the key players in this new process.

Related Acts

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 64 of 04.03.2006].

Communication from the Commission of 10 January 2003 – Investing efficiently in education and training : an imperative for Europe [COM(2002) 779 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 20 April 2005 – Mobilising the brainpower of Europe : enabling universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon Strategy [COM(2005) 152 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Recommendation (EC) No 561/98 of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 64 of 04.03.2006].

Action plan on language learning and linguistic diversity

Action plan on language learning and linguistic diversity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan on language learning and linguistic diversity


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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Action plan on language learning and linguistic diversity

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 July 2003 – Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: an action plan 2004-2006 [COM(2003) 449 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In the European Union (EU) more than 500 million Europeans come from diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and it is now more important than ever that citizens have the skills necessary to understand and communicate with their neighbours. All European citizens should be able to communicate in at least two languages other than their mother tongue.

Role of the European Union and the Member States

In accordance with the ‘principle of subsidiarity’ each EU Member State is fully responsible for organising its educational systems as well as the content of the programmes.

The Union’s role in this field is not to replace action by Member States, but to support and supplement it. However, the EU has put in place numerous actions designed to promote language education and learning under the framework of Community programmes, particularly in the areas of education, culture, the audiovisual sector, and the media.

Objectives and actions

The action plan identifies three broad areas for action and defines specific objectives for each of them.

The first area of action is life-long language learning. For this area the action plan identifies the following specific objectives:

  • learning a mother tongue plus two other languages from a very early age;
  • continuing language learning in secondary education and vocational training;
  • continuing language learning in higher education;
  • encouraging language learning among adults;
  • developing language learning for persons with special needs;
  • widening the range of languages offered in education.

The second area of action aims at improving language teaching, specifically through a more adaptable school structure. In this context, the action plan identifies the following specific objectives:

  • implementing global language learning policies in schools;
  • disseminating more widely the tools developed for teaching and learning languages;
  • improving the training for language teachers;
  • increasing the supply of language teachers;
  • training teachers so that they can teach their subjects in at least one other foreign language;
  • testing the language skills of citizens using a European Indicator of Language Competence and facilitating comparison between these skills.

The third area of action involves creating a language-friendly environment. To this end, the action plan identifies the following specific objectives:

  • promoting an inclusive approach to linguistic diversity;
  • creating language-friendly communities, through the use of sub-titles in cinemas, for example, or by capitalising on the skills of the many bilingual citizens;
  • improving the supply and take-up of language learning.

In order to achieve these objectives, the action plan proposes actions to be taken at European level for each of them, aimed at supplementing Member States’ initiatives. These actions will be carried out between 2004 and 2006.

The action plan also includes the creation of a framework for achieving these objectives through structures that enable better-informed decisions (a high-level group, undertaking studies, etc.), more effective sharing of information amongst practitioners, and clear procedures for the follow-up of the action plan.

Overall budget and monitoring of action plan

The overall budget for 2004-2006 is EUR 8 200 million to be shared between the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and MEDIA Plus programmes.

In 2007, Member States will present to the Commission a report on the implementation of the action plan.


The European Year of Languages organised in 2001 highlighted the many ways of promoting language learning and linguistic diversity. The action plan follows a request from the Council and is the result of in a wide public consultation involving the European institutions, relevant national ministries, a wide range of organisations representing civil society, and the general public.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 September 2008 – Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment [COM(2008) 566 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission report of 25 September 2007 on the implementation of the Action Plan ‘Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity’ [COM(2007) 554 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission and the Member States have made substantial progress in implementing this Action Plan. Of the 47 actions, 41 will be completed by the end of 2007. On the basis of the national reports on the monitoring of the Action Plan, the Commission considers that it has influenced the national language policy reforms and made it possible to attach more political importance to promoting language learning, linguistic diversity and multilingualism in general. Seventeen actions aimed at improving the promotion of language learning have been implemented under several European programmes, mainly Socrates and Leonardo. This support will have a lasting effect, as the new generation of programmes for 2007-2013 puts the emphasis on promoting language learning and linguistic diversity. However, the report refers to the additional efforts that need to be made to implement the national reforms from the point of view of the quality of language teaching and teacher training in this field. Emphasis should also be placed on widening the range of languages taught.

European Quality Charter for Mobility

European Quality Charter for Mobility

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Quality Charter for Mobility


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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

European Quality Charter for Mobility

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation (EC) No 2006/961 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on transnational mobility within the Community for education and training purposes: European Quality Charter for Mobility [Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006].


The European Quality Charter for Mobility constitutes the quality reference document for education and training stays abroad. It complements, from the quality point of view, the 2001 Recommendation on mobility for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers and has the same scope.

The Charter is addressed to the Member States, particularly their organisations responsible for stays abroad, and provides guidance on mobility arrangements for learning or other purposes, such as professional betterment, to both young and adult participants. This is in order to enhance personal and professional development. By involving the stakeholders more, it also aims to improve the quality and efficiency of education and training systems.

It should help to ensure that mobility participants always have a positive experience both in the host country and in their country of origin on their return, and that the number and depth of education and training exchanges are stepped up. It offers guidance designed to respond to:

  • participants’ expectations as regards pre-departure information, suitable infrastructure in the host country and the exploitation of acquired knowledge following their return to their country of origin;
  • the legitimate requirements of education bodies and institutions, mainly in the host country, which expect that mobility participants will not arrive without being properly prepared and that their mobility period will be positive both for themselves and for the host body, institution or company.

This guidance consists of ten principles implemented on a voluntary and flexible basis, being adaptable to the nature and peculiarities of each stay. These principles are:

  • information and guidance: every candidate should have access to clear and reliable sources of information and guidance on mobility and the conditions in which it can be taken up, including details of the Charter itself and the roles of sending and hosting organisations;
  • learning plan: a plan is drawn up and signed by the sending and hosting organisations and participants before every stay for education or training purposes. It must describe the objectives and expected outcomes, the means of achieving them, and evaluation, and must also take account of reintegration issues;
  • personalisation: mobility must fit in with personal learning pathways, skills and motivation of participants, and should develop or supplement them;
  • general preparation: before departure, participants should receive general preparation tailored to their specific needs and covering linguistic, pedagogical, legal, cultural or financial aspects;
  • linguistic aspects: language skills make for more effective learning, intercultural communication and a better understanding of the host country’s culture. Arrangements should therefore include a pre-departure assessment of language skills, the possibility of attending courses in the language of the host country and/or language learning and linguistic support and advice in the host country;
  • logistical support: this could include providing participants with information and assistance concerning travel arrangements, insurance, the portability of government grants and loans, residence or work permits, social security and any other practical aspects;
  • mentoring: the hosting organisation should provide mentoring to advise and help participants throughout their stay, also to ensure their integration;
  • recognition: if periods of study or training abroad are an integral part of a formal study or training programme, the learning plan must mention this, and participants should be provided with assistance regarding recognition and certification. For other types of mobility, and particularly those in the context of non-formal education and training, certification by an appropriate document, such as the Europass, is necessary;
  • reintegration and evaluation: on returning to their country of origin, participants should receive guidance on how to make use of the competences acquired during their stay and, following a long stay, any necessary help with reintegration. Evaluation of the experience acquired should make it possible to assess whether the aims of the learning plan have been achieved;
  • commitments and responsibilities: the responsibilities arising from these quality criteria must be agreed and, in particular, confirmed in writing by all sides (sending and hosting organisations and participants).

Implementation of the Charter includes the elimination by the Member States of mobility obstacles and the provision of support and infrastructures to help raise education and training levels in the European Union (EU). It also includes measures to promote mobility by providing easily accessible information.

The Commission is called upon to encourage application of the Charter in the Member States, to continue to cooperate with the Member States and social partners, particularly with regard to the exchange of information and experience relating to the implementation of measures, and to develop statistical data on mobility.

Implementation of the Charter and its evaluation are part of the Education and Training 2010 work programme.


Mobility has an important impact in that, as part of the freedom of movement of persons, it is a means of promoting employment, reducing poverty, and promoting active European citizenship by improving mutual and intercultural understanding in the EU and boosting economic, social and regional cohesion.

As an objective of the Education and Training 2010 work programme, mobility contributes to the creation of the European Area of Education and Training and plays an essential part in achieving the Lisbon strategic objectives. Mobility and an increase in exchanges are promoted through measures such as the 2000 action plan for mobility and the above-mentioned 2001 Recommendation on mobility for students, persons undergoing vocational training, volunteers and teachers, as well as events such as the 2006 European Year of Worker’s Mobility. The Charter consolidates and complements these measures and the Erasmus Student Charterfrom the quality point of view.

Related Acts

Council Resolution of 3 June 2002 on skills and mobility[Official Journal C 162 of 6.07.2002].

Communication from the Commission of 13 February 2002 to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Commission’s Action Plan for skills and mobility[COM(2002) 72 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers[Official Journal L 215 of 09.08.2001].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 14 December 2000 concerning an action plan for mobility [Official Journal C 371 of 23.12.2000].

Recognition of non-formal and informal learning

Recognition of non-formal and informal learning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Recognition of non-formal and informal learning


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Recognition of non-formal and informal learning (in the field of youth)

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the recognition of the value of non-formal and informal learning within the European youth field [Official Journal C 168, 20.7.2006].


The value and visibility of non-formal and informal learning for young people should be enhanced by recognising the work and achievements of young people and those active in youth work and youth organisations. They should therefore be given due consideration by employers, formal education and civil society in general.

These kinds of learning are important because they:

  • are complementary to the formal education and training system;
  • have a participative and learner-centred approach;
  • are carried out on a voluntary basis and are therefore closely linked to young people’s needs, aspirations and interests. By providing an additional source of learning and a possible route into formal education and training, such activities are particularly relevant to young people with fewer opportunities;
  • take place in a wide and varied range of settings.

The field of youth is important because of the economic and social impact of public and private investment in this field at local, regional, national and European levels. Non-formal and informal learning activities can therefore provide significant added value for society, the economy and young people themselves.

Non-formal and informal learning are important elements in the learning process and are effective instruments for making learning attractive, developing lifelong learning and promoting the social integration of young people. They encourage the participation, active citizenship and social inclusion of young people, and are of practical relevance to the labour market by helping to acquire knowledge, qualifications and other key skills.

The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007-2013 and its predecessor, the Youth Programme make an important contribution to their European dimension.

The Council therefore calls on the Member States and the Commission to:

  • ensure the comparability and transparency of the skills and competences acquired by young people through non-formal and informal learning, which involves developing a youth-specific element within Europass for identifying and recognising these skills and qualifications in the EU, especially in the labour market. To this end, the voluntary use by young people of Europass and similar national and European instruments should be encouraged;
  • encourage public bodies and NGOs to use comparable and transparent instruments for recognising the competences of those active in youth work and youth organisations, in accordance with the European Portfolio for Youth Leaders and Youth Workers currently being developed within the Council of Europe;
  • recognise and support the contribution made by youth organisations and other NGOs to non-formal and informal learning;
  • promote application of the common European principles for the identification and validation of non-formal learning to the specific needs of the youth field;
  • encourage research into the socio-economic impact of non-formal and informal learning, including the contribution of youth organisations and other NGOs;
  • encourage social partners to acknowledge the quality and diversity of non-formal and informal learning and to recognise its social and economic added value;
  • encourage innovative partnerships between formal and non-formal learning providers, in order to develop educational approaches that could be attractive for different groups of learners.


Recognising the value of non-formal and informal learning in the field of youth helps to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and the European area of lifelong learning. As such, this follows on from the 2002 work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe, which aimed to make education and training systems a point of reference of a world-class standard.

This is one of the concerns about cooperation and the validation of learning outcomes, following the example of the 2002 Resolution on lifelong learning, the 2005 European Youth Pact or the 2006 report entitled ” Modernising education and training “. It will complement the work of the Council of Europe in this field by means of the European Portfolio for Youth Leaders and Youth Workers.

On the whole, we need to create reference frameworks in order to assess the skills acquired and promote mobility by building bridges between formal, non-formal and informal learning, as highlighted by the 2001 White Paper entitled ” A new impetus for European youth “.

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom


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

Energy > Nuclear energy

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom


Council Decision 2006/970/Euratom of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006]; and

Council Decision 2006/977/Euratom of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].


The nuclear sector single-handedly produces one third of the electricity currently generated in the European Union (EU). This places nuclear power in a special position. As a clean provider, it plays a key role in environmental protection (by reducing greenhouse gases) and at the same time improves the Union’s independence, security and diversity of energy supply.

In the longer term, nuclear fusion * offers the prospect of an almost unlimited supply of clean energy. The ITER* project represents a clear added value in achieving that end. Its implementation and exploitation therefore lie at the heart of present EU strategy. Such an ambition must, however, be supported by a strong and focussed European R&D programme.

Nevertheless, nuclear fission * remains a viable option. In this context, research and training should focus on nuclear safety (radiation protection *), sustainable waste management, and improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the sector as a whole.

Achieving a healthy energy situation in Europe will require not only safeguarding existing sources, infrastructures, competences and know-how but also exploring new scientific and technological opportunities. With this in mind, the Specific Programme should help maintain the right level of investment in research while also optimising cooperation between the EU and its Member States.


The Euratom programme, which runs until 2011, is subdivided into two specific programmes. The first covers research into nuclear fusion, nuclear fission energy and radiation protection. The second concerns activities by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in the nuclear energy sphere.

The overall maximum amount for implementing the Seventh Framework Programme during the period 2007 to 2011 is EUR 2 751 million. A significant part of that budget will serve to finance the ITER international nuclear fusion project.

Euratom Specific Programme

The Specific Programme concerns the following areas:

  • nuclear fusion energy;
  • nuclear fission energy;
  • radiation protection.

In these areas, it seeks primarily to:

  • enhance excellence and innovation;
  • ensure a high level of cooperation and effectiveness through support for research and training.

The main benefit of the Specific Programme will be to strengthen nuclear research in the above areas at Community level. Synergies and complementarity with other Community policies and programmes will also be sought.

In the area of fusion energy, research will focus on:

  • developing a knowledge-base for the ITER project;
  • completing the construction phase of ITER, which should lead to the creation of prototype reactors, prior to the launch of the operation phase.

In terms of nuclear fission and radiation protection, the Programme seeks to establish a sound scientific and technical basis for better management (safer and more resource-efficient, competitive and environment-friendly) of energy and waste and the impact thereof.

In addition, performance indicators will be developed at three levels:

  • quantitative and qualitative indicators to show the path or direction of scientific and technical progress (new standards and tools, scientific techniques, patent applications and licence agreements for new products, processes and services, etc.);
  • management indicators (to monitor performance internally and support decision making, including budget execution, time to contract and time to payment, etc.);
  • outcome or impact indicators (to assess the overall effectiveness of the research against high-level objectives, e.g. impact of the Framework Programme on the Lisbon, Göteborg and Barcelona objectives in particular, and assessment at the Specific Programme level).

The budget amount deemed necessary for the execution of the Specific Programme will be EUR 2 234 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2011. Distribution of resources between the areas of activity will be as follows:

  • EUR 1 947 million will go towards fusion energy research;
  • EUR 287 million will be allocated to nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Activities of the JRC

The JRC’s activities in the nuclear sphere will help to support all the research activities undertaken through transnational cooperation in the following subject areas:

  • nuclear waste management, environmental impact;
  • nuclear security;
  • nuclear safety.

The objectives and main points of these activities are set out in the Annex to Decision 2006/977/Euratom.

The estimated amount needed to carry out this Specific Programme is EUR 517 million.

NB: During the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme, including the different Specific Programmes and all research activities arising from it, fundamental ethical principles as well as social, legal, socio-economic, cultural considerations and gender equality are to be respected.


For each of the thematic areas (fusion energy, nuclear fission and radiation protection) an overall objective and a series of activities are defined. Specific objectives have also been defined for nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Fusion energy

Here the overall objective will be to enlist all the key players (researchers, industry, business, political decision-makers, etc.) and knowledge from the scientific community in the European fusion research programme. In more practical terms, efforts will be focused on constructing and operating ITER and its successor, DEMO *, in addition to wider-ranging projects to develop fusion energy.

The proposed activities will affect the following seven areas:

  • the realisation of ITER;
  • R&D in preparation of ITER operation;
  • technology activities in preparation of DEMO;
  • R&D activities for the longer term;
  • human resources, education and training;
  • infrastructures;
  • responding to emerging and unforeseen policy needs.

EU participation in the ITER project will specifically involve:

  • site preparation;
  • establishing the ITER organisation;
  • management and staffing;
  • general technical and administrative support;
  • construction of equipment and installations needed to operate the site;
  • a focused physics and technology programme including assessment of specific key technologies for ITER operation and exploration of ITER operating scenarios by means of targeted experiments and other modelling activities.

For the DEMO project, a technological experiment which should serve as a model for future industrial fusion reactors, the testing and validation of materials and technologies will continue and the reactor design phase will advance.

Building on the activities aimed specifically at ITER and DEMO, focus will also be placed on developing competences and enlarging the knowledge base in fields strategically relevant to future fusion power stations. The aim is twofold: this research should, in the longer term, lead to enhanced technical feasibility and economic viability of fusion power. The planned research will mainly concern:

  • magnetic confinement systems *;
  • fusion plasmas *;
  • sociological aspects and economics of fusion power generation;
  • fusion by inertial confinement *.

In order to ensure the human resources, education and training needed for the purposes of ITER, and of fusion research in general, the programme makes provision for:

  • support for the mobility of researchers between organisations participating in the programme, in order to promote enhanced collaboration and integration of the programme and to foster international cooperation;
  • high-level training for engineers and researchers at post-graduate and post-doctoral level, including the use of facilities in the programme as training platforms and dedicated seminars and workshops;
  • promotion of innovation and exchange of know-how with related universities, research institutes and industry.

In terms of infrastructure, the realisation of ITER in Europe will be the main component of the new European Research Programme.

In order, lastly, to respond to possible emerging needs or unforeseen political necessities affecting energy supply, climate change and sustainable development, a “fast-track” fusion development programme could be set up, which would bring fusion energy to the market earlier. The primary objective, and a major milestone, of the fast-track programme would be to complete DEMO ahead of schedule.

Nuclear fission

In this area, the overall objective to be attained appears multi-layered:

  • meeting training needs;
  • increasing support for infrastructures;
  • strengthening the European Research Area;
  • developing a common European view on key problems and approaches;
  • forging links between national programmes;
  • promoting networking with international organisations and third countries (USA, NIS, Canada, Japan, etc.);
  • strengthening Euratom’s role in coordinating research and technological development internationally;
  • ensuring coordination with the Joint Research Centre (JRC);
  • establishing links with research under the Seventh Framework Programme;
  • promoting international collaboration.

More specifically, nuclear fission raises a number of issues related to the management of radioactive waste. In this respect, research and technological development will focus on:

  • management and safety of the geological disposal of high-level and/or long-lived (HLLL) waste;
  • the European dimension of the management and disposal of such waste;
  • development of procedures to reduce the quantity and volume of HLLL waste (e.g. partitioning and transmutation * (P&T), etc.).

Action will also be taken on nuclear installations under the present Programme in order to make them even safer, more resource-efficient, more environmentally friendly and more competitive.

This Programme also provides for support for the design, refurbishment, construction and/or operation of nuclear fission research infrastructures. Facilitating transnational access by research workers to infrastructure is one of the priorities.

In order to promote the spreading of scientific competence and know-how throughout the sector, a variety of measures will address human resources and training in Europe and beyond. These measures principally aim to guarantee the availability of suitably qualified researchers and technicians, in particular by:

  • improving coordination between educational establishments in the EU (ensuring qualifications are equivalent across all Member States);
  • supporting traineeships and training networks as well as student and scientist mobility by means of grants and fellowships.

Radiation protection

Focusing on the question of risks linked to exposure to radiation at low and protracted doses, research into radiation protection will consist of:

  • quantifying such risks (epidemiological studies, cellular and molecular biology research, etc.);
  • enhancing the safety and efficacy of medical uses of radiation;
  • improving the coherence and integration of emergency management, including the rehabilitation of affected areas;
  • developing robust and practicable measures to manage the impact of malevolent uses of radiation or radioactive materials (including effects on human health and on the environment);
  • integrating national research activities more effectively in other areas (radioecology *, dosimetry *, etc.).


The European Union has been implementing research and technological development policy on the basis of multi-annual framework programmes since 1984. The Seventh Framework Programme is the second of these since the launch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and it should play a vital role in boosting growth and employment in Europe in the coming years. The Commission wishes to develop a “knowledge triangle” created by policies on research, education and innovation designed to deploy knowledge in the interests of economic dynamism and social and environmental progress.

Key terms used in the act
  • Inertial confinement: inertial confinement fusion is achieved by focusing very powerful laser beams (or beams of accelerated particles) on a tiny glass pellet containing a mixture of deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes).
  • Magnetic confinement: magnetic confinement fusion involves heating the fuel in a vacuum chamber and preventing it from expanding by means of strong electromagnetic fields. The fusion fuel should first have been converted into plasma, enabling magnetic fields to act upon it.
  • DEMO: demonstration reactor (prototype industrial generator).
  • Dosimetry: the measurement of radiation exposure doses.
  • Nuclear fission: nuclear fission, or fission, is the phenomenon whereby a heavy atom nucleus (such as a uranium or plutonium nucleus) is split into two (or more) lighter nuclei, releasing a considerable amount of energy.
  • Nuclear fusion: this is one of the two types of thermonuclear reaction. It occurs when two atomic nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus. The fusion of light nuclei releases an enormous quantity of energy stemming from the lack of mass (nuclear binding energy). This reaction is at work in the sun and all the stars in the universe.
  • ITER: international experimental thermonuclear reactor, a research tool designed to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of thermonuclear fusion.
  • Fusion plasma: material state in which fusion may occur. This is a very specific material state in which atoms or molecules, after losing one or more electrons, form an ionised gas.
  • Radioecology (or radiation ecology): branch of ecology which studies relationships between living species and the radioactivity of their environment.
  • Radiation protection: all measures to protect people and the environment against the harmful effects of ionising radiation (the effects of radioactivity) while allowing the radiation to be utilised.
  • Transmutation: in physics, this refers to the ability of certain radioactive atoms to decay and transform into other atoms. In nuclear physics, transmutation is what allows long-lived radioactive isotopes to be transformed into short-lived isotopes or stable isotopes.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/970/EC 1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013 OJ L 400 of 30.12.2006

Decision 2006/977/Euratom

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2011 OJ L 400 of 30.12.2006

Related Acts

Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1908/2006 of 19 December 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community and for the dissemination of research results (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].

This Regulation looks at the arrangements for undertakings, research centres and universities to participate in the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) (2007-2011). The document is divided into four chapters: introductory provisions, (subject matter, definitions and confidentiality), participation (minimum conditions to participate, procedural aspects, etc.), rules for dissemination and use (ownership, protection, publication, dissemination and use of new and existing knowledge, and access rights to this) and the specific rules for participation in activities under the thematic area “fusion energy research”.

Specific programme People

Specific programme People

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Specific programme People


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

Research and innovation > General framework

Specific programme “People”

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/973/EC of 19 December 2006 concerning the specific programme People implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 400 of 30.12.06].


“People” is a specific programme within the 7th Framework Programme and its basic objectives are to improve, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the professional opportunities available to researchers in Europe. To put it another way, the “People” programme aims to adapt the European employment market so that it is more able to meet the training, mobility and career development needs of researchers. This will give researchers incentives to build their futures in Europe.

This programme mobilises extensive financial resources and draws on experience gained through the Marie Curie actions.

More specifically, the focus will be on the following three areas:

  • generating benefits and structuring effects, for example by introducing co-funding for regional, national and international programmes;
  • improving conditions for training and career development in the private sector;
  • strengthening the international dimension.

The budget required for executing this specific programme is estimated at EUR 4 750 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.


The overall objective of this specific programme is to improve, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the human research and technological development potential in Europe. In order to achieve this, various initiatives need to be taken to:

  • encourage people to embark on a career in research;
  • encourage European researchers to stay in Europe;
  • attract researchers to Europe from throughout the world;
  • do more to share knowledge between countries, sectors, organisations and disciplines;
  • foster the participation of women in research and technological development.

This specific programme provides added value in a number of respects. First of all, it will undoubtedly improve the mobility of researchers at both the intersectoral and transnational levels. It will also have structuring effects on:

  • the organisation, performance and quality of training given to researchers;
  • their career development;
  • the sharing of knowledge between research sectors and organizations; and
  • the participation of women.

TheFramework Programme including the various specific programmes and the research activities they give rise to, should respect fundamental ethical principles and give consideration to social, legal, socio-economic, cultural and gender mainstreaming aspects.


The various objectives of this specific programme will be achieved by implementing a series of “Marie Curie” actions focusing on skills and competence development at all stages of a researcher’s career. Mobility (both transnational and intersectoral), the recognition of experience acquired in different sectors and countries, and optimum working conditions are all key elements of these actions, which will address:

  • initial training for researchers;
  • life-long training and career development;
  • industry-academia partnerships and pathways;
  • the international dimension.

The programme also provides for more specialised accompanying actions, promotion actions (Marie Curie Awards, for example) and support actions.

Initial training of researchers

Initial research training will normally take place during the first four years of a researcher’s career; an additional year can be added if necessary.

This type of training should open up new career opportunities for researchers and make scientific careers more attractive by optimising the way in which training is structured in Member States and associated countries, in both the public and private sectors.

This action encourages the networking of organisations from different sectors engaged in the training of researchers. These networks will be built around joint multi-disciplinary training programmes covering not only scientific and technological knowledge but also skills in diverse disciplines such as management, finance, law, entrepreneurship, ethics, communication and societal outreach. In more concrete terms, Community support should be directed at:

  • recruiting and training researchers at the start of their careers;
  • setting up academic chairs or equivalent teaching positions for experienced researchers;
  • organising short training events (conferences, summer schools, specialised training courses, etc.) open both to trainees of the network and to researchers from outside the network.

Life-long training and career development

This action is directed at experienced researchers who have at least four years’ experience in full-time research or a doctorate. Essentially, it will help them to diversify their skills portfolio by acquiring multi- or interdisciplinary qualifications and intersectoral experience. The aim here is twofold:

  • to give researchers support in attaining the independent positions of responsibility they desire and/or strengthening their standing in such positions;
  • to help researchers who are resuming their career after a break by enabling them to (re)integrate quickly into a scientific career in a Member State or associated country, including in their own country of origin, after a mobility experience.

This action will be implemented through:

  • support for individual transnational, intra-European fellowships;
  • co-funding of regional, national or international programmes – applicants for co-funding may come from either the public or private sector, but they must play a key part in building up human resource capacity for research in their respective fields.

Industry-academia partnerships and pathways

This action seeks to establish links between public research organisations and private commercial enterprises (and in particular SMEs). It will involve long-term (intersectoral and transnational) cooperation programmes which will not only increase knowledge-sharing but also improve mutual understanding of the different cultural settings and skills requirements of both sectors.

Community support will focus on human resources, and take one or more of the following forms:

  • staff secondments between both sectors in the partnership;
  • temporary hosting of researchers recruited from outside the partnership;
  • the organisation of workshops and conferences;
  • a contribution to equipment for participating in the cooperation initiative (for SMEs only).

The international dimension

The international dimension of human resources in European research and development can be divided into two separate areas:

  • career development for researchers from EU Member States and associated countries;
  • international cooperation through researchers.

Actions in both these areas will be supported by international fellowships (“incoming” and “outgoing” fellowships), grants, partnerships, exchanges, organised events (conferences, etc.) and a systematic sharing of good practices.


Since 1984, the research and technological development policy of the European Union has been founded on multiannual framework programmes. The 7th Framework Programme is the second to be adopted since the Lisbon strategy was launched in 2000 and will play a crucial role in stimulating growth and jobs in Europe in the coming years. The Commission wishes to advance the “knowledge triangle” of research, education and innovation so that knowledge is used to promote economic dynamism as well as social and environmental progress.


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

Decision 2006/973/EC

1.1.7 – 31.12.13

OJ L 400 of 30.12.06

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 29 April 2009 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the progress made under the Seventh European Framework Programme for Research [COM(2009) 209 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The “Marie Curie” grants proposed by the “People” programme remain a great success. They contribute towards a balanced “brain circulation” both at European and global levels and to the creation of a high-quality and mobile European R&D workforce. The use of industry-academia fellowships could be improved by better communicating opportunities to industries and SMEs.